The Best Yoga Routine for a Great Sleep
Yoga is a very helpful practice to add to your nighttime routine. Some poses help to activate the part of your body (the parasympathetic nervous system) that alerts the brain that it is time for rest. If you are not sure how to start, there are many videos on YouTube to follow along with. If you would rather do it on your own, at your own pace, try some of these poses.
*Ocean Breathing (ujjayi breathing) is a special type of deep breathing which furthers the relaxation. To do this, slowly breathe in and out through your nose. When breathing out, try to sound like a wave crashing. A tip to do this is to try to make the sound “ha” while keeping your mouth closed.
**Keep in mind, everyone’s flexibility is different. Don’t push yourself beyond your comfort level.
You can start in Tabletop position – on hands and knees with a flat back. Cat-Cow is a good way to start some small movements to stretch the back and neck. (Cat=arch your back, head down. Cow=drop your belly, head up)
Next, move down to Child’s pose. Widen the gap between your knees a little bit and bring your forehead down to the floor. You can bring your arms by your side or stretch them straight out.
From there, switch to your back, laying flat. Bring one knee up to your chest. After a couple of breaths, bring that knee across your body so you are in a twist. Extend the opposite arm and turn your gaze toward it. After a few breaths, switch legs.
While still on your back, pull your legs up so you can hold your feet in your hands. This Happy Baby pose allows for some movement – rock a bit or kick your legs slowly.
You may need to get up and move for this one – find an open bit of wall space. Lay down again, but close enough to the wall so your legs can rest against it – make your body an “L” shape. Stay here as long as you’d like – this pose has claims of significantly reducing anxiety on its own. If it feels better, try a rolled up blanket or small pillow under your lower back.
Finally, and depending on how tired you are at this point do this last position in bed, we come to our Savasana. Lay flat on your back and let your arms and legs relax and slightly spread out. Feet fall to the side, palms up and open. Let your eyes close, your forehead and mouth relax. Let all tension out of your body. This is often the end of a yoga session, and is where we’ll end this as well.