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Yoga your way to better sleep

Inhale. Exhale. Your nighttime routine impacts your sleep quality. Breathe your way to a better, deeper rest.

After a long, stressful day at the office or with the kids  it can be challenging to relax in the evening, and you may still feel too revved up at bedtime. The glaring screen of the computer and phone only adds to this problem. A vigorous workout can help ease stress, but if done too close to bedtime, you may have some trouble falling asleep. Practicing a few gentle, relaxation-inducing postures, along with deep breathing, can help ready you for a good night's sleep. Keep a yoga mat rolled up by your bedside and spend about 20 minutes before bed performing these 10 poses to catch some truly restful zzzs.

 

Breathe...

Although not considered a physical posture itself, the practice of breathing in yoga is a major factor in its calming effect on the brain and body. "To stabilize and strengthen the nervous system, I like to focus on the simple in and out flow of the breath," says Laurence Lisa Lebreton, a certified yoga teacher and holistic medicine practitioner in Santa Fe, N.M.

HOW TO DO IT: Before moving into your physical poses, take a few minutes to establish your breathing. Sitting in a comfortable position  breathe in and out through your nostrils up to 25 times, lengthening the exhalation as much as possible. Temani Aldine, a certified yoga instructor and vice president of communications at Arizona-based Dahn Yoga, recommends abdominal breathing -- drawing the breath deep into your belly, letting it expand with each inhale, and then exhaling completely so that your navel pulls in toward your spine.

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