You’ve brewed countless cups of chamomile tea, and stopped watching Netflix or scanning your Instagram feed, but if you still find yourself counting sheep on the regular, it may be time to take a different route. After all, studies suggest that regular (and quality) ZZZs are necessary for far more than just energy levels, affecting everything from your immune system to eating habits.
So before you jump under the covers for some shut-eye tonight, grab your yoga mat and try these five poses. They’ll help combat insomnia, relieve stress, and ward off aches and pains that can keep you tossing and turning.
This pose is known to help ease mild depression as it calms the parasympathetic nervous system and encourages blood flow throughout the body. Be sure to lengthen and extend your spine, no hunching, and bend your knees if need be.
The aim of this pose is to fold forward from the hips so that you can stretch your hamstrings without straining your back. It helps to not only decompress your spine, but the combination of the inverted shape and the forward fold tends to bring a wonderful feeling of calmness. Just make sure your feet are parallel to each other, and use a block if you’re fingers can’t reach the floor and/or widen stance.
This is a restorative pose, which can help to re-energize the body and aid digestion. Don’t be afraid to bend your knee if you can’t touch your toes and use a strap or towel for extra help.
Stretches the hamstrings and spine, and calms the mind. Depending on your pelvic bone structure, you may not be able to completely fold forward in this pose (which is ok!). Prop yourself onto a block and actively aim to reach forward. If your back is rounding then simply sit tall and support yourself in a seated position with fingertips behind your lower back. You should feel a slight stretch in the inner thighs. If this pose feel uncomfortable, a common variation is Frog Pose.
This is a super simple and restful pose. It helps to lengthen the spine, as well as relieves stress from the hips, lower back and neck.
My Top Tip: Close your eyes and focus on your breathing – think long, slow breaths from the back of your throat. Inhale and fill all of your lungs and body up, then exhale whilst deepening into the pose. This will help clear your mind (and worries).