According to this NPR story, roughly 60 million Americans suffered from insominia in 2008—and who could be surprised? We live in a go-go-go stress and tension filled world—and when stress and tension run rampantly through every area of your life, it can be easy to allow that stress to disrupt your sleep.
Sleep is a time when your brain and body get a chance to restore themselves, to counteract the effects of worry and tension, and to help you overcome challenges you see in your waking hours.
Start it out with the breathing in a standing position. As you concentrate on your breath, start to count with the inhales and exhales. Breathe in for a count of three, and exhale for a count of three. Place your hand on your chest and another hand on your lower abdomen, and breathe into these spaces. Envision a white clearing energy moving into your breath, and envision the stress and tension of your day floating out of your body with the exhale.
Stay here for one to two minutes before heading into the next pose.
2. Forward Fold
As you dive down into your forward fold, focus on relaxation (rather than flexibility). Feel free to place a pillow underneath your hands, slide into rag doll, or sway from side to side. Continue to focus on the inhale and exhale, and start to feel your body slide into the beginning stages of deep relaxation.
3. Seated Fold in Butterfly
Settle down into a butterfly pose, and comfortably fold over your hips. Grab a pillow or a prop so that you can lean on so that you can comfortably sit in this pose for a few minutes. This pose is designed to open up the hips, and help you ground down through your sits bondes. Soften into this pose and re-emerge when you are ready.
As you come up from the seated butterfly position, place your pillow behind your back and gently lay down on the pillow. Place one hand on your heart, and one hand on your stomach—and begin to tune into your three count breath. If you’d like to make this a heart and chest opener, turn your arms into a goal post position, and lie here for two to three minutes.
5. Gentle Spinal Twist
Slide into a gentle spinal twist by laying down and bringing the arms wide, then gently tuck your knees into your stomach, and turn the knees to the right, and your head to the left. Come back to your three count breathing, staying here for a few minutes—and repeat this pose on the opposite side.
Slide up next to the wall and bring your legs higher than your heart so that the blood can flood the brain and the chest cavity. This will relax and restore your body’s balance, gently boost your immune system, and assist with improved blood circulation throughout the body. Breathe in for three, breathe out for three—and feel free to lengthen the breath, if it feels right to you.
Take this pose in your bed if you are already very sleepy. Don’t do anything here except relax, and continue with your long inhales and long exhales. That will guide you into a deep sleep, that leaves your insomnia as a gentle memory of the past.
Photo via iStock.