9 Yoga Poses To Help You Sleep | sheerluxe.com

9 Yoga Poses To Help You Sleep

Trouble drifting off at night? If you find yourself forever counting sheep long after you've got into bed, yoga could be the answer. Here, SheerLuxe contributor Jessica Latapie details the yoga moves that could help stop another restless night. 

As the weather gets warmer, do you find yourself tossing and turning at night? Or are you disturbed by your next deadline and can’t quite seem to wind down? The Royal Society for Public Health published a paper this year outlining that 54% of people in the UK have felt stressed from poor sleep. It goes on to highlight that sleep has a pivotal role in health and well-being. Some examples include:

  • Decreasing the risk of serious illnesses such as cancer

  • Improving immunity in general

  • Decreasing the symptoms of depression and anxiety

  • Improving mental performance

  • Improving metabolism

A study conducted by Harvard Medical School revealed yoga helped a number of people suffering from severe insomnia, and while your case may not be that extreme, it’s worth considering the the relaxing and restorative effects of this age-old practice.

With the help of London-based yoga teacher Chloe Faulkner, we’ve rounded up a restorative yoga sequence of nine poses to help you sail off into some much needed, and good quality, shut-eye.  

 

1. SUPPORTED BALASANA (CHILD'S POSE)

BENEFITS

  • Calms the brain
  • Relieves stress and fatigue

  • Aids digestion

  • Stretches hips, thighs and ankles

 
Chloe says: “This pose resembles a fetal position, offering physical, mental and emotional relief. Placing your forehead to the ground has a calming effect on the brain so if you have lots of thoughts running through your head, it’s a great way to calm things down after a busy day.”
 
How to:
1. Kneel on a yoga mat, blanket or your bed with your toes together and your knees hip width.

2. Take a pillow to the front of your torso then lean over it until your forehead touches the ground between your knees.

3. Let your arm rest down the sides of your torso with your palms facing upwards and take ten long, deep breaths into the back of your body.

*Avoid practising this pose at home if you have diarrhea, are or think you might be pregnant or have any knee injuries. 

 

 

2. SUPTA PADANGUSTHASANA (RECLINING BIG TOE POSE)

 BENEFITS

  • Restores energy
  • Reduces stress

  • Relieves mild back ache and menstrual discomfort

  • Improves circulation

 
Chloe says: “This pose helps to restore your energy and reduce stress. Your spine, hips, thighs, hamstrings, groin and calf muscles receive a great stretch and this pose can also help to strengthen the muscles around the knee.”
 
HOW TO:

1. Lie on your back with your legs extended, inhale and as you exhale, hug your left knee into your torso, ensuring you push actively through the right foot at the same time.

2. Loop a strap around the arch of your left foot, holding the ends with both hands. As you exhale, push your left leg up to the sky, keeping your hands as high on the strap as you can with your shoulders on the floor.

3. Try to release your left thigh bone into your hip joint, breathing with control.

4. Hold for five breaths, release the leg from the strap mindfully and repeat on the other side.

*Avoid practising this pose at home if you have diarrhea, are or think you might be pregnant or have high blood pressure.

 
 

3. SUPPORTED SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA (RECLINING BOUND ANGLE POSE)

 BENEFITS

  • Calms the nervous system

  • Reduces anxiety and stress

  • Improves digestion

 
Chloe says: “This asana is particularly beneficial to do when anxious or stressed as it turns down the “fight or flight” reactions of the sympathetic nervous system and turns up our parasympathetic nervous system which aids our ability to “rest and digest”. This pose supports our ability to digest, to relax mentally and physically as it lowers our heart rate, promoting calm, rest and a good night’s sleep.”
 
HOW TO:

1. Lie down on your back with a pillow or blanket by both of your sides.

2. Put your feet together and flat to the floor so your knees are lifted and bring your hands to the top of your thighs.

3. Gently guide your bent legs out from your torso so that your knees come to rest on the pillows at your side while your feet are still together.

4. Hold for five breaths before your take your hands to your outer thighs to gently guide them back to the centre. 

*Avoid practising this pose at home if you have severe groin or knee injuries or lower back pain.

 

 

4. SUPPORTED MATSYASANA (FISH POSE WITH LEGS EXTENDED)

 BENEFITS

  • Relieves tension in the neck, throat and shoulders

  • Promotes deep breathing and relaxation

  • Reduces anxiety

 
Chloe says: “Fish pose stretches the muscles between the ribs (intercostal muscles), strengthens your upper back and tones the front of your neck and abdominals. It’s a great chest opener so it is very therapeutic for anyone feeling anxious or stressed.”
 
HOW TO:

1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor, lift your pelvis and put your hands underneath your buttocks, so you’re resting on the back of your hands.

2. Press your forearms and elbows into the floor as you inhale and straighten your legs, keeping them active by pressing out through the heels.

3. You can rest either the back of your head or the crown of your head on the floor.

4. Hold for five breaths, then mindfully and gently release your arms to bring your torso back to the floor.

*Avoid practising this pose at home if you have high or low blood pressure, suffer from mirgraines or have serious lower back or neck injuries. 

 

 

5. ANANDA BALASANA (HAPPY BABY POSE)

 BENEFITS

  • Grounding

  • Calms the mind

  • Relieves mild back pain

 
Chloe says: “This pose lengthens and realigns the spine, and your hips and inner groin will be opened and stretched. It’s a great stress buster as it has a sense of playfulness and surrender which is a great way to calm the mind.”
 
HOW TO:

1. Lie on your back and bring your knees into your torso

2. Grab the outsides of your feet with your hands and open your knees to bring them slightly up towards your armpits, then push your feet into your hands so that your shins are perpendicular to the floor, while flexing through your heels.

3. Rock from side to side for five breaths

 
*Avoid practising this pose without supervision if you are of think you might be pregnant or have a knee or neck injury. 

 

 

6. VIPARITA KARANI (LEGS UP TO THE WALL POSE)

 
BENEFITS:

  • Deeply relaxing

  • Calms the nervous system

 
Chloe says: “By reversing the effects of gravity you are allowing tension to drain from the legs, hips and feet, aiding the movement of any stagnant fluids and relieve tired legs. This asana is calming for the nervous system as it allows the heart to rest.”
 
HOW TO:

1. Lie on your back with your bum facing the wall, placing a pillow underneath your lower back for support

2. Raise your legs up to rest vertically up the wall

3. Hold for ten breaths

4. If your legs start to tingle, bring your feet together into a lotus position up the wall or come out of the pose all together

 
* Avoid practising this pose without supervision if you have glaucoma, have neck or back pain or are menstruating 

 

 

7. SUKHASANA (EASY POSE)

 BENEFITS

  • Reduces anxiety

  • Reduces stress and tiredness

  • Calms the mind

 
Chloe says: “This pose lengthens and stretches the spine, strengthens your back, stretches your ankles and knees and opens your hips.”
 
HOW TO:

1. Fold a blanket and come to a seated position on top of it, sitting close to the edge so that your pelvis slightly tilts.

2. Cross your shins and widen your knees, bringing your hands to your knees for a comfortable seated position.

3. Close your eyes and focus on your inhale and exhale for five breaths

 
* Avoid practising this pose without supervision if you you have any knee injuries.

 

 

8. PARIVRTTA SUKHASANA (TWIST VARIATION)

 BENEFITS

  • Relieves stress

  • Relieves mild lower back ache

  • Improves digestion

 
Chloe says: “This pose stretches the spine, shoulders and hips. By twisting the body you give your organs an internal massage which encourages circulation and improves digestion.” 

HOW TO:

1. Sit in a comfortable crossed leg position

2. Inhale deeply and as you exhale, turn your body to your right, bringing your right hand on to the floor behind you and your left hand, on to your right knee.

3. Inhale for five breaths and repeat on the other side.

 
* Avoid practicing this pose without supervision if you have diarrhea, have a headache, have high or low blood pressure, suffer with insomnia or are menstruating.

 

 

9. SAVASANA (CORPSE POSE)

 BENEFITS

  • Calms the nervous system

  • Relieves stress

Chloe says: “This pose allows the body and the mind to fully release and rest, reaping the benefits of your practice. During savasana the body relaxes, fatigued muscles get to relax and rejuvenate and the mind calms.”

HOW TO:
1. Lie down on your back with your legs slightly wider than your hips and your arms relaxed out to either side.

2. If you feel any pain in your lower back, take a blanket, pillow or bolster underneath your knees to relieve any tension.

3. Take five deep breaths completely relaxing your whole body.

4. Slowly bring movement back through your fingers and toes, then take a full body stretch before rolling over to your side to come up into a seated position… Or simply doze off from here!

* Avoid practicing this pose without supervision if you are or think you could be pregnant. However, you can either raise your head and chest on to a bolster or lie on your left hand side for this pose.

 

About the author: Jessica Latapie is a freelance writer, content editor and copywriter with a background in interiors,  travel, food and health. Jessica has worked with the likes of LivingEtc, Country Homes & Interiors, HouseToHome.co.uk, Hip & Healthy and Yahoo Lifestyle.  For more information visit her website.
 

 

 

Inspiration Credits: AWellTraveledWoman.Tumblr.com , Pure-Serenity-Blog.Tumblr.com

 

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