Yoga is a 5,000 year old practice originating in India which focuses on transformation of the mind and body through concentration, mindfulness, deep breathing, and postures that stretch, realign and balance the body. This ancient practice, once reserved only for the spiritual, is now a global phenomenon that is practiced by millions the world over. Such a phenomenon, in fact, that in 2014 the United Nations declared June 21st the International Day of Yoga, a move which was supported by all 177 UN member states.
With well-documented benefits such as balance, calmness, peacefulness, and restoration of the mind and body, it should come as no surprise that yoga and sleep go hand-in-hand.
In fact, there is a mountain of research that supports the idea that yoga greatly improves sleep quality, sleep duration and sleep efficiency, with well-respected and established medical institutions such as the Harvard Medical School and the John Hopkins Institute recommending certain yoga poses that may contribute to better sleep.
Taking it one step further, there is an entire branch of yoga emerging that focuses on what is called ‘Yogic Sleep’ (or ‘Yoga Nidra’). Yogic sleep is the practice of combining yoga and deep meditation with the aim of total relaxation.
Sounds blissful, right?
Hotels are increasingly offering yoga classes as a wellness de rigeur, and there are a wealth of yoga retreats popping up around the globe. So how can a hotel use yoga to contribute to guest wellness while also standing out from the crowd?
On International Day of Yoga, we’d like to highlight a few hotels who are already well tuned into that trend.
The Shagri-La hotel in Toronto had a clever approach. They partnered up with the well-known yoga-inspired apparel brand LuluLemon to create an original yoga video which guests can access in the privacy of their own rooms (on Lululemon yoga mats provided by the hotel, of course).
The Dubai Palm, United Arab Emirates
The Dubai Palm understands that “sleepless nights, working late and a hectic schedule all contribute to stress and sickness”. Therefore, they offer guests a Sleep Retreat which includes sunset yoga to “lull you into deep relaxation, in preparation for a restful night’s sleep.”
The Alpina Gstaad, Gstaad
The Alpina Gstaad in the Swiss Alps doesn’t just offer a package with yoga- they offer a package with yogic sleep as the very core of the experience, promising “a selection of relaxing and energy balancing treatments (that) enhances your journey towards a better and more restful night’s sleep.”
Corinthia Hotel, London
The Corinthia Hotel in London- a city renowned for it’s hectic pace of life- also offers a Mindful Sleep package which includes relaxing massages combined with Yoga Nidra sessions to push guests into a deep, meditative sleep experience.
The Six Senses family of resorts, which we have highlighted before for their commitment to wellness, offers Yogic Sleep packages at several Six Senses locations around the globe, from Oman to Vietnam. Alongside private sessions and relaxing spa treatments, guests can relax with “optimal room temperature, relaxation music, pillow mists, and sleep-boosting snacks”.
At FreshBed, we have made no secret of our stance on the importance of sleep (in fact, we’ve made a business based on it). So if yoga is a proven way to help guests prepare mentally and physically for sleep, then we say ‘Om Shanti’!
We hope these examples inspire you. On a side note, if a hotel is not equipped to offer yoga classes in house, a good option would be to partner with nearby yoga studios which can offer hotel guests off-site classes or private lessons. This not only benefits the guest, but contributes to the surrounding economy and can strengthen your local business network – a win for all involved.
We wish you all a peaceful, restorative, and balancing International Day of Yoga! And if your hotel is participating in Yoga Day, or offering yoga in your wellness programme, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
P.S. If you are looking for a pretty helpful guide to get started with yoga yourself, check out the ‘Ultimate Beginners Guide to Yoga’ here!