How to do Sleep Yoga for Deeper Sleep and Help Insomnia

Did you know that 7%-19% of US adults aren’t getting enough sleep? Why is sleep so important? People who don’t get enough sleep are at higher risk for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as a weakened immune system. Lack of sleep can also cause moodiness, clumsiness and lack of concentration. (3)

I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately, so I’ve done some research on tips to help combat this insomnia rut in which I seem to be stuck. Sleep yoga or bedtime yoga was one of the things that kept popping up. I decided to write an article to share with all of you and have included 3 short sleep yoga routines below.

Believe it or not, there are studies linking yoga with improved sleep, Researchers at Harvard Medical School conducted research on “how daily yoga might affect sleep for people with insomnia” and twenty people finished this small 8 week study, The subjects kept a sleep diary for 2 weeks prior to the study as well as throughout the course of the 8 weeks. At the beginning of the study, they were given basic yoga training and asked to maintain daily yoga for 8 weeks, while keeping a sleep diary. “They kept a record the amount of time spent asleep, number of times they awakened during the night, and the duration of time spent sleeping between periods of waking, in addition to other details about nightly sleep amounts and sleep quality.”(2) 

The researchers found improvements in several areas (2):

  • Sleep efficiency
  • Total sleep time
  • Total wake time
  •  The amount of time it takes to fall asleep
  • Wake time after sleep onset

For yoga to benefit your sleep, however, it must be the right kind of yoga. So here are a few tips to get you started (1):

  1. Choose the right style. Some types of yoga, such as vinyasa yoga, or flow yoga are designed to energize and get the blood flowing. Better choices are “hatha yoga, which focuses on body position, or nidra yoga, which focuses on breathing and restorative poses“.
  2. Set the scene in a proper location, other than the bedroom. Experts say that the bedroom should only be used for sleep and sex, so when doing sleep yoga, find a location in your home where you can stretch out, in a carpeted room or on a yoga mat. Play some relaxing music; light some candles; get some pillows.
  3. Focus on your breathing. The breath is one of the most important aspects of yoga. Your aim is to be in the here and now, allowing your thoughts to float away. If you find your mind wondering, don’t berate yourself, just let them float in and out of your mind, then refocus on the present moment. With practice, this will get easier.

Now that you know it works and a few tips, here are 3 short routines to get you started.

Tara Stiles:

Treat Insomnia with Yoga

Yoga For Sleep

Easy Bedtime Yoga

5 Minute Miracle

7 Minute Bedtime Yoga –

Yoga With Adrien

Closing thoughts:

I’ve been wanting to include more yoga in my daily routine anyway, so this seems to be the answer for which I’ve been searching. I’ll be setting a few goals and keep you up to date in my Fit by 50 journal, which comes out every Thursday.

Until next time…namaste my friends.

Tamara

Sources

  1. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy-sleep/sleep-better/yoga-for-sleep
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleep-newzzz/201210/yoga-can-help-insomnia
  3. https://bestinyoga.com/does-yoga-help-you-sleep/

How to do Laughter Yoga

I must admit, this one was a bit odd to me, and not something I’ve ever tried, until I sat down to research this post. I felt quite silly and made sure I was alone, as I was participating in the videos below. However, isn’t that the whole purpose…to be silly?

What I found? It was fun and my laughter, which began fake, became genuine in the end. As my research indicates, laughter is INCREDIBLY beneficial. You reap the benefits of an aerobic workout by GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS OF LAUGHTER. In other words, it doesn’t have to be genuine laughter, because your body can’t tell the difference.

Benefits of laughter – Shares benefits with aerobic exercise! (1)

  • The movement of the diaphragm floods the body with oxygen.
  • Releases the same endorphins which cause the effect known as “the runners high” In fact, it has been found that endorphins increase by approximately 27%
  • Research shows that HGH (the anti-aging – human growth hormone) increased by 87% when subjects THOUGHT ABOUT watching a funny movie.
  • Reduces stress hormone levels, such as cortisol and adrenaline.
  • A good laugh burns 3 1/2 calories
  • Exercises the abs, as well as the shoulders
  • Laughing for 15 seconds adds 2 days to your life
  • Helps eliminate negative emotions such as fear, sadness, and anger
  • Improves circulation and cardiovascular health
  • 15 minutes of laughter is equivalent to 2 hours of sleep

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The history of laughter yoga (3)

In 1995, Dr. Madan Kataria was writing an article entitled “Laughter – the best medicine”. He discovered the many wonderful, and proven benefits of laughter. Inspired by what he found, Dr. Kataria decided to test the impact of laughter on real individuals.

On March 13, 1995, he ventured to a local park, and recruited 4 people to start a “laughter club”. They began laughing in the park, and the group quickly grew to 50 participants. They began by standing in a circle, with one person in the middle telling jokes. As you might imagine, this didn’t work well, and within 2 weeks, they ran out of “material”.

Dr. Kataria went back to his research and discovered one important factor: your body can’t tell the difference between real laughter and fake laughter. Both ways produce the same benefits and beneficial body chemistry. So, he went back to his club and suggested they “act out” laughter for one minute and the results were wonderful.

For many individuals in the club, the fake laughter quickly became contagious and turned into genuine laughter. Instead of just one minute, they session went on for almost 10 minutes. It was after this class, that Dr. Kataria developed a routine and specific laughter exercises, developed around pranayama/yogic breathing, and laughter yoga was born.

What happens in a laughter yoga session? Here are the four steps. (2)

  1. Step 1: Clapping and Warming-up Exercises –  Full finger-to-finger and palm-to-palm clapping, with movements, chanting and rhythm
  2. Step 2: Deep Breathing Exercises – In between laughter exercises, participants do deep breathing exercises.
  3. Step 3: Childlike Playfulness – Acting in a childlike way or swinging arms up into a Y shape with “thumbs up in childish exuberance and exhilaration“.
  4. Step 4: Laughter Exercises – Three types of laughter exercises
    1. yogic laughter –  based on yogic breathing
    2. playful laughter – Convert forced laughter into genuine laughter, as well as reduce shyness/inhibition
    3. value-based laughter – Increase positive feelings

LIBERATING YOUR LAUGHTER TEDX TALK (12:55 MINUTES) – The benefits of laughter and history of laughter yoga, along with a short laughter yoga routine.  It’s interesting because she talks about her discomfort at laughing for no reason, saying it was “out of her comfort zone.” As I said above, you do feel a bit silly at first.

HOW TO DO LAUGHTER YOGA

4 STEPS OF LAUGHTER YOGA (5:42 MINUTES)

100 LAUGHTER YOGA EXERCISES (11 MINUTES) – This includes several routines to do on a regular basis.

Closing thoughts

Although this form of yoga is a bit unusual, it’s fun and literally anyone can do it! As you can see from the list of benefits, you really can’t go wrong with this one. After all, who doesn’t want the benefits of running….WITHOUT HAVING TO RUN?

Until next time…Namaste my friends.

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Source:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0m5wsro7OPc
  2. https://laughteryoga.org/what-happens-in-a-laughter-yoga-session-2/
  3. https://laughteryoga.org/history-of-laughter-yoga/

An Archive of Meditations – The Purple Almond Year in Review

Since it’s a federal holiday here in the USA, I decided to take the day off from both blogging and school. I still wanted to posts something, so it’s a repost day here at The Purple Almond.

Here is a repost of my Meditation Monday year end review from December. I couldn’t decide which article to repost today, so I decided to post this one, which posts all of them, up until December. Do you have a favorite? For me, it’s the grounding meditations as well as the walking and EFT tapping.

ENJOY!


I began my Meditation Monday blog series on December 19, 2016. One year on, I have covered the gambit of meditation and relaxation techniques. I began with Yoga, and have included everything from Qi Gong to chair yoga and candle gazing to stone stacking. Whether you’re a fitness fanatic, or hate to exercise (like me!) there’s something for everyone.

Many of you may wonder why I focus so heavily on meditation and motivation, despite being a nutrition site. As someone who is studying holistic nutrition, I learned early on that food is only part of the equation when it comes to complete, whole body health. A body under constant stress is an unhealthy body, even if you eat in a super healthy way. Yes, all of that healthy food does help, but the stress still takes a toll on you. That’s why I include so many meditation and motivational posts on my blog.

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In fact, I feel that dealing with stress is so important, my very first blog post, from over a year ago, was devoted to dealing with anger:

Do You Hold Onto Your Anger?

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Here are just a few physical effects stress has on your body:

  • Acne and other skin problems
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • High cholesterol
  • Increased risk for a heart attack
  • Lower bone
  • Joint pain
  • Acid reflux
  • Diabetes
  • Irritable bowel
  • Lower sex drive
  • Comprised immune system

So below is a list of 23 of my Meditation Monday posts from this past year, beginning with my first YOGA post, from December 19, 2016. I hope you can find something on this list to help you relieve stress over this holiday season, and through out the new year.

The Benefits of Yoga with 30 Minute Restorative Yoga and Meditation video

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NEW YOU –

Letting Go Of Yesterday Guided Meditation

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Qi Gong –

7 minutes of Magic for Health

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Guide to walking Meditation

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Simple Meditation led by Jeffrey Zlotnik – Founder of The Meditation Initiative

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Meditation for Beginners:

The Ultimate Guide 

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The Butterfly – Kids Meditation

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40 Ways to Relax

in 5 Minutes or Less

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6 Guided Meditation Videos

for Anxiety and Fear

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A Mindful Eating Meditation

to Manage Food Cravings

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Stone Stacking

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Grounding Meditation (AKA: Earthing) with Free Guidebook

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Tapping-The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

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EFT Tapping for Self-Love

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Candle Gazing

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Deepak Chopra’s Top 8 Meditation Tips

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Partner Yoga for Relaxation

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Guided Imagery

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Foot Soaking Meditation

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Yoga for Mental Health

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20-Minute HIIT Yoga Flow for Stress

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Chair Yoga

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A Quick Guide to Yin Yoga

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Yoga for kids: A walk through the garden

As of 2013, it is estimated that approximately 129 million children worldwide have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). (2) The mind-body connection so prevalent in Yoga can have a beneficial impact on individuals with ADHD. Some benefits of yoga for individual with ADHD include: (3)
• Decreased Fidgeting
• Connection between body, mind and spirit
• Improved Focus
• Improved levels of flexibility
• Increase strength and muscle mass
• More balanced metabolism and digestion
• Relaxation and quieting of the mind
• Promote empathy for others
• Decreasing stress and anxiety
• Improved lung capacity, energy level and respiration

If you’ve spent any time doing yoga, you know just how calming it can be. These same benefits can help your child as well.

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 Besides the benefits stated above, here are a few other reasons you may want to introduce yoga to your children: (1)

  • Develops body awareness
  • Mindfulness training
  • Stress management
  • Meditation
  • Healthy moving
  • Concentration
  • Confidence
  • Awareness of breath
  • Energizing
  • Strengthening
  • Improved balance
  • Lengthening
  • Awareness
  • Focus
  • Relaxation

Below, I have gathered together some yoga poses, information and videos for you. There is a ton of information on the web about teaching yoga to kids. It is my hope that I have peaked your curiosity on this topic. ENJOY!

“Poses” posters

 “Garden” poses for kids…

(Via www.childhood101.com)

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Garden Yoga for Kids Free Printable Poster PDF


Calm Down Yoga for kids

(Via: www.childhood101.com)

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Calm Down Yoga for kids printable poster PDF


 

Sun Salutation For Kids

(Via: Childhood 101)

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sun salutation for kids printable poster PDF

Yoga for kids resources:

Videos:

I have pulled some of the super fun Cosmic Kid videos for you to see. There are so many more at www.cosmickids.com and the Cosmic Kids Yoga youtube channel. (Keep in mind, when you watch them…they are meant for young children! 😉 They are meant to engage the kids, get them moving and most of all, help them have fun while they exercise!)

Star Wars | A Cosmic Kids Yoga Adventure!

Moana | A Cosmic Kids Yoga Adventure!

Episode 1: Squish The Fish |

A Cosmic Kids Yoga Adventure!

Jaime’s Brain Breaks | 12. Spidey Superpowers

Sources:

  1. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-15075/7-ways-kids-benefit-from-yoga.html
  2. http://www.chadd.org/understanding-adhd/about-adhd/data-and-statistics/general-prevalence.aspx
  3. https://www.yogitimes.com/article/yoga-help-adhd-symptoms-relax

30 Second Videos: Qi Gong for Stress Relief

Here is a short video which demonstrates a simple Qi Gong move to help relieve stress.

And, I mean, come on, let’s be honest, who doesn’t need a bit of stress relief these days?

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A Quick Guide to Yin Yoga ~ 3 routines to Stretch, Flex and Relax

If you’re like me, you’d love to meditate and do yoga each day, but don’t have the time. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE doing yoga. It’s one of the few types of exercise that I thoroughly enjoy. (I’ve never been real big on fitness) Doing yoga and meditation has become a form of guilty pleasure for me, as I rarely have time to work them into my schedule.

That’s why I was so excited when I discovered

Yin Yoga.

What is Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga is not as well known, in western cultures, as the far more popular Hatha Yoga. Yin Yoga is a slower paced form of yoga, which targets deep connective tissues of the body. (1) The postures in Yin Yoga are performed largely on the floor, with fewer postures than other types of yoga. Unlike other forms of yoga, where poses are held for only seconds, poses in Yin Yoga are held for 3 to 5 minutes at a time, and sometimes up to 20 minutes. Yin Yoga is the opposite of other forms of active yoga, that are considered “yang” yoga. (You’ve heard of the yin/yang symbol).  Instead of pushing up, resisting and moving, (YANG) you are passive, relaxed and still (Yin).

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Students are encouraged to meditate while holding the poses. Because of this, it’s considered a meditative form of yoga, and quite different than the more physical forms of yoga.  Due to the meditative nature of Yin Yoga, students are often required to face themselves, their feelings and their emotions. Yin Yoga is often used in centers that deal with addictions, eating disorders, anxiety and deep pain or trauma. (1) If you have trouble meditating, or if you’re experiencing stress or anxiety, this is a wonderful place to begin.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF: liinayoga.com

Benefits of Yin Yoga (1. 2, 3)

  1. Calms the mind
  2. Balances the body
  3. Increased mobility in the body and joints
  4. Helps with migraines
  5. Relaxation
  6. Increased circulation
  7. Helps teach meditation skills
  8. Releases tension and stress
  9. Can be done anywhere
  10. Improved flexibility

The 3 Principles of Yin Yoga (3)

  1. Find your edge – Because the poses are held for such long periods of time, it’s important to find a “comfortable” place. Don’t push yourself or go to your “maximum.
  2. Be still – Once you are in your pose, don’t fidget.  Relax into the pose and stay still throughout the pose.
  3. Hold the pose – Work up to holding the pose for 5 or more minutes. Start with 1 – 3 minutes and go from there.

 Philosophy and Practice of Yin Yoga

While this may not be a standard workout, leaving you sweaty and breathless, it’s giving you a different, deeper, more intimate type of work out. You’ll walk away with a calm, clear mind that has touched the soul.

Onto the routines!

Below, I’ve gathered just a few of the dozens available on youtube. If you don’t like the ones below, go to this search. It contains tons of workouts ranging in length from 15 mintues to 60 minutes. ENJOY! (I’d love to hear if you try it!)

Yin Yoga for Deep Relaxation – (30 minutes)

Morning Yin Yoga Class – Best Morning Stretches (30 minutes)

Yin Yoga Full Body Stretch ~ Flexibility & Relaxation (40 minutes)

 

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Sources:

  1. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5037/Yin-Yoga-101-What-You-Need-to-Know.html
  2. https://www.doyouyoga.com/yin-yoga/
  3. https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/the-benefits-of-yin-yoga

Meditation Monday: Chair Yoga

The benefits of yoga are many and well known. But, when you think of yoga, you most likely think of someone in workout clothes, standing or lying on a yoga mat, doing different poses of varying difficulty.

I personally LOVE yoga, but often have difficulty finding time to work it into my busy schedule. I’m sure you can relate. So, when I discovered chair yoga, while researching this article, I was excited. Now, when I’m studying, I can take a 10 or 15 minutes break and do one of the following routines.

Chair yoga is a perfect way to relieve stress…at the office….at home…in a hotel room…while traveling…anywhere you have a chair!

If you’re a beginner and not familiar with yoga,  chair yoga would be a great place to begin. It’s also great for senior citizens, obese individuals, and people with neurological problems or other injuries who may want to stay active.

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For complete workout click here!

 

Why yoga? Here are some benefits…(5) (4) (1)

  1. Improved strength
  2. Improved flexibility
  3. Improved posture
  4. Improved bone health
  5. Increased blood flow
  6. Reduced stress
  7. Improved mental clarity
  8. Pain management
  9. Increased muscle strength and tone
  10. Improved respiration, energy and vitality
  11. Maintaining a balanced metabolism
  12. Weight reduction
  13. Cardio and circulatory health
  14. Improved athletic performance
  15. Protection from injury
  16. Drains lymphs and improved immunity
  17. Lower blood pressure
  18. Regulates adrenals
  19. Lowers blood pressure
  20. Makes you happy

SO…

grab a partner…

pick a routine…

let’s do some yoga!

Here are 4 different routines, ranging in length from 10 to 20 minutes.

 

12 Minute Chair Yoga

for Travel and the Office

10 Minute Chair Yoga

for the Office

Chair Yoga

for Seniors

Yoga at your desk

– Chair Yoga

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.doyouyoga.com/6-benefits-of-chair-yoga-8-poses-to-get-you-started/
  2. https://www.verywell.com/chair-yoga-poses-3567189
  3. http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1822
  4. http://www.osteopathic.org/osteopathic-health/about-your-health/health-conditions-library/general-health/Pages/yoga.aspx
  5. https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/count-yoga-38-ways-yoga-keeps-fit

Let us stop for a moment to pray and meditate.

20-Minute HIIT Yoga Flow for Stress | Shape Magazine

Good morning everyone. I originally posted this article in December, 2016. I decided to repost it after another wonderful article was brought to my attention.

BestForTheKids is a site dedicated to finding the best products for children. On their blog, they’ve included an article about Yoga for Children. We all know that Yoga is a wonderful way to exercise, strengthen muscles, gain flexibility and unwind after a long day, but, have you thought about asking your kids to join in with you?

Sandra Cobain, a Child Psychologist and head of content for BestForTheKids has written an article highlighting 10 Proven Benefits of Yoga for your Kids. If you’re interested in learning more about Yoga for kids, this article is a good place to start, with well researched facts and sources.

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FOR SANDRA’S ARTICLE FOLLOW THIS LINK: 10 Proven Benefits for your Kids – Best For The Kids

Now onto the main article. If you’d rather skip to the 20 minute routine, CLICK HERE.


Here is the original article (With a link to dozens more benefits of yoga):

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38 ways yoga improves your health

Yoga is an awesome and relaxing way to de-stress,  detoxify and get in shape. According to the Yoga Journal, not only does yoga improve flexibility, strengthen muscles, and improve posture, it also:

  • drains lymphs
  • boosts immunity
  • lowers blood pressure
  • regulates the adrenal glands
  • lowers blood sugar
  • maintains nervous system
  • improves lung function
  • eases pain
  • keeps allergies and viruses away.
  • supports connective tissue

For more information on the benefits of yoga, read about the 38 Health Benefits of Yoga from the Yoga Journal.

Follow the link below for a 20 minute stress relieving yoga routine developed by Los Angeles based, private yoga instructor, Alexis Novak.

Source: 20-Minute HIIT Yoga Flow for Stress | Shape Magazine

Meditation Monday: Yoga for Mental Health

It is a well known fact that exercise is beneficial for stress relief, anxiety and  depression, but yoga is one of the best. Yoga combines strength and flexibility exercises with meditation and relaxation…a winning combination if you’re fighting depression or anxiety.

5 Reasons to use Yoga for Mental Health (1)

  1. Yoga slows down breathing and heart rates, which lowers blood pressure
  2. It has been proven that yoga helps to boost GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which slows down brain activity, enabling you to relax. A one-hour session can increase GABA by 27% (1).
  3. Research indicates that regular use of yoga can lead to improved mood, reduced anxiety and anger reduction in people suffering from depression (1).  One study found that one 12 minute yoga session daily, for 8 weeks, can reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a known risk factor for depression (1).
  4. Yoga raises the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This is a type of protein that stimulates the development of new brain cells. (1)
  5. Yoga can improve memory and concentration. Doing just one 20 minute Hatha yoga session was shown to improve memory better than any other form of exercise.

This video  discusses the science behind why yoga helps improve conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress and PTSD.

From: Live Sonima

Understanding How Yoga

Can Help Depression,

Anxiety & PTSD

Have I peaked your interest? If you are interested in using yoga to help with your depression, anxiety or stress, I have found 3 different routines for you. Each routine is approximately 30 minutes long. I personally find this to be the perfect length. Choose the video, instructor and routine that best fits you. Enjoy!

From: Psyche Truth

Beginners Yoga for

Depression, Stress,

the Blues

&

Anxiety Relief

Anxiety & Panic Attacks,

Deep Relaxation, Sleep,

Stress Relief, ASMR

From: Fightmaster Yoga

Yoga for Depression

I practice yoga as often as time allows in my life. (So not as often as I would like. 😦 ) I hope this article helps you understand how yoga can help with your depression, anxiety, or stress. It was my desire , through this article, to introduce you to yoga as a tool to help you combat the issues you face daily.

Let us stop for a moment to pray and meditate.

SOURCE:

  1. https://bebrainfit.com/mental-health-benefits-yoga/
  2. http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression