4. Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
This pose is a must for those suffering from insomnia. It helps increase the blood flow to your heart, enabling you to relax and sleep better.
It also helps reduce stress and calm your mind and body. In addition, it helps relax the lower back muscles and alleviate mild backaches that can affect your sleep quality.
- Place a lightly padded mattress, blanket or yoga mat on the floor next to a sturdy wall or door. You may place a pillow or cushion under your butt for comfortable positioning.
- Lie down and practice deep breathing.
- Exhale, bend your knees and slowly move your legs up on the wall, while keeping your spine straight.
- Place your arms by your sides with palms facing up and stretch your legs upward.
- Take deep breaths for 10 minutes.
- To release this position, bend your knees.
- Turn your entire body sideways, take a few deep breaths and then exhale as you slowly rise.
Caution: This yoga pose is not suitable for people suffering from glaucoma or high blood pressure.
5. Cat and Cow Stretching (Marjaryasana and Bitilasana)
A combination of Cat Pose and Cow Pose is often used as a warm-up exercise, as it stretch out your entire body and help you sleep better by relaxing all your stiff muscles and joints.
It can be particularly helpful when you cannot sleep due to an achy, sore back.
Doing this on a daily basis also exercises your stomach muscles and improves digestion.
- Get into a tabletop position on your hands and knees.
- Place your knees hip-width apart and your hands directly below your shoulders.
- For the Cow Pose, inhale as you drop your belly and gaze atthe upper portion of the wall in front of you, stretching your head, neck and chest upward.
- For the Cat Pose, exhale and gradually move your chin toward your chest.
- Arch your back until you form a downward semicircle. You should look like a cat stretching its back.
- Repeat 5 to 10 times, then finish with the Child’s Pose to relax your body.
Caution: Pregnant women should only do the Cow Pose.