Small Yoga Moves that Make a Big Difference: Insomnia

Welcome to Mrs R’s new video series!  

When we hit the sheets at the end of a busy day we may feel deeply exhausted, but often find ourselves unable to relax enough to go to sleep.  Kurt Cobain nailed it when he sang, “I’m so tired, I can’t sleep…”

Insomnia is wildly, deeply frustrating. Once we start watching the clock, waiting and praying to fall asleep, we enter into a purgatory that can last till dawn…

Yoga can help. When you get home from work and then again before you go to bed, lie down and put your legs up a wall. Inverting the body and folding forward at the hips will stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system.

This is the ‘rest and relax’ mode of the autonomic nervous system. Your blood pressure will go down, digestion and circulation will improve, levels of adrenalin and cortisol will fall and blood sugars will level out. You don’t have to come to a big fancy head stand or a shoulder stand to experience the benefits of inverting the body. This “legs up the wall pose” is accessible to almost everyone. You can spend as long as you like here, as long as you don’t start to lose the feeling in your feet!

Holding this posture for 5-10 minutes will leave you feeling grounded and relaxed.

Accompanying this pose with slow, deep breathing through your nose will help to slow down your mind. Try to make your exhales 2 counts longer than your inhales. You cannot breathe in this way and think about other things, so the effect is a more relaxed mind. It’s ironic that we have to concentrate on the breath, which takes a lot of effort, to bring the mind to a more relaxed state.

Slowing down your body and mind before you go to bed is a more realistic way for your body to gracefully step out of GO mode and into rest mode. Transitioning from 100 to 0 in a few minutes is just not possible for the majority of busy ladies out there.

Take a hot bath, avoid the news, grab a great book and drink herbal non-caffeinated tea. Create your own slow-down ritual for falling asleep.

Add this simple yoga pose to your bedtime routine and you’ll be in the land of Nod in no time.


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