Everyone experiences trouble sleeping at one time or another. It can be very frustrating, and it can negatively affect your mood and health. If stress is causing your sleep to suffer, yoga is a phenomenal way to help stimulate relaxation. Gentle body positions can soothe your mind and muscles at bedtime and help you beat insomnia. These are some of my favorite poses to do to unwind before getting into bed.
1. DOUBLE PIGEON
Double Pigeon is an easy forward bend pose accessible for all levels—beginners and advanced. If you’re new to yoga, simply cross at the ankles before folding forward. It is a wonderfully relaxing exercise to do before bedtime, especially if you have tightness in your hips and lower back. Feel free to sit on top of a pillow to make the pose even more relaxing.
2. CHILD’S POSE
The ultimate resting position, Child’s Pose helps to calm the mind and relieve tension in the body, especially the back. Allow your torso to fold over your legs with your arms extended out or along your sides. Rest your forehead on the ground or mat and take long, slow, deep breaths.
3. LEGS UP THE WALL
This simple and restorative pose is best performed against a wall. It is one of my favorites for evening relaxation and stress relief, because it helps me unwind and prepare for sleep. Try staying in the pose for as long as ten minutes, with your eyes closed. It is also a nice idea to use a soothing eye pillow to increase the sense of overall relaxation.
4. DOUBLE KNEE RESTORATIVE TWIST
Lie down on your back and hug both knees into your chest. Gently rest both of your knees to the floor on your left side. Extend your right arm out to the right and gaze towards the right (or close your eyes with your head in that direction). Take several deep breaths, relaxing and releasing stress from your body and mind. Then repeat on the other side. Gentle twists help to relieve tension throughout entire spine.
Prepare your body for sleep mode with corpse pose, which helps to release all tension, control, and stress from your body and mind. Place your attention on your body as you unwind after a busy and active day. Let go, let go, and let go some more. By focusing your mind on the present moment only, you take your away from what may be causing stress or restlessness.
Written By Alanna Zabel, star of the Element: Beginner Level Yoga DVD.