The article has been medically reviewed by Doctor Ramlah Tariq FCPS on/gyn, RMP, MBBS, BSc.
You’ve had a busy day, rushing around, without a moment to yourself. As soon as your head hits the pillow, at a time when you finally have that quiet moment, your mind starts racing.
We’ve all been there. Anxiety before bed time is extremely common, for the very reason that we’ve not taken time out in the day to be still.
When we finally are still, our minds can’t take it and we want to think back over the day, and plan out what’s on the to do list for tomorrow.
We’re in our beds physically, but mentally our minds are either in the past or the future.
So how do you get around this? What can we do to ease tension before bed time?
Yoga asana (postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises) are a great way to calm your mind before sleep. Here are my top three yoga for anxiety poses for a peaceful night ahead:
1. Deep Belly Breathing
You may be thinking, why do we need to focus on breathing when we breathe without having to think about it? Studies have shown that consciously breathing has a different effect on our brain than unconsciously breathing. Similarly, when stressed we hold our breath without realising, and tend to have a shallow breath.
Deep belly breathing is all about focusing the breath into our belly, allowing for a greater level of oxygen into the blood.
This means you’re putting less stress on your cardiovascular system, which doesn’t have to work as hard for the same amount of oxygen.
Here’s how to achieve a deep belly breath:
- Sit or lie in a comfortable position
- Relax any tightness you feel across your forehead, jaw, and shoulders
- Place both hands on your lower belly
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose
- Feel your belly rising up
- Open your mouth and sigh out the exhale
- Repeat a few more times and see if you notice a difference in your mind
2. Balasana (child’s pose)
Child’s pose creates an instantly relaxing effect on our body. Here’s how to get into this pose:
- Bring your knees about hip distance apart, with the feet to touch behind you
- Start to draw your glutes towards your heels, and your forehead down to the earth
- Rest your arms in front of your body with your palms pressing down on the earth
- If you can get your forehead to the earth, work on placing the point between your two eyebrows down (your third eye chakra) for a super calming effect
- Rest here and focus on long, slow, deep breaths
In this pose you should be able to feel your belly pressing into your thighs on the inhale, and soften away on the exhale.
This is giving your internal organs a lovely massage so is perfect for anyone with digestive issues. When you’re ready to come out of the pose, do so slowly and gently.
3. Parsva Balasana (thread the needle pose)
- Start in childs pose
- Lift one arm up and sweep it under the other so you are lying on one side of the body
- Rest here and focus on long, slow, deep breaths This will allow your body to ease tension through the back, neck, chest, and shoulders.
It can be practised by both beginners and those at a more advanced level. It’s really soothing and you can stay in the pose for as long as you like. When you’re ready to come out of the pose, do so slowly and gently. Make sure you switch over to do the other side so you’re all balanced out!
Guest post written by Angie, Tiwari Yoga
Our thoughts on Yoga for Anxiey
Yoga for anxiety is a way I find really helps to quieten my mind. Just taking 10 minutes to wind down, step away from screens and focus on the breath is powerful.
I myself fall asleep easy, however, I wake in the night (or very early, so early it is basically still night) and my brain is up and ready to go.
To help me find a sleepy state again I quieten my mind with some belly breathing as Angie has mentioned in her post and take a dose of Pretty Peaceful. This really helps me find calm and drift off back to sleep.