If you're into yoga, you know that there are practically as many reasons to hit the mat as there are yoga poses (and that's quite a lot!). Maybe you're looking for a way to keep your stress levels in check, or maybe you're trying to improve your flexibility or get toned in a way that doesn't involve weights or the treadmill. Or maybe, like so many hopeless insomniacs out there, you're hoping that yoga will be your ticket to a restful night (at last!). But are there any yoga poses that can help you to sleep better?
Plenty of yogis swear by their regular practice as a means to sweeter slumber; in fact, a National Health Interview Survey on the uses of complementary health approaches in the United States found that 55 percent of yoga practitioners reported improved sleep. It makes sense, of course. "There's a pretty strong case to be made that having an active/dynamic lifestyle that incorporates regular vigorous exercise can improve overall sleep patterns," advanced certified Jivamukti yoga teacher Jessica Stickler tells Romper. "Regularly getting any kind of vigorous movement into your day improves heart, lung, and muscular health and tends to help us get better rest at night. Unfortunately, that doesn't help in the moment of experiencing insomnia or troubled sleep. So, get that daily dose of yoga in for overall deeper sleep."
Of course, a high-energy workout right before bed could be the opposite of relaxing, she adds. "The body needs time to settle down and switch gears," she explains. So a pre-bedtime yoga routine should include poses designed to relax both the body and the mind.
"While doing these poses, feel the breath in your body," says Stickler. "Don't contemplate the breath or analyze it, but just feel the natural movement of the breath. If the breath feels agitated in any way, try to extend the exhale. Let the exhale be long and also soft. Don't force it but let the exhale help the mind to expel the thought patterns."
Give these yoga poses a try before turning in for the night. All of these are suitable for beginners, too.