Do you often have trouble sleeping? You’re not alone – and it could be costing you more than just a restless night and sleepy day. Recent research has shown that people with insomnia are much more likely to experience associated health problems such as anxiety, depression, diabetes and congestive heart failure. Not to mention a terrible sluggish, unproductive day. Yoga gets you in touch with the breath. When you slow down and stay in a pose you can feel different areas of the body that are tense and holding on from your day and gradually let that go as you sit and breathe through the pose. And stretching in general has a calming effect making bedtime the best time for it. Ideally do each pose in the sequence for one to five minutes, holding each position gently without strain or pain. Pick your favourites and build them into your routine as you can – even in bed, if that works for you. And remember: Always listen to your body, don’t push yourself past your comfort zone and don’t do anything that hurts.
Head To Knee Pose
Sit on the floor without slouching, legs extended straight in front of you and knees bent if necessary to keep the spine from rounding.
Bend the right knee and open the hip, bringing the sole of the right foot into the inner left thigh and the right knee toward the ground. If it doesn’t reach, support the right knee with a cushion. Inhale and lengthen the spine. Exhale as you bend forward from the hips over the left leg, keeping the spine and neck long, and place the hands on either side of the left leg. Gaze at the big toe of the left foot as you focus on the breath moving in and out.
Bound Angle Pose
Sit on the floor without slouching and bring the soles of the feet together in front of you, hands holding the feet or ankles.
If you’re comfortable and able to sit without rounding the lower back, bring the feet as close as you can toward the groin. Inhale and lengthen the spine. Exhale and bend forward from the hips, keeping the spine long. Breathe in and out as you feel your muscles relaxing.
Reclined Twist Pose
Lie on your back and bring the knees into the chest. Extend the left arm to the side at shoulder height, palm facing up. Keeping the knees high, slowly bring them out to the right until they reach the floor. Place the right hand on top of the right knee. You may want to use the right hand to massage the outer left leg and hip. Gaze straight up at the ceiling or slightly to the left. Repeat on the other side.
Legs Up The Wall Pose
Sit sideways against a wall. Bring up one leg then the other as you come to your back with legs extended up the wall. Extend the arms along your sides, palms facing up. Close the eyes and breathe as you relax into the pose. If you like, place an eye pillow over the eyes to block light.