Yoga, famous for its ability to relieve stress, may well be the cure for your insomnia! Here are 4 of the best restorative yoga poses to encourage sleep and how to practice them.
LEGS UP THE WALL
Legs up the wall is a great way to give your heart a little bit of a rest from all of the hard work that it’s been doing all day. This gentle inversion can reduce your heart rate and make it easier to get to sleep.
Lay on your back and bring your sit bones as close to the wall as you can, with your legs resting up against it. If this is uncomfortable for your legs, move away slightly from the wall. Lay your arms down by either side, close your eyes, and rest here for anywhere up to 10 minutes.
If you would like to increase the incline of the pose, simply bring a pillow underneath the lower back and glutes.
Alternate nostril breathing is a form of pranayama (or controlled breathing) that’s great for relieving stress and encouraging a focus on the present.
1. Start by taking an inhale through the nose.
2. Using the right hand, cover the right nostril with the thumb, exhaling through the left nostril.
3. Inhale through the left nostril.
4. Cover the left nostril with the ring finger, and exhale through the right nostril.
5. Inhale through the right nostril.
6. Repeat this for up to 5 minutes.
This pranayama works wonders for promoting sleep when paired with ‘legs up the wall’ pose, why not give it a try?
Reclining bound angle pose is ideal for relaxing whilst gently opening up the hips to help relieve the stresses of the day.
Start by placing a cushion on the floor that you can use to support your head and shoulders. Alternatively, you might like to use a bolster pillow propped at a 45-degree angle – using yoga blocks – as this can be even more restorative and sleep-inducing.
Lay back onto your cushion or bolster pillow and get comfortable. Bring the soles of the feet together and the knees out wide. The hands can come to rest on the belly or either side of the body. Close your eyes and stay here for 2-3 minutes.
If you would like to rest in this pose for longer, bring a yoga block or cushion underneath each knee to relieve the tension a little.
Savasana is the real reason that everyone comes to yoga – after all the hard work, you get to lay down and enjoy the rebirth of your body following your yoga practice! Plus, it’s the perfect position to settle down into for a great night of sleep. Why not combine the positions from this article into a pre-bedtime yoga sequence, and finish it off with an entire night spent sleeping in savasana?
Lay on your back with your legs wide, arms out to the sides, and eyes closed. Mentally and physically relax every single part of your body until you feel like you’re sinking into the ground (or your bed!). Stay here until you’re ready to go to bed – or until you fall asleep!
If you would like a little more comfort, bring a cushion underneath the head and a bolster pillow underneath the knees.
Step away from pre-bedtime screens and instead commit to 20 minutes of restorative yoga before bed to get a better night of sleep!