Yoga poses to help you sleep
We’ve all been there, the nights that you can’t sleep; tossing and turning, longing for sleep to arrive, worries circling around your brain, the feeling that you’re the only one in the world who’s awake and the sound of your clock ticking ever closer to your morning alarm.
The scenario of a sleepless night is familiar to so many, but there are ways in which you can help yourself drift off into an uninterrupted slumber and that is with the thousands-of-years-old physical, spiritual and mental discipline of yoga. Yoga is used to help a variety of different ailments and sleeplessness is one of them, so if you have some trouble catching your Zs, here are some yoga poses to try out.
Cat pose (marjariasana)
The cat pose relaxes the mind, and improves blood circulation and digestion. Repeating the cat pose slowly six times will have meditative effects.
- Position yourself on all fours with your knees hip-width apart, your arms perpendicular to the floor and hands placed flat on the ground directly under the shoulders
- Lift and tilt your head backwards, pushing your stomach downwards whilst lifting your tailbone like a cat
- Hold the pose and take long, deep breaths
- Then as you exhale, drop your chin to your chest and arch your back stretching it upwards
Child’s pose (balasana)
Kneeling whilst resting your bottom on your feet much like a child is extremely calming for the nerves as well as relaxing the spine.
- Sit on your heels and bend forward, lowering your forehead onto the floor in front of you
- Stretch out your arms with palms facing down
- Hold the pose and breathe for as long as desired, slowly come back to sit on your heels
Shoulder stand (sarvangasana)
Regular practice of the shoulder stand rejuvenates brain cells and stimulates the nervous system. It is a centring, calming and soothing pose and can really help those suffering from sleep problems.
- Lie on your back and lift your legs up and back high over your shoulders, supporting your back with your hands
- Straighten your legs and spine and press your elbows down on the floor and hands on back supporting your weight
- Keep breathing deeply and stay in the posture for 30-60 seconds. Lower the knees to forehead. Bring your hands to the floor, palms facing down. Bring your spine down slowly without lifting your head.
Reclining big-toe hold (supta padangusthasana)
To stretch and release tension from your lower body try the big-toe hold.
- Lying on the floor, inhale and extend your leg above and hold your big toe
- Exhale and stretch your leg as straight as you can towards your head, gently moving it closer with every breath.
- Repeat the pose with other leg
Reclining twist (supta matsyendrasana)
The reclining twist releases tension in the spine; it is considered gentle and can be therapeutic for stress.
- Whilst inhaling, hug your right knee to your chest
- Exhale and move your leg across your body and place your knee to the left of you
- Turn your head to the right and stretch your arms to your sides resting your left hand on your right knee
- Take deep breaths and then repeat with left knee
Rock yourself to sleep like a baby by rocking your back into the ground.
- Lie on a soft surface and bring your knees to your chest holding them with your arms
- Inhale and rock from side to side, rocking your back into the ground
- Continue for as long as desired, then roll back and extend arms and legs
The part of most yoga classes that everyone looks forward to is when you get to lie flat on your back and relax.
- Lie down flat on your back. Extend both legs and both arms out straight. Let your ankles roll open to the sides and your palms face upwards.
- Rest here for a little while and feel yourself drifting off