If you find yourself counting sheep night after night to no avail, it can be frustrating. We are all aware that calming your mind and settling into a relaxing place is important to ensure a restful night’s sleep. With 1/3 of adults not getting enough sleep as reported by the CDC, many are resorting to sleep aids. It’s clear that many of us need to take a look at our nightly routines and make necessary changes to help us power down for the day.
The question is what if chamomile tea and a hot bath just aren’t cutting it? Before you reach for any supplements, you might want to consider incorporating some of these yoga poses into your sleep ritual as a way to unwind and to help get some solid zzz’s. These poses help calm your nervous system after a long day and prepare the body for rest. Focusing on the breath during these poses is vital and will help your mind and body relax. All you need is a mat, your favorite pair of yoga pants & a blanket is optional but recommended. Hold each pose for two minutes or more if you feel comfortable. Try one or all of these tonight and be prepared to wake up well rested and energized!
Dead Hang (Uttanasana)
This pose is a great one to start with because you are relaxing your entire body and letting it all hang loose. Start by standing up with your feet hip width apart. Hinge at the hip and fold forward, knees slightly bent. As your upper body moves towards the ground, try grazing your fingertips but don’t force it. Only reach as far as your body wants to go. The sole purpose of this pose is to maintain a relaxed position, letting your body fall naturally. To come out of the pose, slowly roll up to standing, keeping the breath slow and controlled. Let you head hang and come up last to avoid getting dizzy. Avoid this pose if you have high blood pressure.
Child’s pose is a restorative pose, perfect for everyone. Start in a seated position, sitting directly on your heels. Keep your hips back and fold forward as your chest rests on the ground. Stretch your arms straight out in front of you, keeping your palms planted in the floor as you rest your head on your forearms. Breathe in through your nose for 3 seconds, followed by an exhale for 3 seconds.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
This final pose that is common in yoga practice is everyone’s favorite for a reason. This signals the body to relax and let every ounce of tension fade away as you collapse into the floor. Simply lie on your back and let your arms rest at your sides and your feet can flop open to whatever position is most comfortable for you. If you notice your mind beginning to drift, bring your focus back to the breath as you take in slow inhales followed by long exhales. This pose is sure to get you sleepy and you’ll be ready for bed immediately.