Insomnia isn’t a four-letter word, but it ought to be. Lying awake at night is no fun, but everyone’s doing it: A survey by the National Sleep Foundation estimates that 58 percent of American adults experience insomnia at least a couple nights a week. Good ol’ yoga to the rescue once again! Selected with doctors at Mayo Clinic’s Complementary and Integrative Medicine program, the three yoga poses guided in the video clips below will calm your mind, release muscle tension and help you sleep like a baby.
These clips are part of the complete sleep-enhancing yoga practice in the Mayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for Insomnia DVD, guided by yoga expert Rodney Yee. It can help you unwind so you can GET to sleep and make sleep more restful so you log more shut-eye. Try incorporating these yoga poses into your bedtime routine, sometime between turning off the TV and getting into bed.
Supported Standing Forward Bend
This is the most active of the poses suggested here. With your legs energized and your torso and head releasing, this pose draws excess or “stuck” energy out of your upper body and grounds it in your legs and feet. It also releases the muscles of the neck and shoulders and alongside the spine. Getting upside down helps change your perspective, while resting your head cues the mind to quiet. Let the attitude adjustment begin!
Supported Child’s Pose
This is one of my favorite poses ever — there is something about curling into yourself and supporting your torso on a comfy cushion that is so nurturing and soothing. It gives you a constructive opportunity to mother yourself, as if you could pat yourself on your own back and murmur “there, there.” It’s particularly great at releasing tension in the lower back. What’s not to love?
Supported Seated Forward Bend
Remember how your second-grade teacher would have everyone in the class put their heads down on the desk when things got too rowdy? This is the yogic equivalent. It calms the hyper part of your mind that would be all too happy to chatter the night away. It also melts tension from the neck, shoulders, back, and backs of the legs. Best of all, you can do it practically anywhere — at work (with your head on your desk), on the floor in your living room (with your head on the coffee table), or even on an airplane (with your head resting on the tray table).