Do you have trouble sleeping? A simple yoga practice – 5 easy-to-do poses that relieve aches and soothe worry and anxiety – might be the answer. After just a week, Russ, a stressed manager in Florida, noticed a quantifiable difference in his sleep which led to calmer days and happier evenings.
This practice works most effectively when practiced after work, in the evening or right before bed and usually takes only 5-10 minutes.
Before you start
Wear loose fitting clothes.
Don’t practice on a full stomach.
Practice in a comfortably warm room.
Always listen to your body; do not push your body too hard.
Follow the adjustments depending on your physical abilities.
Come to hands and knees, wrists under shoulders, knees under hips.
As you inhale, lift your head and eyes, allow the chest to move forward. Draw the shoulder blades together and towards the hips.
On the exhale, head drops, stomach lifts towards spine, back rounds.
Repeat 5 times with the breath.
If your wrists hurt when flat, make fists.
Use a blanket under knees if needed for comfort.
Do the pose in a chair with feet flat on the floor. Simply roll the spine with the breath as directed above.
From hands and knees, open knees to the width of the mat and push back to rest hips on heels, hands outstretched.
Take 3 breaths and allow the spine to lengthen and relax.
On inhale, walk fingers to left; you will feel the stretch in the side under your armpit. Rest here 5-7 breaths.
Repeat on other side.
Use a pillow between the buttocks and heels to support knees.
If you are in a chair, drop the left ear to left shoulder while reaching the heel of your right hand towards the floor. Take 3-5 breaths and repeat to other side.
Side leans and forward bends
Sit tall on the floor, legs crossed (right foot in front). Inhale and lift arms overhead, exhale and lean forward. Allow your hands or arms to rest on the floor, take 3-5 breaths. Sit up.
Inhale and lift your right arm overhead, exhale and lean to the left, hand or arm resting on the floor, take 3-5 breaths.
Repeat on other side, this time with your left foot in front.
Sit in a chair with feet flat on the floor. Follow above instructions.
Lying on your back pull knees to chest, arms open to the sides, shoulders tucked under.
Let both knees drop to the right.
Rest here 5-7 breaths. Repeat to other side.
If you have back concerns, roll onto your right side and then open the left arm backwards, resting your hand on the shoulder.
Use a thick flat pillow or folded blanket under the knees as they twist or under the arm as it reaches back.
Sit in a chair with feet flat on the floor, gently twist first to one side then the other.
Lie on your back, shoulders tucked under, arms 6-12 inches from the sides, palms up. Scan the body to release any clenched muscles, including jaw, eyes, belly and behind your knees.
Allow the mind to follow the breath. When you notice your mind wandering (and it will), gently bring it back to the breath.
Use a pillow or folded blanket under the knees if needed.
Sit in a chair and follow the above directions to the best of your abilities.
Lesley Hobbs is a freelance writer who specializes in health, personal growth, family, and nutrition, as well as a yoga teacher and certified aromatherapist. She loves dogs, hiking and her family, though not necessarily in that order. Her website is www.OpenToAbundance.com