Are you one of those people who find it very difficult to get to sleep? Well you’re not alone Even after hours of tossing around I’d often wake up in the middle of the night & the whole cycle would resume all over again. It was a very rare morning when I woke up feeling properly rested.
Rather than taking sleeping tablets, I started to practice yoga just before I went to bed. By practicing particularly quietening yoga poses combined with deep breathing techniques, I found myself feeling much calmer & more relaxed.
Yoga, by definition encourages us to focus inward & create a connection with our body & our breath. As a result, the chitter chatter of constant thoughts & the overload of nervous energy will gradually begin to subside.
In time as the mind & the body become more peaceful & relaxed then sleep comes more readily.
There are hundreds of yoga asana that can help us to quieten down our nervous systems & our minds. However here are few that are particularly effective at combating insomnia.
Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
Stretch one leg out in front & bend the knee of the other leg & place the sole of your foot against your inner thigh. Take a deep breath in & reach up to the ceiling with both arm framing your face. Lengthen your whole side body then slowly exhale & hinge forwards at the crease of the hips with your belly strongly drawn towards your spine. Try to avoid rounding your back to bring your head to your shins rather look ahead beyond your toes. Avoid or congesting the front of your body as you place your hands on your shins, ankles or toes. Take some long
deep breaths breaths & hold the asana for 30 breaths. Each time your inhale feel as though you’re surfing waves rising up & travelling forward & each time you exhale feel yourself cresting the wave & move a little deeper into the pose. Then repeat
on the other leg.
Seated Forward Bend
Sit with legs together & your back straight. Inhale & raise your arms directly above your head & lengthen through the body from the crown of your head to the tip of your tailbone. As your deeply exhale & your abdominal muscles begin to engage bend from the hip crease. Let your hands rest on your thighs, shins, ankles or feet. Wherever is most comfortable without congesting the body or overly rounding your back. Imagine your tailbone like a long tree monkey tail slipping out behind you & your heart, on each in breath, travelling towards your toes. Hold the forward bend for at least 30 full rounds of your mindful deepest breaths. The aim is to create space both mentally & physically.Then return to sitting up right by slowly curling up through the spine like a kitten being lifted by the scruff of your neck.
Modified Child’s Pose
Kneel down on the bed & lay your belly on your thighs, either cradle your head with your hands or rest your brow on the mattress to place a little pressure on the ‘third eye’. Behind this point is the pineal gland The pineal gland produces melatonin, a serotonin-derived hormonewhich modulates sleep patterns