Yoga has become one of the most popular fitness routines today. Although the exercise aspect of yoga is beneficial, the philosophy and spirituality behind yoga underlies the ancient history of the practice.
Physically, yoga increases flexibility, strength, balance, stamina and body alignment. Mentally, it improves self confidence, creates body awareness, reduces stress, promotes relaxation and helps you get a better sleep.
If you would like to delve more into the world of sleep, take our Sleep Study Quiz here.
Here are five poses (asanas) you may want to incorporate into your daily routine that will help you relax and sleep better. Try one or more before bedtime to see the difference!
Photo Credit: yoga journal
Kneel on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulder and your knees hip width apart. Center your head and look down at the floor. As you exhale slowly arch your back towards the ceiling and pull your shoulder blades back. Release your head towards the floor but don’t force your chin to your chest. Inhale coming back to your original position. Repeat three times to help your mind relax and to improve digestion and circulation.
Read more here: Cat Pose
Photo Credit: Yoga Basics
This is a great pose for stress reduction. Here’s what to do:
- Begin on your hands and knees.
- Spread your knees wide apart and rest your buttocks on your heels. Your arms can go overhead or beside your body.
- Breathe deeply pressing your belly against your thighs and hold for 4-12 breaths.
- To release, place your palms under your shoulders and inhale to a seated position.
Read more here: Child’s Pose
Uttanasana for Insomnia
Photo Credit: yoga journal / Rick Cummings
This pose is a great stretch for your hamstrings, and ultimately great for your mind and calming anxiety. Stand on the floor with your hands beside you. Exhaling, bend down from the hips keeping your knees straight. Put your hands beside your feet and press your palms against the floor...or as far as you can go. With your elbows outside of your calves, relax into the pose.
Read more here: Uttanasana Pose
Upside Down Relaxation
Photo Credit: Fort Lauderdale Daily
Sit with your buttocks about six inches away from a wall. Extend your legs up against the wall. Rest your arms by your sides with your palms facing up and breathe gently. Feel the stretch in the back of your legs and relax into the stretch.
Read more here: Legs Up the Wall Pose
The Sphinx Pose
Photo Credit: Yoga Basics
To open your chest and strengthen your core, this pose helps to align the spine. Lie on your stomach with forearms on the floor, elbows under the shoulders, chin on the floor and legs together. Press your forearms into the floor, inhale and lift your head and chest off the floor, Keep your elbows close to your sides, drop your shoulder and press your chest forward. Draw your chin in towards the back of your neck and hold for 2-6 breaths. Slowly lower your chest and head to the floor. Turn your head to one side and relax with your arms alongside your body.
Read more here: Sphinx Pose
If you are utilizing these yoga poses and still find you’re having trouble sleeping, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Take our quiz below to find out.