Can’t sleep? Join the club. Whether it’s a change in routine (hello quarantine) or that Netflix marathon before bed disrupting your sleep, the good news is… yoga can help.
The next time you find yourself tossing and turning, practice these yoga poses right before bedtime (you can even do them in your PJs, from your bed). Stay in each pose for about 3 to 5 minutes, and then relax.
Moon Activating Breath (Chandra Bhedana)
This breath activates the left side of your body, which relates to lunar energy, the parasympathetic nervous system (or the rest and digest system) aka the one we need to help us sleep. Sit comfortably on your bed or the floor with your spine tall, eyes closed. Place your thumb over your right nostril and your ring finger over your left nostril. Blocking your right nostril, inhale fully through the left nostril for a count of four; hold and retain the breath gently for 4 counts; then exhale through the right nostril for four counts. Repeat this cycle about 10 times and then gently release your hand back down.
Wide-Knee Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Kneel on the floor and bring your big toes together under your butt and separate your knees out to the sides as wide as feels comfortable. Inhale and, as you exhale, slowly fold down so your forehead is resting on the mat or bed. You can always pop a pillow or blanket under there for added comfort. Reach your hands forwards or towards your feet, close your eyes and stay here for 2-3 minutes.
If you have knee or hip issues pop a bolster or few pillows between your thighs for a more supported version.
Figure Four Against the Wall (Modified Sucirandhrasana)
Lie on your back, knees up, toes to the wall. Then gently lift your left foot and gently place your ankle on top of the right thigh, flexing your toes towards the shin (to protect the knee). Lift the right leg and place it on the wall at about knee height for a deeper stretch. Stay here for around a minute and then switch sides. This deep hip stretch is a low-impact way to releasing any tension from the hips and lower back.
Reclined Supine Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Lie on your back, bring your arms out into a ‘T’ with your hands in line with your shoulders, bend your knees and let drop over to one side. Stay here for up to a minute and repeat on the other side.
NOTE: if you’re pregnant, please don’t do these, take an open seated twist instead. Sit cross–legged and bring your left hand to your right knee and take a gentle twist and repeat on the opposite side to accommodate the belly.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Turn the lights off, get into your bed, or cover up with a blanket. Lie on your back with feet hip-width apart. Place your arms by your sides, palms facing down to the ground. Inhale and as you exhale imagine your feet relaxing, then inhale and imagine your knees relaxing, go all the way up your body with each inhale and exhale letting it relax further with each breath (don’t forget your jaw and forehead). Stay here for at least 20 minutes — if you haven’t already fallen asleep.
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