You’ve had a hectic day and you’re exhausted. However, once set, you cannot sleep a wink. Here are some yoga poses to do in bed just before lights out. No more counting sheep!
Before beginning, it is important to connect with your inner being. Get the grocery list, the tasks of the day or cold of your youngest child out of your mind. Lie on your back. Relax completely. Feel the tension points in your body. Let your thoughts flow freely into your mind, without trying to remember any. Your goal is to create a vacuum in your head for better dreams.
Respiration: An Art that is to Be Learned (4 or 5 Minutes)
How to practice full yogic breathing? First exhale normally, then for each step given below take 10 deep breaths (inspiration and expiration), always through the nose. At first, put your hands on either side of your abdomen (just below your navel), palms down. Feel your lower abdomen swell by inhalation, count to eight, then release your breath by contracting your abdominal muscles. Then do the same with your chest, placing your hands on it in order to feel the movement. Then continue with your clavicles (hands a little above the breasts). Finish, with the right hand at clavicular and left hand on your abdomen.]
Viparita Korani (2 to 5 minutes)
This is one of the six largest yoga postures; some also call it the right angle or half-candle. Place your buttocks as close as possible to the wall, legs up, allowing your arms to fall on the side of your body. You can also put a pillow under your lower back. Try folding your legs, but do not force the posture. This exercise is not recommended for people with high blood pressure or women who are menstruating.
For those working at their computers all day, this asana is most appropriate. And there are many benefits of it: it can regulate blood pressure, by resting the heart, soothe the nervous system, oxygenate the pond (fights against vaginitis) and stimulate blood circulation (good for cellulite and tired or agitated legs).
The classic position of the child (2 to 5 minutes)
Pull your knees in, then extend your torso on the mattress, with arms crossed. You have to really let yourself fall, and imagine that you are like a jellyfish. For more comfort, it proposes that you deposit in your trunk with a pillow placed vertically.
The clip (from 2 to 5 minutes)
Sit with legs folded and paste your ankles together. Get down on your legs and exhale. It is not about wanting to be flexible at all costs, but above all relax the tensions in your back and your upper neck.
Take advantage of gravity! (2 to 5 minutes)
Now, lie down on your back, then open your arms and form a diamond with your legs sticking at your ankles. If you feel the tension in the groin, put a pillow under each knee. For more comfort, also add a cushion under your head and under your lower back. This posture is ideal to fight against abdominal cramps, during puberty or menopause, as it promotes blood circulation in the region of the ovaries. Feel the benefits of gravity.
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Finish your workout with 10 complete breaths, right hand on the clavicle and the left hand on the abdomen, lying on the back. Let yourself be overwhelmed by sleep in perfect harmony with your body and your environment.
Forget about performance! There is no question of performing here but watch your thoughts. Let’s just ignore them! That evening, we must focus on asana (posture in Sanskrit), seeking a return to oneself. Forward bends are those that are best before bedtime. It is best to avoid movements where the body is in extension or opening because they stimulate the nervous system rather than soothe.
A recipe, please!
Do not think that by following this recipe, sleep will come instantaneously! Yoga contributes to a balanced life, but it is only one of the ingredients to get there!
BKS Iyengar and Daphne Razazan Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health, Publishing Dorling Kingersley (DK), 2001.
Peter Van Houten, MD and Gyandev Rich McCord, Ph.D. Yoga Therapy for Overcoming Insomnia, Crystal Clarity Publishing, 2004.