A consistent lack of quality sleep can lead to a number of different health issues, making it important to find a natural solution to this as soon as possible. Yoga is known for being able to combat insomnia, as it soothes the mind and the body, increasing your level of relaxation. While some yoga poses are best for energizing the body, these asanas should be used in a sequence that you practice before bed each night, because doing so will give you a deep and restful sleep.
Relaxed Down Dog
The Relaxed Down Dog is an easier version of the Downward Facing Dog, making it ideal for the night time. Simply enter into the downward facing dog with your hands and feet, but bend your knees and lift your heels off the mat. This will allow your spine to arch, as you press your navel towards your thighs, which targets the back instead of the hamstrings, releasing all of the tension that has built up over the day.
Seated Forward Bend
The Seated Forward Bend can either be used to warm up the hamstrings, or, by ensuring that you do not perform this pose to intensely, can also help to relax them, as well as release tension from a distracted mind. While sitting down, extend your legs in front of you, keeping your knees slightly bent, and reach for your feet after exhaling. The key here is to keep your back as flat as possible, even if this means that you have to bend your knees more, as you do not want to be stretching your hamstrings too much. Slowly round your back over your legs, staying in this position for a few breaths while you feel a stretch along your spine.
Legs Up the Wall
The Legs Up the Wall pose is what many modern yogis would refer to as a cure-all pose, and is usually practiced at the end of a sequence. Place a folded blanket against a wall and sit next to it, before lying down on your back, bending your knees, and placing your feet on the wall. Move your lower back as close to the wall as possible, and then move your feet so that they are pointing straight up, with your heels resting against the wall for support. With your arms either by your side or by your head, the latter of which will give your shoulders an extra stress, close your eyes and allow your body to relax, feeling the force of gravity pull you down. Hold this for 30 seconds, before rolling onto one side with your knees bent, resting in this fetal position for a minute before moving.
Also known as the Corpse Pose, Shavasana is the perfect pose to end your bedtime yoga sequence with, as it puts your body into the ideal state for a restful sleep. Simply lie on your back and close your eyes, with your arms extended slightly outwards and your palms facing up. Allow your feet to fall open, with your toes pointing outwards, and shrug your shoulders until you can feel them relax downwards. Lengthen your spine and relax your lower back, finding a comfortable position in which you can lie for about ten minutes. If you do not have this much time at the end of your routine, hold this pose until your heart rate has slowed down, and your breathing is back to its natural rhythm.
Yoga is designed to release the stress and tension from the parts of your body that usually experience a severe build up of it, and this is often what contributes to disturbed sleep. If you have never thought about using yoga before to help boost the quality of your sleep, give this short sequence a go, and you are likely to be pleasantly surprised when you wake up feeling refreshed and revitalized.