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Sleep Sensitivity

These Yoga Poses Can Help You Sleep Better

Photos: Courtesy of Morgan Tyler

This is a sequence that tunes into the breath, slows down the mind and allows our bodies to begin to shut off from have to respond and react to different scenarios that our day to day lives can bring about. I’d recommend having a few blankets or pillows nearby for added comfort and support. I also love to diffuse the essential oils lavender and cedarwood while practicing to enhance my experience and prepare my body for sleep. 

Kneeling seated position

Come to the knees with the bum settling on top of the heels. Place your left hand on your heart, and your right hand on your belly. Notice your breath, and recognize the natural rhythm of it. Is it short or long? Deep or shallow? Quiet or audible? Can you direct your inhales into your low belly? Filling it up. Release your exhales through the mouth, maybe even sighing as the breath leaves your body. Continue for 5-10 breaths. Finish by mentally taking note of three things you are thankful for that day. This can be done cross-legged in a comfortable seat, too.

Child’s pose

From your seated position, move into a wide or narrow child’s pose, whichever your body prefers. Your arms can be out in front or at your side. You can have your forehead against the floor, or your cheek on the ground. I personally love to go into a wide-legged child’s pose and use a few pillows underneath my torso for support and one under my head, with my arms cradling around it. This pose is meant to bring you a sense of safety and grounding. Use every exhale as a release to allow your body to melt even further into the ground. Stay here for 5-10 breaths.

Supported reclined bound angle pose

This might be one of my very favorite poses of all time for ultimate relaxation and release. Come onto your back and bring the soles of the feet to touch — like a butterfly. The feet can be further away from your pelvis because we aren’t trying to actively stretch anything at this time. If you have pillows, place them underneath on either side of your knees for extra support. If you have a blanket, fold it up a few times lengthwise and run it up and down your back, supporting you as you lay back; rest your head on pillows. Your arms can be wherever your body finds the most relaxation, whether it’s out to the side of you or resting on your belly or chest. Stay here for up to five minutes, closing your eyes and allowing your exhales to soften your body everywhere.

Reclined spinal twist

Moving from reclined bound angle pose, slowly remove all props and use your hands to assist you in drawing your knees together to face the ceiling. Let the arms go out long on either side of you coming into a “T” shape. Keeping the knees together, lengthen the spine and slowly lower the knees over to the right. Your right hand can move to the knees to assist the stretch. Take 5-10 breaths and switch sides, slowly drawing both knees back towards your chest before doing so.

Legs up the wall

This is another favorite for me, and a wonderful way to circulate the blood, relieve achy limbs and promote a sound night’s sleep. The best thing about this pose is, it can be done anywhere you can extend your legs up a surface — even your bed! To get into this, lie on your back and wiggle your hips and bum as close to the wall as you can before extending the legs straight up. Sometimes it’s even nice to take a yoga strap and make a loop to go right above your ankles, about hip distance wide, just for some extra support and stability while the legs are up there. From here just make yourself as cozy as possible. Put a pillow underneath your head or pull a blanket over top of you. Close your eyes and give yourself a solid 5-10 minutes to soak in the benefits of this posture.

When you’re finished, enjoy the bliss that follows and collapse into a beautifully grounded night’s sleep.  

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