Having trouble sleeping? Start 2018 feeling rested and relaxed with these yoga stretches to improve sleep. Simple to learn, these easy yin yoga poses and techniques can quickly calm your breathing and provide health benefits long after bedtime.
Alternate nostril breath
1. Sit in a cross-legged position, with your hands resting on your thighs.
2. Lift your right hand up and bend your index and middle fingers towards your palm, bringing your right thumb to your right nostril and pressing to seal it shut.
3. Deeply inhale through your left nostril for a count of 4, 5 or 6.
4. Seal off your left nostril with your right ring finger and release your right nostril.
5. Exhale through your right nostril for the same count of 4, 5, or 6.
6. Deeply inhale through your right nostril for a count of 4, 5 or 6.
7. Seal off your right nostril with your right thumb and release your left nostril.
8. Exhale through your left nostril for the same count of 4, 5 or 6 to complete one round. Repeat these steps for 5 to 10 more rounds.
1. Lie on your back, keeping your legs and shoulder blades flat on the ground and relaxing your arms at your sides, with your palms facing up.
2. Bend your knees so the soles of your feet touch. Bring your heels closer to your groin, and relax your legs to let gravity pull them towards the ground. Hold. Inhale and exhale slow, steady breaths through your nose. Slowly reverse out of the posture.
Legs up the wall
1. Sit in a comfortable position 15cm away from a wall, with your right side towards the wall and your hands on your knees. Keep your tailbone on the ground, cross your legs, and extend the crown of your head upwards.
2. Lie gently on your back, rotating your body until your tailbone faces the wall. Rest the bottom of your feet flat on the wall and bend your knees towards your stomach. Relax your head and neck.
3. Fully extend your legs upwards to rest your heels against the wall, keeping a slight bend in your knees to avoid hyperextending them. Hold. Inhale and exhale slow, steady breaths through your nose. Slowly reverse out of the posture.
For more yin yoga positions and sequences, including yoga poses to improve digestion and reduce stress, and breathing techniques for better sleeping, try Yin Yoga. Learn controlled breathing, reap health benefits and improved mindfulness, and try poses for beginners up to advanced practitioners.