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Yoga for Insomnia Part I

Sleep is crucial not only because it allows our body to rest and to recharge, it also helps our body to heal, promotes a happier heart, stabilizes blood sugar and aids with weight management.  Whether your insomnia is caused by anxiety, stress, or any emotional or hormonal issues, below is a couple of fairly simple yoga poses that I hope could bring serenity to your mind and help calm your body mechanisms. 

Try these poses before bed, and with the right breathing, they could help prepare you for a restful sleep.

If you are on any medications or have low or high blood pressure, you may want to consult a doctor or an experienced yoga teacher before these poses.

Standing Forward Bend

  • Breathe in raise your arms and breathe out slowly bend forward from the hips.  Bend your knees slightly to keep your hamstrings happy. 
  • Wrap your hands at the back of your heels or rest your hands on a block or on your shins (never on your knees or any joints)
  • Hold opposite elbows and let gravity slowly stretch your neck, shoulders and head.
  • Stay in this pose for a few breaths or breathe in to lift half way and breathe out to fold forward.  To come out, hands on your hips and slowly lift up with the head lifting up last.

Adjusted forward bend

Benefits:  As you fold forward, it relaxes the upper body, gently tones your abdominal muscles and enhances digestion.  This pose also strengthens the liver and kidneys and their detox functions; stimulates the parasympathetic system to calm the nervous system. 

Legs Up the Wall –my personal favourite because it’s so easy to do and loaded with benefits!

  • Sit with bent knees, turn to one side and move your hips as close to a wall as possible.
  • Lift both legs up and adjust your hips closer to the wall.  Option to use a pillow for your head or pelvis for support.
  • Deepen your breath by expanding your belly then your chest as you breathe in and empty your chest and then belly as you breathe out.
  • Do this pose for five minutes to start and slowly work up to ten.  It is normal for your legs/feet to feel slight tingling sensation.
  • Focus on your breathing and try not to play with your smartphone!

Benefits: Lifting your legs slows down your heart rate and stimulates your relaxation response.  It improves your lower limbs’ circulation if you’ve been sitting/standing for a long time during the day. It reduces lower back tension; your lower back should feel nice and flat as your legs raised and supported.

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