Yoga isn’t just beneficial for improving overall flexibility and strength, it can help you sleep better—and might be beneficial to suffers from insomnia.
When people who have insomnia perform yoga on a daily basis, they sleep for longer, and fall asleep more readily. This claim comes from the US Sleep Foundation.
However, if you want to work yoga into your bedtime routine, it’s important to do the right kind. Some types of yoga can energise the body and wake us up, while other postures can be more conducive to drowsiness. Energising routines include sun salutations, strong back bends and vinyasa flow.
Sitting or lying stretches are good, as are inversions such as legs up the wall, especially if you hold for minutes and focus on breathing. Lying butterfly, in which you lie on the ground on your back and press the bottoms of the feet together, is also restful.
Supta padangusthasana, which we practised in class this week, is a very soothing way to end your practice. Lying on your back, loop a belt around one foot and straighten the leg up to the ceiling. Extend the other leg along the floor. Repeat on the other side.
Try an extended puppy. Come onto all fours. Keeping your hips stacked over your knees, come onto your fingertips and walk them forward. Keep your elbows lifted, as you relax your chest and forehead down. If you wish, you can gently massage your forehead from left to right to ease facial tension. Hold for a minute, then release, bringing your hips back to your heels for child’s pose.
The sketches below are a reminder of some of this week’s class (not all of you did the sun salutations). The leg and hip stretches are good to do after a warm up and some standing yoga. They are also helpful for relaxing at the end of the day.
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