Finding it difficult to fall asleep? There could be a lot of things keeping you up late. Stress from work… worries… overthinking! Even fatigue! Whatever it is, you need to find a way to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation can put you at a very high risk of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
On your stomach : To Sleep Quickly
Remember yoga classes where you were overjoyed to hear the instructor tell you to lie down? It’s a different feeling to be lying down in the middle of a workout. Pure calmness and relaxation! This is exactly what you will gain out of the ‘on your stomach’ pose. Lots of relaxation that will help you get a good night’s sleep. Besides this, yoga poses done while lying on the stomach have several other benefits. They tone your belly, reduce lower back pain, and massage your internal organs for better functioning. It even works your upper and lower body AND keeps you active. There are several poses you can do lying on your stomach. Here are the two best ones for ultimate relaxation.
Lie on a pillow
Lie on a pillow so it supports your stomach. Now lock your fingers behind your back. As you take a deep breath, bend your back and toes. You should aim to reach your heels with your hands. Don’t worry if you can’t do it the first time around. With consistency overtime, you’ll definitely be able to grab your heels. It is all about flexibility! Now, slowly go down and exhale. You just completed one rep. Don’t unlock your fingers before you complete 10 such reps.
There is another similar pose- the Sphinx- to help you relax your spine and strengthen your core muscles. For this, you need to lie down on your stomach with your legs extended straight back. Rotate your thighs inward while keeping the tailbone long. Stack your shoulders above your elbows, and forearms on the floor parallel to each other. Your palms should be facing downwards. As you take a deep breath in, lift your upper torso and chest away from the floor. This would be a very gentle backbend without putting any pressure on your back and chest muscles. Hold this pose for 15 seconds. Exhale and return to your original position. Do 5 to 10 more reps.
Legs up the wall : To Sleep Quickly
That’s right, putting your feet up can put you to sleep. This is a restorative Yoga pose that helps you relax. You can also change it according to your comfort level.
Here’s how to do it
Lie down with a cushion, or a folded blanket under your hips. Don’t skip this! You need to have your hips at a higher position to do this pose correctly. It will give you higher support and greater flexibility. Get yourself comfortable. Now bend your knees as far as you can. Don’t force yourself. Swing your legs up against the wall while you’re lying flat on your back. Your hips would be against the wall. That’s the best way. If you’re uncomfortable, place your hips just slightly away from the wall. Your arms should be in a comfortable position too. Stay in this pose for 15 to 20 minutes. Bring your legs down gently by pushing yourself away from the wall. Relax your back for a few moments. Then as you draw your knees into your chest, roll onto your right side. Now get back to your normal upright position.
Do you like doing this? There’s something else you can try. While you’re relaxing with your legs up against the wall, try doing breathing exercises. Diaphragmatic breathing is great to begin with. You will feel a lot more relaxed and stress free. It will help you get a better sleep.
Feet together : To Sleep Quickly
Have you ever had aching legs after a long day? Try folding them together and see how relieving it feels. A feet together yoga pose gives you a sensation far greater than this. It’s a restorative posture that can be modified to increase or decrease hip resistance. It will help you relax and unwind after a long day at work.
Here’s how to do it
Stand straight first. As you exhale, lower your back torso towards the floor. Your hands should be leaning first so that you can maintain your body balance. You should now lean back on your forearms. Use your hands to spread the back of your pelvis. You can now release your upper hips and lower back through your tailbone. Gently bring your torso all the way to the floor. If you want, you can support your neck and head with a blanket roll. Grip your topmost thighs. Gently rotate your inner thighs externally. Press your outer thighs towards the floor away from the sides of your torso.
Next, widen your outer knees away from your hips. Relax your arms on the floor with palms facing up. Your arms should be angled at 45 degrees from the sides of your torso. Now as you lie on your back with feet connected together and knees spread towards the sides, breathe deeply. Practice inhaling and exhaling as if you’re breathing through your diaphragm. Feel its movements with each breath. Stay in this position for 5 to 10 minutes.
Legs at a wide angle
Does this scare you? As difficult as it sounds, you’ll be surprised how relaxing and easy it is to do. You can feel all the tension in your lower spine and thighs go away. It’s pretty rewarding. Don’t worry, you won’t need to go all ninja in your first attempt. Just do it as long as you can. Over time, doing the 180 degree split will be a cake walk. Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, your body doesn’t just gain flexibility within seconds, consistency is the key my friend!
Here’s how you do it
You need to get in a staff pose first. For this, sit with your legs extended in front of you. Flex both feet while engaging your thigh muscles. Your heels should be roots, knees not bent, and shoulders directly on top of the hips. Arms straight with palms lying flat on the floor. Lengthen your spine. You are now in the staff pose. Inhale and bring your legs wide apart, as far as you can. You should be feeling the stretch in your thighs while still maintaining a straight spine. Hold the pose.
Your knees and toes should be pointing towards the ceiling. Flex your feet and lengthen your spine. Now as you bend from the hips, gently place your hands on the floor between your legs. Exhale as you walk your hands forwards. Maintain this forward bend as far as you can without losing your balance. Hold the pose for 15 to 20 seconds. Straighten up and return to your original position.
On your back : To Sleep Quickly
This has to be my absolute favorite pose. The ultimate relaxer. And the twist is you get to do nothing. Get on your back, with your head resting gently on a pillow. Spread your legs slightly, and keep your hands at your sides. Palms should be facing up. Your head and spine should be in a straight line. Take 3 deep breaths. Feel the air going in through your nostrils and the diaphragm pushing outward. Exhale through your nose and feel the diaphragm closing in. Now take 4 ordinary breaths. Feeling sleepy already, aren’t you?
Turns while lying : To Sleep Quickly
If lying on your back is too simple for you, here’s something that will definitely put you to sleep. It relieves tension from your core muscles and spine. During this pose, your body and mind are quite peaceful. You will feel liberated from all the stress you collected throughout the day. This pose is very easy to pull off. Simply lie on your back with your head resting on a pillow. Bring your knees together and bend them. Gently tilt your legs towards your right side, while holding them with your hands. Hold this position for 2 minutes. Return to the neutral position and repeat the same procedure with your left side. You will fall asleep in no time!
Yoga poses and exercises aren’t just to relax you or make you more flexible. You can do a lot more than just that. Like lose weight or increase your height. Have a better sleep.