Yoga for Better Sleep Book Summary - Yoga for Better Sleep Book explained in key points
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Yoga for Better Sleep summary

Mark Stephens

Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Science

15 mins
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    Yoga for Better Sleep
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    The basic yoga sequence for sleep

    Poor sleep – even when specific sleep disorders are involved – is usually precipitated by a key set of disruptive factors: general tension, arousal, and rumination. This basic yoga sequence synthesizes both sleep science and yoga science to address these factors.

    In particular, this sequence activates the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the body's rest and digestion response when the body is relaxed, resting, or feeding. It offsets the body's sympathetic "fight or flight" response by slowing heart rate, increasing intestinal activity, and relaxing the bladder among other functions. The parasympathetic nervous system uses interoception or internal sensation to help us let go of external stimuli and reach samtosha, which means  internal contentment. This relaxed state can be stimulated through calming breathing techniques, meditation, and gentle asanas.

    This sequence includes postures, breathing, and meditation. It takes thirty minutes but can be stretched out to an hour or longer to achieve a deeper effect. Practice this sequence sitting or lying on the floor within two hours of your intended bedtime. Gather two or three blankets, a bolster or pillows, two yoga blocks or thick books, and a yoga mat.

    Begin in a comfortable seated cross-legged position. If your knees are higher than your hips, elevate your hips with blankets, bolster or blocks. Let your eyes gently close or soften your gaze on a spot in front of you. Bring awareness to your breathing, observing the inhalations and exhalations. Keeping your mouth open, exhale as if trying to fog up a window while making a gentle "haaa" sound over your vocal cords. Repeat this whispering breath for three cycles, then transition to ujjayi breath. For ujjayi breathing, gently constrict the back of your throat as you inhale and exhale, creating a soft snoring sound. Focus on making your inhales and exhales equal in pace and duration.

    Breathe this way for 3 to 5 minutes.

    Shake out any tension from your hands and feet, then return to a seated position placing a bolster in front of you. Root down through your sitting bones while lengthening your spine on your inhalations. Keeping your lower back long, hinge at your hips to walk your torso forward over the bolster, allowing your head and arms to release onto the floor. Breathe here for three to five minutes.

    For a reclining twist, place your bolster parallel to the right side of your mat. Sit alongside it with both legs extended in front of you. Bend your knees and open them wide, feet coming halfway back toward your hips. Keeping knees together, gently twist your upper body to the right and release your torso and head onto the bolster, using props under your knees/head as needed. Hold for 3 to 5 minutes with ujjayi breath before repeating on the left side.

    Move into a child's pose by bringing your big toes to touch and taking your knees wide. Walk your hands forward and release your torso down between or over your thighs. Let your forehead rest on the mat or a block. Breathe deeply here for one to three minutes.

    From child's pose, pivot your torso upright and swing your legs around in front of you, extending them straight forward in a seated forward fold. Shift your weight onto one hip and stack your knees on that side. Then pivot your torso to face the opposite direction as you extend your other leg straight back in a twist. Support yourself on your hands or forearms and breathe into your open hip for three minutes per side in this revolved seated twist or "sunset pose."

    Lie down on your mat and scoot your sitting bones against a wall, then extend your legs up the wall with the backs of your thighs supported. Option to place a bolster or blanket under your low back for more support. Let your arms release out to the sides, palms facing up. Breathe slowly and deeply here for five to ten minutes.

    Finish by returning to a comfortable seated position for meditation. Sit upright yet relaxed, softening your gaze or closing your eyes. Bring your awareness inward by noticing the subtle movements of your breath. When your mind wanders, gently guide it back to the sensation of breathing. Continue observing each inflow and outflow of breath for five to ten minutes.

    Allow yourself to transition into a restful night of sleep directly after this practice if you wish. The calming breathwork, gentle stretches, and meditative awareness can help counteract the tension, rumination and arousal that disrupt sleep.

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    What is Yoga for Better Sleep about?

    Yoga for Better Sleep (2019) combines sleep science with age-old yogic wisdom, creating yoga sequences specifically designed to promote healthy, restorative sleep. It shares practical postures, breathing tools, and meditation techniques that can be easily incorporated into a pre-bedtime routine.

    Yoga for Better Sleep Review

    Yoga for Better Sleep by Mark Stephens is a comprehensive guide on using yoga to improve sleep quality. Here's why this book is a valuable read:

    • With easy-to-follow yoga poses and routines, it offers practical solutions for those struggling with sleeping issues.
    • The book delves into the connection between yoga and sleep, providing insights that make it a compelling and informative read.
    • Featuring engaging tips and techniques for relaxation, it ensures that readers will find the content both useful and engaging.

    Who should read Yoga for Better Sleep?

    • Insomniacs who want to tap into natural, holistic remedies for wakefulness
    • Yoga-lovers who want to direct their practice specifically towards promoting rest
    • Anyone who’s sick of lying awake and counting sheep…

    About the Author

    Mark Stephens is a renowned yoga instructor and author who has dedicated his career to helping people overcome insomnia and sleep issues through the practice of yoga.

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    Yoga for Better Sleep FAQs 

    What is the main message of Yoga for Better Sleep?

    The main message of Yoga for Better Sleep is to utilize yoga practices for improving sleep quality.

    How long does it take to read Yoga for Better Sleep?

    Reading Yoga for Better Sleep may take a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just minutes.

    Is Yoga for Better Sleep a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Yoga for Better Sleep is worth reading for its effective yoga techniques to enhance sleep. A valuable resource for improving one's rest.

    Who is the author of Yoga for Better Sleep?

    Mark Stephens is the author of Yoga for Better Sleep.

    What to read after Yoga for Better Sleep?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Yoga for Better Sleep, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Get Better at Anything by Scott H. Young
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