As anyone who's had a long, stressful day can attest to, it's hard to wind down at night sometimes. Luckily yoga happens to be fabulous at quieting your mind and helping you get a good night's sleep.
Any time you feel like you could use a little help heading off to the land of nod, try the following breathing exercise and then any combination of the poses below. All of them are great, but any three at a time will do. Sweet dreams!
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Alternate Nostril Breathing: Sit comfortably in your bed and rest left hand on left thigh. Place right ring finger and thumb on either side of nostrils, lightly touching them but not constricting. Inhale and exhale, then close off right nostril with thumb and inhale through left nostril fully for 4 counts. Close off left nostril with ring finger and hold and retain the breath 4 counts. Release right nostril and exhale for 4 counts. Inhale deeply for 4 counts through the right nostril, close it off, and hold and retain the breath for 4 counts. Release left nostril as you exhale completely through it for 4 counts. Begin the cycle again, completing as many rounds as you like. Be sure to exhale through left nostril to complete your last cycle. Once you are done, relax both hands to your thighs and take a few deep breaths through both nostrils.
|Easy Seated Twist: Begin in a seated position with arms relaxed on either side of you. Take right hand to the ground behind sacrum and left hand to right knee. Inhale and lengthen spine. On exhale, use hands to twist torso to the right. Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.|
|Legs Up the Wall: Sit sideways next to your headboard or a wall. Lie down on one side, facing away from the wall with butt touching it. Using arms, lift legs up the wall as you roll over onto back. Allow arms to fall on either side of you. (Palms can face up for openness or down for an extra level of grounding.) Breathe here for at least 10 breaths.|
|Child's Pose: Come to a kneeling position with wide knees. Rest your pillow between thighs and lie down on it, allowing your head to rest completely. Allow arms to relax to the ground, reaching a bit forward. Close eyes and breathe here for 10 deep breaths.|
|Forward Fold: From a seated position, extend legs long in front of you and just wide enough to place your pillow between them. Keeping knees soft, take a deep breath and use your exhale to lean forward into the space you just created. Relax body onto your pillow. Breathe here for at least 10 deep breaths.|
|Reclining Goddess: Place a pillow (or two if you prefer) lengthwise behind sitz bones, and gently lie back so upper back and head are supported by pillows. Once comfortable, place feet together and knees apart, and allow arms to relax on either side. Breathe here for at least 10 deep breaths.|
|Corpse: Lie faceup on back with legs about hip-width apart and toes relaxed outward. Allow arms to relax on either side of you, palms facing up in a gesture of receptivity. Inhale through nose and exhale through mouth to let go of every last bit of effort left in your body or mind. Breathe here for at least 20 deep breaths.|