Yoga for Sleep
Yoga for Sleep
With Yoga Therapist Angela Keen
Gentle evening stretching helps you to disconnect from the day, preparing the mind and body for a good night’s sleep by calming the nervous system and releasing built up tensions.
1. Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
Benefits - calms the mind, relieves stress and anxiety.
Sit a comfortable position, lengthen your spine, close your eyes. Bring your left thumb and index finger together, rest the back of the hand onto the left knee. Tuck your right index and middle fingers into your palm. Close your right nostril with your right thumb and exhale completely. Inhale though your left nostril, close your left nostril with right ring finger. Release your right thumb and exhale though your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril, close your right nostril with your right thumb, release your right ring finger and exhale through left nostril. This is one round. Repeat three rounds.
2. Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Benefits – stretches hips and shoulders, relieves back tension.
Sit with legs outstretched, bend left leg and place left foot flat to floor outside of right knee. Bend right leg and bring right heel close to left buttock. Place left fingetips behind hips, push into floor to lengthen spine. Reach right arm up with an inhale, bend right arm and press elbow to outside left knee on an exhale. Twist to left, gaze over left shoulder, hold for three deep breaths, repeat to other side.
3. Extended Child’s Pose (Utthita Balasana)
Benefits – stretches hips and back, calms the mind.
Sit on your heels, bring your feet together, knee ship width apart. Bend forward with an exhale, rest torso between thighs, relax tailbone toward your feet. Reach your arms forward, spread fingers, press palms into floor, rest forehead on floor, hold for five deep breaths.
4. Pavanmuktasana (Wind Release Pose)
Benefits – stretches spine, relieves lower back ache, aids digestion.
Lie on your back with your legs together. Bend your right with an exhale, interlace your fingers around your shin and hug knee to chest, hold for three deep breaths, repeat to other side.
5. Sucirandhrasana (Reclined Eye of the Needle Pose)
Benefits – stretches hips and back, relieves stress and anxiety.
Lie on your back. Bend your knees and place yourfeet flat to the floor. Flex your right foot, bring your right ankle to your outer left thigh, just below the knee. Thread your right arm through your legs. Interlace your fingers around your left thigh. Gently pull your left thigh toward your torso with an exhale, hold for three deep breaths, repeat to other side.
6. Jathara Parivartanasana (Revolved Abdomen Pose)
Benefits – stretches the back and glutes, improves digestion, calms the mind and relieves stress and anxiety.
Lie on your back. Stretch your arms out at shoulder height, palms down. Lift both legs, bend knees so that shins are parallel with the floor. Lower the knees over to the right on and exhale, gaze towards the left hand, hold for five deep breaths, repeat to other side.
Finish in Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Benefits – often called the most important pose, Savasana gives our mind and body the chanceto integrate the benefits of all the poses practiced. It is the time for the body to completely relax and come into a meditative state.
Lie on your back. Bring your feet wide and let them relax. Bring your arms a couple of inches away from your torso, palms up. Make any minor adjustments needed to be comfortable. Close your eyes, and cover with your bamboo sleep mask, focus on the natural rhythm of your breath, find stillness, hold for 5-10 minutes.