Yoga has been proven to be beneficial for a wide variety of health concerns, explains Dr. Marilynn Wei of Harvard Health Publishing. One important benefit of yoga is that it is one of the gentlest and most restorative activities to end your day and prepare you for sleep. Certain types of breathing, such as the Ujjayi or Ocean Breath, as well as some poses make yoga extremely beneficial for good sleep. However, an interesting thing to note is that the same can be said the other way around.
We’ve laid down seven tips for yoga success in a previous blog post here on Yoga India Foundation, but it seems like we need to add an eighth – get enough sleep. Whether you’re a beginner just learning the basics, or a trained yogi looking to further expand your knowledge, here are some reasons why your bedtime is crucial towards having better yoga sessions.200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training India
Sleep keeps your mind in shape.
Not getting enough sleep deprives your brain of the opportunity to rest and recharge itself, leading to a myriad of mental and psychological problems associated with a regular lack of sleep. For instance, PsyBlog explains that sleep-deprived brains tend to work harder in order to overcompensate for their lack of rest, resulting in less efficiency and difficulty in accomplishing even simple mental tasks.
The cumulative effect is that those who have less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per evening have difficulties in concentration, mindfulness, judgment, and decision-making. Even neurological functions like physical movement, eye muscle control, and focus are compromised, making it difficult for sleep-deprived people to function well – much less complete a yoga session successfully.
Sleep helps you perform better physically.
Because yoga is an activity that unifies and engages mind, body, and spirit, the quality of yoga sessions declines when your body is compromised. On top of letting your brain recharge, sleep also plays a role in muscle repair, as discussed by the National Sleep Foundation.
This research study published in Current Biology elaborates on how the physical and mental performances of athletes significantly improved once their sleep cycles and circadian rhythms were optimized. It is for this reason that White goes on to discuss that those serious about fitness and exercise – yoga included – cannot hope to be successful without enough sleep.
Last but not least, sleep keeps you happy and motivated
If you lack sleep, you might find it harder to get on your yoga mat or attend yoga classes with other people. One study conducted by the Hult International Business School found that people who experience chronic tiredness and lack of sleep suffer from irritability and frayed nerves, along with high levels of stress, anxiety, and frustration.
Conversely, regularly getting a full night’s rest has been linked to optimism about the future and more motivation to learn new things and accomplish tasks.
With all these reasons to prioritize sleep to improve our yoga sessions, don’t be surprised to find us spending more time on our beds and on our yoga mats!