Thanks so much to our friends over at Mind Body Green for providing us with this amazing article. The following was written by Michael Taylor from Strala Yoga here in NYC – enjoy, and test them out tonight!
Sleeping is something many of us battle with. Whether it’s work stress, personal stress, or a mind that seems like it won’t shut off, our brain can often get the best of us. For me personally, a combination of late-night reading, some meditation, and a couple basic and easy yoga poses seem to do the trick. Michael Taylor from Strala Yoga provides the how-to, tips, and benefits on these four yoga poses, all of which you can do in bed, and that can help you sleep better.
1. Seated Two Leg Forward Bend: Sit with your legs out straight and together. Bend your knees as much as needed to make a forward lean possible, then lean forward until you feel some resistance in the backs of your legs, gently holding your hands around your calves, ankles or feet. Take several breaths to come forward in this way, relaxing on your exhales. This pose is a great leg opener and also helps develop patience.
2. Pigeon Pose: Lift your front foot over so the ankle is behind your opposite wrist. Lower your back knee to the ground (or bed), and using your hands for support at the front of your mat/bed/ground, lower your front knee behind your wrist. Walk your hands forward and come on to your forearms, or extend your arms and body in front of you. Before coming forward, breathe and press into your hands to take some weight out of your hips. Take your time coming forward, and keep the front of your body long and open.
3. Reclining Knee to Shoulder: Lie down flat on your back. Lift one knee and bend it toward your shoulder, using your arms to gently pull the knee closer to your body. Your opposite leg can remain straight, or be slightly bent. Remember it’s important not to use a lot of effort as you pull your knee toward you. This is one of my favorite yoga poses for opening up the lower back.
4. Reclining Eagle Twist: If you’re on your back, lift both of your knees up, bringing your feet right behind your hips. Keeping one foot on the ground (or bed), lift your other foot and wrap that leg over and around your resting leg. Hook the foot of your lifted leg behind the calf of the resting leg. Slowly lower your knees to the side of your resting leg, keeping your thighs close to your chest. Reach your arms out perpendicular to your body, with both shoulders resting on the floor. This pose is also great for circulation.
These four yoga poses always seem to help me when I have trouble sleeping, but there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to yoga so it’s important to always do what your own body best responds to. Sweet dreams.
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