20-30 Minute Yoga Routines for: Stress Relief & Better Sleep

by Rene Hawthorne | June 13, 2020 6:02 pm

Anxiety is the body’s response to stress. 77% of people suffer from stress and of those 73% will
become even deeper rooted psychological disorders. Anxiety, depression and disease are all
intertwined. Yoga helps the mind and body connection by breaking up repetitive thought
patterns using breath and movement. Yoga helps reduce stress, relieve anxiety, depression,
and insomnia by manipulating the nervous system with sympathetic and parasympathetic
activation and release techniques. The repetition of yoga postures can relieve deeply embedded
psychological patterns.

Yoga really helps change people at every level, from the inside out. There are times when you
just need to get moving and work through the body, and there are times when you need to slow
down for a more restorative practice. Yoga targets unmanaged stress, a main component in
chronic disorders, by lowering the sympathetic nervous system and reducing the levels of
cortisol. Yoga enhances resilience and mind-body awareness. Meditation and breathing
exercises help you learn to put distance between yourself and your thoughts. With practice, your
mind and body become flexible and pliable and you have more clarity about your direction in
life.

Here’s two different types of yoga classes with suggested breathing and meditations. Start each
of these sessions using the breathing technique and meditation together, then complete the
practice with the recommended yoga poses.

20-30 Minute Yoga for Stress Relief:

Breathing Technique: Square Breathing

Square breathing is a type of breath work that can shift your energy, connect you more deeply
with your body, calm your nervous system, and decrease stress in your body. It is also referred
to as box breathing, 4 x 4 breathing or 4-part breath.
Begin by slowly exhaling all of your air out.
Then, gently inhale through your nose to a slow count of 4.
Hold at the top of the breath for a count of 4.
Then gently exhale through your mouth for a count of 4.
At the bottom of the breath, pause and hold for a count of 4.
You can incorporate visualization of a square, imagine changing the breath and pauses with
each corner moving around the square while reciting the below meditation.

Meditation: Sa, Ta, Na, Ma

Bring your thumb to touch each finger and repeat the sounds:
Index finger – ‘Sa’ represents infinite potential and cosmic consciousness.
Second finger – ‘Ta’ represents current existence.
Ring finger – ‘Na’ represents change and impermanence.
Pinky finger – ‘Ma’ represents rebirth and renewal.

Yoga Poses:

Start reclining on back stretch with legs straight, then move soles of feet together and knees
apart for reclining butterfly.
Reclining one knee bent twists – one leg straight, one leg bent, twist spine, switch legs.
Reclining double knee spinal twists to each side.
Move to seated, seated twists both sides.
Move to kneeling, hands and knees cat/cow back.
Kneeling thread the needle, both sides.
Move to squat stretch – then to Goddess pose.
Straighten legs to a wide leg forward fold and hanging rag doll.
Move to standing mountain, stretch the side body with overhead arms, each side.
Tree pose balance, both legs.
Move to seated, both legs straight for seated forward fold.
Child’s pose to rest and finish.

20-30 Minute Yoga for Better Sleep:

Breathing Technique: 1:2 Ratio Breath

Also known as the Calming Breath, the 1:2 Ratio Breath encourages the breath to return to a
gentle, non-forced flow and calms the nervous system. Relax your neck and shoulders, let the
air flow gently into the belly then filling the lungs and then the chest, exhaling back out with
sustained control.

Breath in for 4-5 counts.
Breath out for 8-10 counts (twice as long or as is comfortable for you).

Meditation: Name 3 Things

Name 3 objects you see in the room, one at a time. Take a breath between each one, be slow
and mindful.
Close your eyes, name 3 sounds you hear, one at a time. Take a breath between each one, be
slow and mindful.
Name 3 feelings you have at this moment, one at a time. Take a breath between each one, be
slow and mindful.
When you finish take 3 deep, full, centering breaths. Inhale through the nose, exhale through
the mouth, notice how the mind feels more settled.

Yoga Poses (you can do this yoga routine in your bed right before going to sleep):
Start seated with spinal twists to each side.
Seated forward fold both legs straight, then seated forward fold one leg bent and one straight,
switch legs.
Reclining one knee bent – one leg straight, twist spine, switch legs.
Reclining double knee spinal twists to each side.
Reclining stretch fingertips to toes to lengthen spine.
Half happy baby, one leg bent and one leg straight, grab foot to open hip to side, switch legs.
Full happy baby stretch with both knees bent, grab feet to open hips together.
Reclining cow face stretch, crossover at thighs and grab opposite shin or ankle, then alternate
leg on top to switch.
Reclining stretch fingertips to toes to lengthen spine, then move soles of feet together, knees
bent and open for reclining butterfly.
Straighten legs to corpse pose and drift to sleep.

Yoga is a brilliant form of movement and breath work that nourishes and rejuvenates the body
and mind. The poses are designed to engage and release all angles of the body, inspire
movement in different and new directions, as well as encourage relaxation. Effortless effort and
easy breathing will move lymphatic flow and work connective tissues through out the body
systems. Life is always in flux and the most courageous thing you can do is slow down, turn
towards difficult emotions and meet them with compassion. By staying with the highs and lows
of your life experiences, over time you will become more resilient, meeting each new moment
with strength.

‘“The nature of yoga is to shine the light of awareness into the darkest corners of the
body.” ~Jason Crandell

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