Do you find it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep? Do you wish you could wake up feeling more refreshed?
Yoga is the perfect practice to heal insomnia and solve sleep issues that you might be facing. If you are trying to avoid taking sleeping aids or if you take them, but you want to eliminate them all together, then yoga is the perfect alternative.
How does yoga help to soothe insomnia?
Various yoga poses help to stimulate deeper breathing, which in turn relaxes your body and soothes your mind. It can also help reduce the level of the stress hormone, cortisol, and increase levels of the neurotransmitter known as GABA, which acts as a natural tranquilizer.
Yoga is similar to a meditation session in that it encourages you to bring your focus back to your body and breath, your mind becomes less distracted. You will find that sleep becomes much easier when negative thoughts are diminished.
Sleep and your health go hand in hand so it is important to be proactive in getting a good rest. Don't let the tossing and turning hinder your health.
Give these yoga poses a try and reap the benefits of a better night's sleep!
Seated Forward Bend
1. Sit on the floor with your back straight and your legs together in front of you.
2. Lift your arms straight, then bend your body forward.
3. Grab your shins, ankles or toes, depending on how far you can comfortably reach.
4. Hold for 1-3 minutes. Return to the sitting position.
Sanskrit: Utthita Hasta Padangustasana
1. Stand straight, then bend your hips.
2. Hold your big toe with your middle and index fingers around the inside and your thumbs around the outside of both toes. If you cannot reach, you can keep your hands at your calves.
3. Bend as far as you can while you pull up on your toe.
4. Hold for about a minute, then come back to a standing position. Don't worry if you're not flexible at first, just do the best you can. Don't try to stretch too far, or you'll pull a muscle.
Dynamic Forward-Fold Sequence
1. Begin in Mountain pose.
2. Exhale when you fold forward with your spine elongated. Slide your hands down and place them on the back of your legs.
3. As you inhale, rise up and extend your back. Slide the hands up behind your knees. Draw the chest through your upper arms while you do so.
4. When you exhale, slide your hands down behind your knees and fold forward. Repeat this move six times.
5. Once you have done the six reps, remain in the folded position and keep your knees slightly bent, so it will support your lower back. Let your spine lengthen and allow your head drop to the ground, relaxed and easy. Allow your hands to rest on your ankles or on the ground.
6. Hold this pose for ten breaths.
1. Begin in Mountain pose.
2. Bend your knees and drop your hips.
3. Draw your sitting bones back with your tailbone a bit down while you fold your upper body forward and over your thighs. The abdomen should be resting on the upper thighs. You may adjust your body to maintain balance.
4. Once you have balance, interlace your fingers behind your back.
5. Straighten your arms and elbows, allowing your head to drop toward the ground.
6. Anchor the feet while your upper thighs support your body.
7. Hold this pose for ten deep breaths.
Sanskrit: Adho Mukha Svanasana
1. Start off with your hands on the ground, shoulder-distance apart. The fingers should be facing forward.
2. Step the feet back and you will be in the Downward-Facing Dog. While you are in this pose, maintain your lifted hips and move the shoulders down your back.
3. Lengthen your spine and keep your heels on the ground. Once you are balanced and supported, hold for ten breaths.
1. From Downward-Facing Dog, lower down the knees and come to all fours with your wrists under the shoulder area and your knees under the hip area.
2. Start the Cat/Cow pose by inhaling and extending the spine.
3. Draw your chest slowly with your upper arms and tailbone back, making a tiny backbend.
4. Once you start to exhale, round your spine.
5. Complete your exhaling and lower down to Child's pose.
6. Allow your exhalation to stretch two times longer than your inhaling.
7. Repeat ten times.
Sanskrit: Salamba Bhujangasana
1. Begin this variation by lying down on your stomach, legs expanded.
2. Place your elbows on the sides of your chest with the forearms parallel with one another. Then gently lift your chest and drop the weight to your elbows. Let your neck and head soften.
3. When you inhale, slowly turn your face and chin toward your right shoulder. Move this as if you are pouring sand from your brain's center to your skull's left side.
4. When you exhale, turn your chin and face back to the center.
5. Repeat the movement, this time to the right. This movement should be slow and soft.
6. Repeat five times on each side.
Sanskrit: Viparita Karani
1. Begin by sitting with a side of your body next to the wall, the hips close to the wall and with a pillow near you.
2. Now roll onto the back so the hips are on the pillow and the legs will be rotating directly over your hips and on the wall. The feet may be together or hip-distance apart, whatever you prefer.
3. Keep the arms by your sides with your palms facing upward.
4. Now relax both your shoulders and arms, feeling your leg bones anchoring the hip sockets once you release.
5. Feel your spine lengthening and rest.
6. Continue to breathe, inhaling slowly and exhaling twice as long as the inhalation.
7. Inhale into the stomach, rib cage, and your collarbones.
8. Exhale from your collarbones, rib cage, then your stomach.
9. Repeat this ten to twenty times and release.
The benefits of these yoga poses can take more than one go. Do your best to fit these poses into your evening routine to help with your slep issues! Also, check out the Practice of Psychic Sleep!