Archive for June, 2016

Yoga for Insomnia

In today’s world, life’s pressures can leave us feeling scattered, wound up and anxious.  Some days it can be a real challenge to shift into relaxation mode.  Coupled with breath work, the following restorative yoga poses can help us transition from a busy day into a restful evening.

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Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
While in this pose, we can distance ourselves from our stressors and quite literally “turn inward”.  This pose calms and soothes the spinal nerves.  It also stretches that hamstrings and the muscles along the spine, which can provide relief from back pain.

How to: Stand on both feet hinge forward at the hips, bringing hands to the floor, blocks, your shins, or dangle holding opposite elbows.  To make this pose extra restorative, bend the knees enough to rest your ribs on your thighs.  You could also do this with a pillow between your belly and your thighs.

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Prone Twist
This pose relieves tension through the spine.  The support of a bolster encourages additional relaxation.

How to: Sit on the floor with your feet off to one side and the knees staggered.  Twist away from the feet and fold onto a bolster, or a stack of pillows.

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Reclined Butterfly (Supta Baddha Konasana)
This pose gently stretches the inner thighs, enhancing circulation to the abdominal organs.  The gentle chest stretch allows us to breathe easier.

How to: Set a bolster or a stack of pillows behind you.  Lie back onto the bolster. (note: make sure your head is higher than your heart.  Backbends can be energizing rather than calming.)  Allow the soles of the feet to press together and the knees to fall open.  For additional support, place blocks outside the knees or thighs.

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Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This grounding posture gently opens the hips and calms the central nervous system.

How to: Start on all fours.  Let your hips sink back toward your heels.  The knees could be together, or spread apart.  Allow your forehead to rest on the floor, a block or the backs of your hands.  The arms can extend overhead, or drape down by your sides.

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Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)
My personal favorite – this pose is deeply relaxing.  It feels great for overused legs and can ease anxiety and stress.

How to: Sit with one hip against the wall.  “cartwheel” the legs up the wall and lie on your back.  Place the feet on the wall to lift your hips and slide a prop (block, bolster, pillow, etc.) underneath your sacrum.  You may need to wiggle around a bit to get comfortable.

Sweet dreams 🙂