Do you suffer from insomnia? If so, you're not alone. In fact, it's estimated that about 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems.
Most of these problems are caused by anxious and worried thoughts, something that we all experience. After all, we have deadlines to meet, children to raise, and countless tasks that never seem to get done.
The good news is, you don't have to take this lying down. With a few adjustments to your evening routine, you can get that deep and refreshing sleep that you deserve.
By adding a few yoga poses to your bedtime ritual, you can relax your body and radically improve your quality of sleep. The meditative elements of yoga can also help calm your mind, release stress, and bring more clarity into your thinking before and after sleep.
Bust Insomnia With These 5 Evening Yoga Poses
Yoga can be energizing or relaxing, depending on what you are trying to get out of your practice and the poses you do. In short, if you want to defeat insomnia, you can't just do downward dog and call it a day.
What poses should you do instead? These 5 moves can help you fall into a deep slumber in no time flat:
1) Standing Forward Fold
This is a great pose to start your bedtime yoga practice because it helps ease tension throughout your body and loosen up your mind. It also relieves tension in the hips, calves, and hamstrings.
- Stand with your feet together. Bend your knees slightly.
- Exhale and bend forward from the hip joints, not the lower back.
- Slowly bend forward and draw out the front torso. Place your hands on the ground in front of you or locked behind your calves.
- Inhale and extend your chest to lengthen your spine, extending the crown of your head toward the ground.
- Press your legs straight. Exhale, keeping your legs straight, and release your shoulders by slightly drawing them back.
- To release this pose, exhale while slowly rolling your back up into a standing position. Stand as straight as possible with your head high, take a few deep breaths.
The emphasis is on lengthening the front torso as you move further into the position.
2) Spinal Twist
The spinal twist helps ease lower back pain, release neck tension, and improve circulation. This position also helps with digestion and stomach pain.
- From a seated position with knees bent, fold one knee out towards the ground and foot coming across.
- Put a little pressure on the bent knee to press up against the floor.
- Keep both shoulders squared.
- Bring the opposite leg across with knee bent up and foot planted on the other side of your bent leg.
- Extend the opposite hand for support and bring your gaze to the same size, rotating your upper torso.
For a deeper stretch, straighten the grounded leg.
3) Reclining Bound Angle Pose
This pose rotates the hips and helps build flexibility and range of motion. If you add props and a bolster to recline into and extend your back, you add a gentle heart opening element to it as well.
- Begin seated your legs extended in front of you on the mat. Bend your knees and press the soles of your feet together. Let your knees drop open to both sides.
- Relax your shoulders away from your ears and allow your back and body to recline more deeply into the mat. Stay in the pose anywhere from one to five minutes, depending on your level of comfort.
- Support your head and neck on a blanket if needed.
- To release this pose, take the palms of the hands on the outer thighs to gently fold the legs together, and bring the soles of the feet flat down on the mat.
4) Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose
This is both a restorative and active pose that helps relax the mind and ease tension in the thighs and legs. It creates more awareness in the breath as well. To get the most out of this pose, use a yoga strap to really open things up.
- Lying comfortably on your back, extend your legs straight down on the mat.
- Exhale to bend one knee to your chest and hook onto the toes of your foot with the fingers of your same hand. If this is too much, loop a strap around the ball of your right foot and hold on to the ends of the strap with each hand.
- Exhaling, reach your heel to straighten your knee, extending your heel to the ceiling. Pull your foot to keep it flexed and keep your buttocks equally balanced on the floor.
- Keep your leg fully extended and hold for 5 deep breaths.
- For a deeper stretch, slightly rotate your foot and extend your leg outward to the side.
- Exhale as you draw your knee into your chest and let go of the strap. Then, release your leg completely.
5) Corpse Pose
This is a great pose to end your bedtime practice because it gives you a chance to chill out, relax, and decompress. Spending some time here after your yoga sequence will pretty much guarantee a good night's sleep.
- Place a bolster or a stack of folded blankets vertically on your mat and another folded blanket where your head will rest.
- Extend your legs and relax your arms out on each side with your palms facing up.
- Close your eyes, lie completely still and become fully aware of the present moment.
- Allow your mind to settle, before bringing your awareness even deeper into your innermost and highest state of consciousness.
- Become aware of your body, stay focused on the stillness of the moment, and stay here for at least 5 minutes.
One Last Thing
Yoga is a powerful tool in the fight against insomnia. And, to make it even more effective, consider the following tips:
- Shut off all electronics before you begin practicing
- Have the yoga wear that's not too loose or too tight. This makes sure that your mind stays focussed on your practice instead of discomfort caused by restrictive or bunched up clothes.
- Pay attention to your breath as you move through each pose
- Remember that worrying about the things you can't control is pointless
There are few things better than a good night's sleep. And, if you suffer from insomnia, experiencing this joy can seem like a pipe dream. But, not anymore. The evening yoga tips above can help you sleep like a baby — especially if counting sheep or drinking chamomile tea hasn't been doing the trick.
Here's to a good night sleep! Namaste.
About the Author:Emily Adams is a marketing specialist at YogiWear. With her main focus on development and implementation of marketing ideas, her primary talking points are yoga life, benefits of yoga, the yogi lifestyle and yoga wear.