The health benefits of yoga truly are innumerable; the gentle exercise can improve muscle tone as well as flexibility, but the benefits aren’t just physical. Yoga helps to unite the mind and body, helping you to eradicate any stressful thoughts, which is especially helpful when you’re trying to get a solid night’s sleep. Don’t just take our word for it, studies found that people who regularly practised yoga had better long term sleep quality than those who didn’t. If you’re hoping to incorporate yoga into your lifestyle, here are four amazing poses that you should consider incorporating into your routine:
1. Child’s Pose
This is a great yoga pose to start with when your mind is still busy. Child’s pose really lets you feel the tensions in your body and it’s so satisfying and relaxing to feel yourself letting them go.
If you want to try the pose for yourself, start off in a kneeling position with your hips on your heels. Inhale and slowly lower your body until your chest rests on your thighs; once you’re in a comfortable rest position, slowly exhale. Stretch your arms out in front of you, feeling the floor beneath you as you do. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat 20 times.
2. Nighttime Goddess Stretch
This gentle stretch focuses on your thighs and on elongating the spine. Find somewhere comfortable and lie down on your back. Bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall open until your legs make a diamond shape; don’t force the shape, only stretch your legs as far as it’s comfortable using pillows underneath your thighs if you prefer. With your palms facing the ceiling, spread your arms out and use the space you have. Hold this pose for around ten minutes, taking the time to practise your breathing and visualisation; picturing an image that brings you happiness has been shown to improve sleep quality.
3. Viparita Karani
Also known as the legs up the wall pose, the Viparita Karani can increase blood flow to the heart and encourage relaxation. It’s particularly useful for insomniacs struggling to find sleep in the middle of the night.
Start off by lying down on the floor near a wall; for maximum comfort, lay down some padding first. Bend your knees and slowly start sliding your legs up the wall until they are completely vertical. Hold this position for around ten minutes, practising your breathing techniques and letting yourself relax.
4. Corpse Pose
While it might have a morbid title, frequently practising yoga positions like the corpse pose can relax the mind and reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. This yoga move is the perfect pose to end your yoga session on, as it’s easy to do and is also the most calming.
Lie down on your back, letting your limbs fall into their most comfortable position. Try and spread your arms and legs out, fully utilising the space around you. Close your eyes, emptying your mind of everything focusing only on the depth of your breaths. If you’re lucky, you might end up falling asleep in this position