Yoga to Improve Sleep

Sleep! It’s as necessary as food, shelter and clothing. Yet there can be bumpy times when sleep is oh so difficult! As a certified yoga therapist, I spend a lot of time assisting my students and clients on improving their sleep! I hope you enjoy these suggestions: yoga postures, breathing techniques, self-massage, and practices to do in bed! Zzzzzz…

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Most helpful is listening to Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra Insomnia Track that you play in bed to put you to sleep, or back to sleep should you awaken in the night or too early in the morning. (20 minutes of yoga nidra is said to equal three hours of sleep! It also works to practice during the day to help you catch up on your energy reserves again after a difficult night).

 

 

Yoga Postures

 

 

 

 

1. Twists (like supine twist on your back)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Forward bends (like child or forward fold)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Inversions (like legs up the wall)

Breathing

1. Lengthen your exhalation each breath for 3-5 minutes. You may like to put a timer on to keep track.

2. Kaki Crow Breath: Inhale through your nose and then lengthen the exhale through an ‘O’ shaped mouth for 3-5 minutes.

3. Nadi Shodhana alternate nostril breath: Exhale left nostril, Inhale left. Exhale right, Inhale right. Exhale left, Inhale left. Continue 3-5 minutes. You can use your fingers to seal off the nostrils but eventually do this breath without the assistance of your hand and use your mind/imagination to breathe through the opposite nostrils going back and forth.

Self-Massage

1.  Massage the point between eyebrows: helps insomnia, calms energy, soothes restlessness, anxiety and stress.

 

 

 

 

2. ‘Spirit Gate’ Massage the points on the inside wrist nearest pinky: balances and calms heart, alleviates anxiety, enables sleep.

3. Massage ears and feet with warmed sesame oil or other oil as there are numerous ‘sleep points’ on feet. (note: contraindicated for pregnancy)

 

Practices to do in Bed

1. Self-guide body sensing/ body scan from yoga nidra.
2. Self-guide awareness of your natural breath, or counting exhalations backwards from 10 back to 1.
3. Self-guide any part of yoga nidra you remember! Every stage is helpful.

 

27 Breaths Practice

Lie on your right side and count your exhalations backwards from 27 back to 1. If you get lost on the number, begin again at 27. ThenRoll to your left side and count exhalations 27-1. Go back to right side and repeat on each side as many times as it takes to fall asleep.

Adhi Mudra

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hold this mudra lightly in bed or when you want to feel calm. Repeat over and over silently “I am always calm in the center of my being”

Affirmation Statements

State one or more of these positive statements silently to yourself with or without a calming mudra:

“I surrender into calm & peace within.”
“I relax into my inner haven of peace.”
“I soften into the soothing blanket of sleep.”
“I open my mind to the gentle caress of sleep.”
“I relax and set aside all mental burdens.”
“I let go control and life becomes and effortless flow.”

 

copyright Jennifer Reis Yoga 2018© all rights reserved

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