YOGA FOR INSOMNIA
Last Saturday was one of those days. I indulged in an ice coffee from Balmain’s coffee powerhouse, Bertoni’s. Boy, did I pay for it.
At 10:30pm after staying home to do some work (exciting life at the moment) I was still wide awake, but I took myself off to bed because that’s just what I do. 10:30 is way past my usual bed time!
Come 2am, I was still awake. Crap.
My initial instinct was to shut my eyes, curl deeper into a foetal position and secretly pray for the sleep gods to have mercy on me. Then I had a moment…which seems to be happening a lot to me lately. Moments that is, not insomnia.
I realised that If a friend came to me and asked what they should do when they are having trouble sleeping I would probably prescribe a few quietening yoga postures that would settle the nervous sytem. Lying there in bed, trying not to disturb Chris, I thought, well, up you get Claire. Let’s put these postures to the test.
Did they work? Yes, they did. Did I fall asleep and settle into dreamland like a baby. Not quite as picturesque but eventually it happened and this little sequence worked a treat in ceasing the merry-go-round in my mind and helped me calm down enough to fall asleep.
Check out the below restless night sequence. I held each one for around five minutes. The images (thanks to yoga journal!) are very self explanatory. Where necessary I’ve added in a couple of necessary tips.
Hopefully the next time you are having a restless night this sequence might help to calm your nervous system and stop the repetitive thoughts long enough to send you off to sleep.
Signing off with an exhale.
Pause. Listen. Live
1) Marjaryasana to Bitilasana (Cat/Cow)
2) Padangusthasana (standing forward bend)
- Spread the feet hip width apart
- Ground down evenly through the feet
- Bend the knees slightly if the hamstrings are tight.
- Trigger grip the big toes with index and middle finger
3) Balasana (child’s pose)
- Knees and feet are together, sit bones to heels
- Fold over, arms by the sides, palms facing up
- Lightly press the forehead to the mat or use a cushion if your head doesn’t reach the floor
- Similar to Padangustasana however let the hands fall to the floor, behind the feet or even just hold the elbows and hang the body forward
5) Pachimottanasana (seated forward bend)
- Sit on a folded blanket or cushion to raise the hips and pelvish
- Extend the legs, bend the knees slightly (usually they are active and straight, but this is a more restorative version)
- Let the hands come to the shins/ankles/feet
- You can place a cushion on the legs to support the body as you fold forward
6) Halasana (plough pose)
- Use a folded blanket underneath the shoulders (not the neck)
- Kick the legs over head , supporting the back with your hands
- Slowly lower the legs over head
- Keep lifting the spine, trying to elongate and straighten the back
- Do not attempt if you have a bad neck, or if this is your first time
7) Salamba Sarvangasana (supported shoulder stand)
- From Halasana set-up start to raise the legs up
- Ensure you are on your shoulders and not the neck
- Support the back with hands, squeeze elbows close together
8) Viparita Karani (legs up wall)
9) Savasana into sleep!