Great humor, great quotes, excellent photography, and actually quite good yoga poses–definitely Instagram-worthy. The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School warns that in the short term, insufficient sleep can “affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injuries.” Long-term sleep deprivation has grimmer consequences—obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and [gulp] premature death. Yoga, which involves posture and breathing exercises, increases blood flow to the brain’s sleep center.
According to a study by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA), 70% of surveyed individuals who experience anxiety or stress daily confessed to having trouble sleeping.
Better sleeping because of yoga is attributed to the ability of meditative activities in quieting the mind.
A regular, daily yoga practice will impact not just how we feel during the day, but how our bodies wind down at night. After finishing my college career at the University of Pittsburgh, I signed a contract with the Detroit Lions. All this time, as my NFL career (and I) floundered in uncertainty and frustration, my wife Karen was practicing yoga. When I first started going to Karen’s classes, I’d get frustrated because I thought my injuries kept me from doing many of the poses. Practicing regularly started a cascade of self-discovery that led me to make yoga a permanent part of my life. I began to learn to manage my thoughts, rather than letting the voices of fear, self-pity, doubt, worry, and competition control me.
Over time, as yoga yielded insight, discovery, and growth, I was able to let go of the self-punishing habits of mind that led me to quite literally kick myself into misery. As a certified nutrition therapy practitioner and lifestyle coach I make it my job to figure out what being healthy and happy really means and how absolutely anyone achieve it. About a year ago I had been working with clients for 6 months after years of schooling and certification. Personally, I had found a diet that worked wonders for my past problems with anxiety, uncontrolled weight gain, and over-restriction.
I knew people who seemed to live this healthy lifestyle intuitively, weren’t stressing about a cookie now and then, and seemed healthy AND happy. I found that when people only focus on bettering their physical issues they may get to a place where those physical ailments are gone, but they still haven’t addressed the underlying causes that created those physical issues in the first place. I started to realize that to truly transform ourselves for the better we really have to dig deep and get to the ROOT of what’s driving our unhealthy, habitual behaviors. Editor’s note: This is another inspiring guest post by Daily Cup of Yoga contributor Silvia Mordini, E-RYT, retreat leader, happiness coach, and yogipreneur.
I cry at movies and commercials and youtube videos and people hugging at the airport and puppies playing and…well you get the picture. We can influence our mind through suggestion known by medical professionals as the placebo effect. Or we can use affirmations to reward our brain into thinking positively about our situation.
Pick one of these each day for the next 21 days and say it to yourself all day long, write it down, email it to yourself, post it up on your mirror. A recent study suggests that seven nights of insufficient sleep can lead to more than 700 genetic changes.
Colin Smith, a professor at the University of Surrey, warns, “Clearly, sleep is critical to rebuilding the body and maintaining a functional state, all kinds of damage appear to occur. The non-profit National Sleep Foundation recommends a sleep range of seven to nine hours for people aged 18 to 64 and seven to eight hours for older adults aged 65 years and older. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and regulating use of electronic gadgets is a great place to start.

It may be taken as an expected consequence of modern living, but its hazards should not be taken lightly.
Moreover, 54% of the respondents said that their mental disorders increased anxiety about falling asleep at night.
Putting ones focus on a single focal point provides an outlet to release energy blocks that may be causing stress. Some other recommended yoga poses in the evening before sleeping include balasana or child’s pose, janu sirsasana or head-to-knee pose, and baddha konosana or bound angle pose.
It’s well-documented that our obsession with our electronic gadgets at night usually adds up to sleep troubles.
Patricia is an Interior Designer, Residential Designer, Art Crafter, DIYer and a full-time mother. While she raved about the benefits of the practice, this was the mid-90’s, and the yoga room was not the guy-friendly paradise it now is.
I had no idea that yoga would not only heal my body, but it would also help me manage the gremlins in my head. Each time I was waived or turned down, I had gone through the same emotional rollercoaster. Through the awareness I have discovered through yoga it’s given me a flexible mind that I plan to stay open, grateful and joyous no matter what happens to my body. Sean and his wife Karen run one of the largest and most successful yoga teacher training certification schools – in Costa Rica, Mexico and Pittsburgh. Do you eat “right,” exercise regularly, and still feel like you must be missing something, but aren’t sure what it is?
I was getting great results assisting people to lose weight, feel confident and purpose-driven, and overcome dis-ease and disease. I was at a point where my exercise routine of gentle, meditative yoga and Crossfit had me feeling confident in my body.
Looking not only at physical health (clinical nutrition, exercise) but diving deep into emotional, spiritual, and mental health. What about all the people that start out on a new diet with lots of enthusiasm, only to fall back into their old eating habits the second something stressful happens. Even though I am not part of the action or in the movie, to the brain it doesn’t matter.
Surround yourself with the positive vibration of each affirmation one day at a time  See for yourself that affirmations are what yoga talks about in harnessing the power of our intentions and directing them in the direction of our best selves and our happiest lives.
Studies have also shown that meditative activities such as yoga can help in getting a good night’s rest.
Some recommended yoga poses to relax the nervous system include uttanasana, halasana, and savasana. Stress contributes to our increased risk in developing high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and a myriad of other ailments. One simple solution for reducing sleep-related stress is to spend a few minutes before bed either taking a few relaxing yoga poses on the mat or in bed each night. The breathing exercises boost the body’s oxygen levels while relaxed stretching generally has a calming effect, which usually results in improved sleep patterns. Rest like a baby by regularly practicing all three of these poses before dozing off in bed.
Sleep experts recommend developing a bedtime ritual that doesn’t involve alcohol, caffeine, electronic gadgets, and too much stimulating thinking.
The following year, I landed a contract with the Indianapolis Colts, and three months later I was released. Instead of giving myself compassion and rest, I cursed my body and hated it for letting me down.

They have over 25 years of combined experience teaching classes and training over 1,000 students to become teachers. I felt like I always had to “defend” my way of life (and even proselytize about it at times).
And not even because others have been kind to us but because being nice is the way of the heart.
The mind will fool our brains because the neural networks of our thinking brain uses past memories to quickly respond to the visual cues. Without a doubt, not getting enough sleep each night makes for a rough day and can spell disaster in the long run if it becomes habitual. Be warned, however, that certain types of yoga such as bhastrika pranayama and sudarshan kriya yoga must be avoided in late evenings as these boost the body’s energy levels, making it hard to fall asleep.
Incorporating a few yoga poses into the evening routine is the perfect way to turn down the noises of the day and relax the body. In pursuit of my ambitions, I beat the crap out of my body with relentless overtraining and tortured my mind and spirit, believing that the only way I could be happy was a long, successful career in the NFL. Instead of thinking, “I’ll be happy once we have our first house,” or, “I’ll feel good when I make an NFL roster,” I found I could be happy at any moment, with awareness of the present and gratitude for my life as it was.
Best-selling authors, they share their love of yoga with innovation, passion, creativity, joy, and spontaneity. After all, when this is all over, all that will really matter is how we treated each other.
Today, join me in starting a Kindness movement and together we can raise our global Kindness IQ!
Silvia lives her happiness in such a big way that you can’t help but leave her classes, workshops, trainings and retreats spiritually uplifted!
Based on the “power of suggestion” we can also use meditatation, visualization, and affirmation to lower stress. That’s why we can upset ourselves just by entertaining demoralizing thoughts or catastrophizing what can go wrong. Even just making a few yoga poses a part of the evening ritual can lead to a blissful night’s rest. I felt like my diet and exercise regime was “work” and that if I were to let my true desires to take over I would fall right off the wagon again. Born in Ecuador, raised traveling around the globe, she is an enthusiastic citizen of the world and spiritual adventurer. I was counting quarters, dimes, and nickels to pay for gas, struggling to support my wife and child.
I saw how I’d wasted a lot of time, because in the grand scheme of life, those years were small and fast. She has over 10,000 hours and 15 years of teaching experience, owned a yoga studio for 9 years and after being run over by a car used yoga to recover physically and emotionally. The only team that would keep me was the NFL yo-yo squad, and I bounced from team to team, rejected again and again. I was angry with it for failing for me, for not satisfying my dream of becoming a professional football player.

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