Prescription-free, happy sleep fixes, thanks to yoga!
Troubled by disrupted, erratic sleeping patterns? Restless during the night? Relax, you may not be suffering from full-fledged insomnia. Minor sleep troubles are common and the fix may be easier than you imagine. While sleep-inducing medications are always an option, many have negative effects in the long run. Instead, try some of these easy-to-do yoga poses for healthy sleep with only healthy side effects.
- Reclined butterfly. Place a pillow and lie on your back on top of it. Bring together your soles and let your knees gently fall to the side. Stretch your arms away from the body with palms open and facing the ceiling. Your hips should be off the pillow; support only your spine on it.
- Pigeon pose. Get down on all your fours and place your right knee right behind your right wrist. Angle your right foot towards the left. Stretch your left leg back and place a pillow on the left of your right leg in front of you. Now lay your belly and chest on the pillow and relax your arms on either side. Breathe deeply for a few seconds and switch legs.
- Recline big toe hold. Lie on your back and grab your leg (any part that you can comfortably reach – knee, ankle or big toe if you can) and extend it towards the ceiling. Breathing deeply, slowly bring the leg as close as you can.
- Plow pose. This is a more challenging pose. Lie on your back and tightening your abdominal muscles, lift your legs above you. Slowly bring your legs down above you until your toes reach the floor above your head. Clasp your hands under your back. You can also do this without your toes reaching the floor. Both your legs and arms should be straight and not bent at the knee of the elbow.
- Cobra pose. Lie on your stomach and lift your face and chest while resting on your palms. Your elbows should be close to your body, just beside your ribs. Inhale as you rise, lifting as much of your body above the navel as you can.
- Supported inversion pose. Lie on your back perpendicular to a wall with your feet resting on the wall and your hips as close as possible to the edge of the floor. Slowly stretch your legs along the wall and slide your hips towards the wall until your entire legs are in contact with the wall. Closing your eyes, take deep breaths.
- Reclined spinal twist pose. Lie on your back and tuck your right knee above your chest and then cross it on the left side of your body. This twisting stretch relaxes the spine. Stretch your arms on either side and hold the position for 3 breaths, and then switch to the left knee in the same way.
- Seated heart opener pose. Kneel on the floor and put your palms on the floor behind you, fingers splayed away from your body. Inhale and stretch your spine. Arch your back, lower your head back and lean backwards during exhaling.
- Cross legged bend pose. Sit in the Padmasana pose or the lotus position and gently roll forward on your hips. Reach forward with your hands straight out in front of you on the yoga mat and your head tucked down between the shoulders. Hold this pose for a few deep breaths.
- Meditation pose. A short spell of meditation is great for bringing your mind and body at peace, and ready for sleep. Sit on your bed in a cross legged position, close your eyes and breathe deeply for a few minutes.
The next time you toss and turn in bed, take a few minutes off the struggle and try these yoga postures. You will be surprised to see how easily you drift into sleep. Practicing these yoga postures will keep your mind at peace and allow you to slip into deep slumber with a whole lot of sweet dreams…