Yoga for a Good Night Sleep!

Thursday, August 14, 2014 - Posted by Jess at 7:04 PM
Hello Friends!

 I was asked to blog about yoga poses that could help you sleep better at night by a Mattress company called Casper, www.caspersleep.com. So I agreed. Good sleep is one of the top on the list besides good nutrition and exercise to keep your immune function strong. So if you are someone who is living with insomnia or lack of sleep, hope this is of help to you!

Insomnia can really effect you more ways than you would expect. Especially if you are someone who is trying to heal from cancer. Besides living with pain and sickness, then not being able to sleep well on top of it is frustrating. A good night sleep is extremely important in helping the body to heal. Your immune function depends on it! Pain, medication, and stress can all contribute to sleepless nights. So how can you help yourself have more restful nights, and relieve pain and stress at the same time? Exercise. Yoga especially is beneficial because of its adaptiveness to your body and pain level. There are many postures to choose from and being conscious of deep breathing at the same time helps to reduce these symptoms and help you to sleep better. Here is a short sequence that you can practice before bed, on the floor or in your bed! :) Just remember to be gentle with yourself, not pushing yourself into pain, and of course lots of deep breathing to calm the nervous system and bring that life giving oxygen to nurture the cells. Enjoy and let me know how you sleep!



Cat/Cow

Start on hands and knees. Tilting the tailbone toward the sky, allow the spine to follow as the belly draws down. The heart lifts as you look forward. You can hold for several breaths or flow with the inhale and exhale.
Now draw the tail bone down and arch the spine, letting the head follow. Again taking several breaths in the pose or continue to flow.

Balasana

Come to all fours and bring your feet together separating your knees slightly. Sit your hips back to your heals, arms are stretched out in front. Rest for 5-10 breaths. Surrendering to gravity.



Seated Twist

Sit in a comfortable position for your body. Spine erect, turn your heart to the Right, placing your Left hand onto the Right leg, Right hand comes behind. Hold in the position for several breaths. Breathing deeply, unleashing tension in the spine. Twist in the opposite direction for the same amount of time. Come back to center.



Supta Pandagustasana 1

Lie on your back. Bend your Right knee and bring it into your chest. Left leg extended straight. Bring both hands behind the Right thigh onto the hamstring. Extend your heel toward the sky. Hold in this position for several deep breaths. Then release your Right leg to the floor or bed and switch sides.



Apanasana

Bend both knees, placing your hands onto your knee caps. Stack your knees over your hips, arms extended straight. Inhale. As you exhale draw your knees toward your chest, elbows bent. Continue to move with your inhale and exhale. 5-10 times.



Supine Twist

Bring your knees back to center. Arms come out to the sides into a cactus shape, palms facing up. Bring your bent knees to the Right, turning the head to the Left. Take several breaths. Come back to center and twist in the other direction for the same amount of time. Then come back to center.



Supta Baddha Konasana     

Legs at center, bring your feet together and open the knees out wide. You can place supports under them to keep the hips relaxed. Arms come away from the body out to the side, palms facing the sky. Rest here for 5-10 minutes taking deep breaths. Eyes closed.

                                                                                 

Modified Vipriti Karani

Laying on your side. Bring your legs to face the wall or headboard. Scooting yourself as close as comfortable to the wall or headboard. Extend one leg at a time straight up onto wall/headboard, rolling onto your back. Arms extended out next to the body, palms facing up. Lay there for 10-20 minutes with your eyes closed breathing deeply and relaxing your upper body into the support below you. 



You can try the full sequence or pick a few that speak to you that night. Breathing deeply and comfortably. Silently saying to yourself that you are relaxed. Continue this practice nightly helping you relieve stress and soften the pain as you heal. 

Sleep well!

Namaste'

Jess

(photos by Lindsay Alisa Photography)