Listen. 60 million Americans suffer from some form of insomnia. If you don’t want to take meds that may make you “sleep eat” or have other unwanted and bizarre side effects, there are a ton of remedies out there.
But most Americans don’t really look to yoga to help them not loose sleep over loosing a little sleep. They see it as a fitness routine or a stretching practice or even a destressor.
That said, the original practice of yoga includes many yoga poses that can help in relaxation and even insomnia reduction. Below are the 7 poses that are best for insomnia relief (adapted from “The Woman’s Yoga Book” and “Yoga Therapy For Overcoming Insomnia”). These slow stretching asanas are ideal for an end-of-day wind-down. End your routine with savasana or corpse pose and then let sleep take over.
1. The most basic of yoga asanas, the forward bend or Uttanasana involves bending over and attempting to have your knees touch your forehead. It can be good for releasing tension in the legs, back and shoulders.
Wide-legged forward bend or Prasarita Padottansana is similar to the forward bend but involves the legs being spread a few feet apart. It’s known to calm the brain and stretch the back legs and spine.
Child pose or Balasana involves tucking your feet under your buttocks and bending forward with your hands stretched out in front (or resting lightly on either side). Child pose is good for relieving anxiety and fatigue — by promotion relaxation — and for stretching the hips, thighs and ankles.
Seated forward bend or Paschimottanasana is similar to the forward bend but is done while sitting instead of standing. It stretches the shoulders, spine and hamstrings and can be especially effective at relieving anxiety and insomnia
Plow or Halasana is a more advanced yoga pose that involves lying down, bending one’s body from the hip and placing the legs above and beyond the head. It stretches the shoulder and spine and can work for anxiety and stress-relief.
Supine spinal twist or Supta Matsyaendrasana is a gentle reclining twist that involves lying down and twisting the upper body. The pose relaxes the back and spine and can help with insomnia.
Shoulder stand or Sarvangasana is an advanced yoga position that involves bending the body from the shoulders and lifting and holding the legs in the air. Sarvangasana improves digestion, stretches the shoulder and neck and helps reduce fatigue and alleviate insomnia by promoting relaxation.