Millions of Americans suffer from insomnia each night. They lay away, at midnight, their mind still active and alert.
Perhaps you’re one of them?
You know you have a big day ahead of you; you know how important it is for you to get a good night’s sleep; but the anticipation of yet another sleepless night is only making matters worse.
What can you do?
Believe it or not, yoga can help. Here at Team Yogasana, some of our ambassadors have had to fight through bouts of insomnia. They turned to a few short yin yoga sequences before bed to put their minds and bodies at ease.
We recommend you stay in each posture we outline below for three to five minutes – or even longer, if you want to.
1. Doll pose (Dangling)
To get into dangle, stand with the feet hip-width apart. Fold forward with bent knees. You may need to bend your knees more if you have any issues with the back. Let the crown of the head drop toward the floor.
Rest the back of the hands on the floor. To come out of it, slowly roll up to standing. Or move into a squat if you have low blood pressure. Stand relaxed, with arms alongside the body or in a squat position for one to two minutes. Avoid dangling if you have high blood pressure.
This pose slows the heart rate and nourishes the spine structure. It also massages the intestines.
2. Wide-kneed child’s pose
To get into wide-kneed child’s pose, start by sitting on your heels. Spread your knees apart, as wide as they will go. Keep your hips back toward the arches of your feet. Rest forward onto your chest with arms outstretched and palms facing the floor or with your head resting on your forearms. Stay in the posture for 5 minutes.
To come out, bring your hands forward if folded and on an inhale raise your hips and bring one knee toward the center of your body. Rest in child’s pose with knees together for one to two minutes.
This pose is known to be calming and can stimulate the liver meridian channels. The liver – when out of balance – can lead to irregular emotions.
To get into caterpillar, place a cushion under your sitting bones if you have tight hamstrings. Or bend your knees. Begin to bend forward from the hips. Allow the spine to curve into a forward bend. Let the head drop or place your head onto a cushion (or bolster).
Palms are open and facing the ceiling. Do not reach aggressively for the toes. Stay in this pose for 5 minutes. Come out on an inhalation; raise your spine slowly until you are upright. Lie on your back to rest for 1 to 2 minutes.
The Caterpillar pose massages the heart, digestion organs, and supports the kidneys.
4. Plow Pose
According to the Yoga Journal, doing the Plow Pose for at least 5 minutes will help in making insomniacs fall asleep easier. To get into the Plow Pose, lie down on your back, lift your legs above your head and continue to the ground behind you.
Your hands should be either on your back for support, or on the floor. Vyda Belkius, a yoga teacher, trainer, and founder of the Health Yoga Life says that “by turning the flow of blood around you, you bring a new vitality into the body.”
5. Legs Up The Wall Pose
Another excellent yoga for insomnia pose is the simple yet effective legs up the wall pose. It is ideal for evening relaxation as well as stress relief. Yoga experts recommend doing this position for five minutes. You can also use a soft soothing eye pillow if desired.
By lifting our legs up on the wall, our blood will rush back to our hearts, it has a soothing quality.
6. Moon Breath
In a sitting position, make a deer seal with your right hand by bending your index and middle finger to your palms. Your ring and pinky fingers should be left extended. Then, use your right thumb to press your right nostril as you inhale with your left nostril.
Slowly release your right thumb on your right nostril and cover your left nostril with your ring finger as you exhale with your right nostril. Do this for at least 3 minutes to feel the calmness of your body.
7. Big Toe Pose
According to yoga for insomnia experts, this pose helps stimulate the liver and kidney in the back bodies, which in turn activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This system is said to release tension and puts us to sleep. standing with your feet hip-width apart, slowly fold forward using your hips.
Then firmly grip your big toes with the index finger, middle finger, and thumb of each hand. Ground your feet onto the earth and bend your elbows. Breathe deeply as you relax your head and neck. Do this for at least 3 minutes.
8. Fire Log Pose
This sleep-inducing pose can be achieved by extending your left leg straight out and bending it in a 90 degree angle. Then flex your right foot and place it atop your left knee so as your right shin is stacked on top of your left shin.
However, if you feel some discomfort, you can adjust your position by moving your left foot closer to your pelvis. You can walk your hands forward while exhaling, increasing the hip stretch. Afterwards, repeat it on the other side. Do this for 3 minutes.
9. Extended Puppy Pose
The Puppy Pose can be done going on all fours. With your hips stacked over your knees, come on to your fingertips and walk them forward.
Relax your chest, forehead down, and relax as you keep your elbows lifted. And then massage your forehead to ease your facial muscles. Massage it from left to right. Do this for 3 minutes.
10. Supine Twist
According to yoga teacher and research scientist Roger Cole, PhD, reclining and inverted postures like the supine twist is beneficial in promoting a good night sleep by stimulating the baroreflex, which is said to be responsible in maintaining constant blood pressure. You can do this pose by lying on your back and and drawing your knees onto your chest.
Put your arms straight out to your side and let your knees fall to the right, with your left knee stack on top of your right one. Then, slowly draw your left shoulder down, allowing gravity to pull your legs towards the ground.
With all these easy and simple yoga positions, brace yourself for a good night’s sleep. Not only will it boost your relaxation, these yoga for insomnia techniques will sooth both your mind and body, and before you even know it, you will get your well deserved ZZZZs. Sleep tight.