Sunday, July 6, 2014

5 Yoga Poses For Better Sleep

Have trouble falling asleep at night? Yoga has been proven to increase relaxation and to help support the chemicals in your brain that are responsible for helping you fall into a deeper slumber.

Try these 5 yoga poses to help you unwind from a stressful day!

1. Child's Pose
  • Kneel on your mat with your knees hips-width distance apart and your big toes touching behind you. Take a deep breath in and, as you exhale, lay your torso over your thighs. Try to lengthen your neck and spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders.
  • Rest your arms beside your legs, with palms facing up, or try extending your arms out in front of you.
  • Stay here for 10 breaths.

2. Plow Pose
  • Lie on your back and bring your legs straight up in the air towards the ceiling.
  • Bring your arms alongside your body with your palms down.
  • Press into your hands and lift your legs over your head.
  • If your legs do not touch the ground behind you, bring your hands to your back for support.
  • If your feet do hit the ground, then do what you did in Bridge pose and clasp your hands together, trying to roll your shoulder blades towards one another.

3. Legs Up the Wall
  • Sit down as close as you can to the wall, next to the blanket. Lie down on your back, place your feet on the wall with your knees bent, and scoot your body over so that your bottom and lower back are on the blanket.
  • Sit with your bottom touching the wall, and then place your feet straight up, resting your heels on the wall. You can keep your arms by your sides, or by your head (this position will stretch your shoulders).
  • Close you eyes and allow your entire body to relax, feeling gravity pulling you down as the wall and blanket support you.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, then roll your body over to one side with your knees bent, and rest your head on the inside of your arm, staying like this in fetal position for a minute or so. Then you can roll up onto your knees and come to stand up.

4. Downward Dog
  • Come to your hands and knees with the wrists underneath the shoulders and the knees underneath the hips.
  • Curl the toes under and push back raising the hips and straightening the legs. Spread the fingers and ground down from the forearms into the fingertips.
  • Outwardly rotate the upper arms broadening the collarbones. Let the head hang, move the shoulder blades away from the ears towards the hips.
  • Engage the quadriceps strongly to take the weight off the arms, making this a resting pose.
  • Rotate the thighs inward, keep the tail high and sink your heels towards the floor.

5. Upward Facing Dog

  • Lie on your stomach with the tops of your feet on the floor. Place your hands beside your rib cage with fingers spread wide, finger tips below the line of the chest.
  • Press into your hands, feeling the ball joints of your fingers (under the knuckles) in contact with the mat. Squeeze your elbows by your side, roll the shoulders onto the back body, and reach out through the top of your head.
  • Draw your low belly in towards the spine, and create a slight inward rotation of the thighs, and press the toenails into the mat.
  • On an inhale, press into your palms, imagining you are sliding your body along the earth. Lift your torso and hips off the mat, so that it is only the tops of your feet and your palms are in contact with the earth.
  • Tuck your chin in slightly, lengthening the top of your neck near the skull, and reach out through the top of your head but keep your gaze down your nose.
  • Imagine the back bend coming from your heart centre, sending the sternum forward, while keeping the drawing in of the low belly.

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