If you have regular issues with sleep or insomnia, I strongly recommend trying Yin Yoga. As a matter of fact, I suggest you try it anyway, regardless of whether you have sleep issues or not. Not only will Yin Yoga leave you feeling relaxed & blissfully calm, as well as helping you get a restful nights sleep, Yin Yoga has other benefits too.
What Is Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga focuses on stretching the connective tissues, rather than working the muscles. The deep connective tissues are the ligaments, joints, bones, and inner tissues called fascia (a fibrous tissue that connects all the cells in our body).
The poses in Yin Yoga are mostly focused on the lower body, which is rich in connective tissues and the poses are held for a longer time than you would usually hold a pose. Stretching the connective tissues require slow and steady loads, so Yin Yoga poses are usually held for around 5 minutes.
Of course, when you are first starting out it might be a bit hard to hold each pose for 5 minutes, so start with 3 minutes or even 1.5 minutes if you are having real difficulties. The poses themselves are easy, especially if you use props but sitting or laying still for more than a couple minutes can be difficult for people who have never done it before.
Yin Yoga Forces Us To Slow Down
Every moment of the day our minds are constantly running with several different thoughts a minute, and our bodies are moving constantly. This has become normal for most people, and when you are used to this it can be difficult to completely stop and do absolutely nothing for any length of time.
The thing is, there are huge benefits to just stopping for a few minutes. not moving, just slowing your thoughts down. It’s like giving your body, and your mind, a short holiday. It really is.
Yin Yoga helps you get a restful sleep not only by slowing the mind and body down, but also stretching the connective tissues, as well as the muscles around them. Stretching before going to bed also helps you get a restful and quality sleep.
Never underestimate the power of stretching before going to sleep!
Yin Yoga also builds patience and endurance. In the beginning, hold each pose for 3 minutes (or whatever time suits you) and as you practice, lengthen the time you hold each pose.
Do I Need Props For Yin Yoga?
Yes. Many Yin Yoga routines use props and if you you struggle with flexibility, then using props makes the postures a lot easier.
You do not need to buy yoga equipment to practice Yin Yoga. You can easily find items around the home as alternatives to yoga props. Cushions, rolled up towels, even a stack of books are an ok alternative to yoga blocks.
Yoga bolsters are long, firm cushions. An alternative to these could be couch cushions, rolled up towels or blankets, stacked pillows etc.
Yoga blocks are usually around 9x5x3 (inches) so a stack of books or a sturdy box can be an alternative.
A strong belt or rope can be used as a yoga strap.
A thin blanket or thick towel can be used as an alternative to a yoga mat. The purpose of the yoga mat is to provide a non-slip surface with enough cushioning, while allowing you to maintain your balance.
Eventually, if you end up sticking with yoga, you will probably want to buy some props as they are used for all kinds of routines, from beginner to advanced. They don’t have to be expensive and there are plenty of affordable yoga props available online.
Simple Bedtime Yin Yoga Sequence
I put together the video below for beginners, as an introduction to Yin Yoga. The video contains instructions on how to do 5 simple poses. You will need some props for this routine, so gather up some cushions, towels, blankets, books etc. whatever you can find.
Watch the video, go through the poses a few times so you remember them, then practice this routine right before going to bed tonight.