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''Multi-tasking is a disease and sleep deprivation is the root cause of all bad decisions,'' says Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, as she explains why “four hours are just not enough”. With a philosophy that suggests leadership begins in the bedroom, Arianna believes it (bedroom) should be kept device free. We live in an era of dramatic distraction with email notifications, What’s App messages and social media newsfeeds all within easy access. And then there are those who work long hours, travel extensively, and work shifts (sometimes all at the same time). Doing so we deprive ourselves of our ‘beauty’ sleep (called so for a good reason). Researchers have identified a variety of practices, called “sleep hygiene"—that can help anyone maximise the hours they spend sleeping. Sleep hygiene may sound unimaginative, but it just may be the best way to get the sleep you need in this 24/7 world.
Good sleep makes you more creative, more productive, less reactive; it is the key to being more energetic and vibrant. Here are some simple yoga asanas that can make your dream sleep a nightly reality. These poses will relax your body and mind, and the best part is that you can do them all in bed!
Lie down with your legs up against a wall. Allow the front portion of your torso to round up gently as you tilt yourself backwards and lie down. A blanket or pillow could support your waist. Keep your legs straight up. Open your shoulder blades and allow your arms to freely rest on the sides, with both palms facing upwards. Hold for at least 5 minutes.
(Yogis from ancient times have claimed that after six months of Viparita Karani, “grey hair and wrinkles become inconspicuous'', and that it “destroys” old age. So you should definitely not skip this one!)
Move away from the wall but continue to lie down, legs extended, feet flexed. Draw the right knee into your chest, and then extend that right leg up to the ceiling. Keep the left leg pressed into the ground and extend the right heel creating a comfortable stretch in the back of the leg. Hold the right toe with your right hand, keeping your shoulders firm on the ground. Then if you can, keeping the same pose bring your right leg down to the right side, forming a 90 degrees angle with your left and right legs. Left hip is grounded. Come back to centre and repeat on the other side.
Sit up comfortably on your heels. Roll your torso forward, bringing your forehead to rest on the bed in front of you. Lower your chest as close to your knees as you comfortably can, extending your arms in front of you.
Hold the pose and breathe.
Lie on your back with knees bent. Place the soles of your feet together, then let your knees fall open, forming a diamond shape with your legs. Rest your arms on the bed. If you feel any strain, elevate your legs by placing a pillow underneath each knee.
Hug your knees close to your chest for a few breaths, and release. Lie down comfortably with your arms by your side and feet relaxed. Be mindful of your breath, as you gently inhale cool air and exhale warm air. Let each breath relax your body entirely, as you breath away all emotions that don’t serve you.
Well-being and good sleep are interlinked, and essential to being effective in your daily life. So try these asanas and ‘rediscover’ sleep.
Delna Anand is a wellness writer and certified yoga instructor.
Image Credits : Majida Talayeh, www.facebook.com/YogaMaj