As life begins to open up again and we resume activities from the “Before Times”, more entries on your calendar may be resulting in more anxiety and less sleep. Stress may be running high as we resume the balance and get up to speed. Anxiety can be sneaky and creep up. I have been hearing a significant number of people talk about their current struggles with insomnia, and this is particularly significant because insomnia can be your body’s way of raising a big red flag that it’s time to decompress.
Hopefully, this will help you sleep.
So for all of you sweet people that are having trouble sleeping, and for everyone that could use a chance to pause and decompress to better wind down for bed, here are several restorative yoga poses to help ease you into a restful sleep.
You will need a stack of pillows (at least 3, but as many as 6 depending on your preference). You will also need a rolled towel or blanket and a nearby wall, chair, or something else you can prop your legs on. If you tend to get cold, you may also want an extra blanket or sweater to cover yourself. The goal here is to be ultra-cozy so you can really relax and let go. (And note: you could try doing your restorative practice in bed. We use a lot of pillows and blankets as props anyway, and that way, if you fall asleep, you’re already where you need to be.)
Optional props: I find using (1) an eye mask and (2) a microwaveable clay heat pad that I have heated to low heat adds to my relaxation.
Elevated Legs Up the Wall Pose –
Lie on your back with your hips near a wall. Place a pillow under your hips and a folded blanket or pillow under your shoulders and head. Walk your feet up the wall with your heels gently resting on the wall. You may need to get closer to or farther from the wall. Your arms could be down by your sides, out to the side, or out to the side and bent at 90 degrees. Make any adjustments you need to be completely comfortable and stay here for at least 5 minutes.
Mountain Brook Pose –
Sitting on your mat, extend your legs and place a pillow under your knees. Position a pillow under your shoulder blades creating a gentle backbend. Place the rolled blanket or towel under your neck, allowing your head to drop gently back. Make any adjustments you need to be completely comfortable and stay here for at least 5 minutes.
Supported Bound Angle Pose –
You will need at least two pillows and a rolled blanket or towel. Place one pillow in a horizontal direction and another perpendicular to it in a vertical configuration. Lay down on the top pillow so that your head, neck, and back are fully supported and slightly elevated. Bend your legs and place your feet on the mat. Place the center of the rolled blanket or towel in front of your ankles. Wrap each side of the rolled blanket or towel behind your ankles and pull to secure. Let your hips open to the sides. Place your arms loosely down by your sides with your palms facing up. You may want to add additional pillows, blankets, blocks, or supports under your knees or elbows for extra support. Make any adjustments you need to be completely comfortable and stay here for at least 5 minutes.
Supported Reclining Pose –
Use the same two-pillow set up from Supported Bound Angle Pose. Lay down on your pillows so that your head, neck, and back are fully supported and slightly elevated. Extend your legs out, adding one or two pillows under your knees if you find it more comfortable. Your arms can be down by your sides or out to the side. You may want two additional pillows to support your elbows and arms. Make any adjustments you need to be completely comfortable. Stay here for 20 minutes…or you know, all night if you drift off to sleep.
If you would like to practice with me, check out my Vimeo page at www.vimeo.com/quadrantfit. I have restorative yoga practices, as well as other free yin, prenatal, vinyasa, and gentle flow sessions posted. Good night!