Five Yoga Poses for Better Sleep
Yes, You Can Improve Your Sleep Quality
Catching those coveted seven to nine hours of zzz’s sounds like a dream, and for many moms it’s just that. Between worrying about the kids and stressing over uncompleted errands, sound, sufficient slumber just seems unattainable. But we've found the perfect remedy to those sleepless nights: these soothing yoga poses.
“First, you need to commit to a half hour of mommy time,” says Colleen Saidman Yee, mom, renowned yogi and author of the recently published Yoga for Life. She created this routine to perform after you’ve digested your dinner and the kids are asleep—or you could have them join in. “Mothers need help letting go of their busy days, releasing stiffness from muscles and quieting the brain,” she says. “This sequence stretches out the hamstrings and quads, relieves tension in the shoulders and promotes exhalation, which leads to more relaxation.”
Pre- or post-posing, Saidman Yee suggests further winding down by drinking a cup of chamomile tea while bathing in Epsom salts, writing your to-do list, then setting it aside and lying down and scanning your body from head to toe (while taking deep breaths) to notice any tense spots.
So unplug your devices, grab a blanket, a chair and a mat and get to a quiet place. Prepare to feel zen and get ready for some serious shut-eye…and enjoy how refreshed you feel tomorrow!
Standing Forward Bend
Stand with your legs hip-distance apart and place the crown of your head on a chair or on a yoga block or three. Interlace your fingers behind your back and slide your hands toward your head. After 10 breaths, change the interlacing of your fingers by putting the opposite index finger on top. Stay for another 10 breaths. You’ll feel your shoulders open and a release in your hamstrings.
Simple Cross-Legged Pose
Sitting on a folded blanket, wrap your arms in an eagle pose—one elbow on top of the other, hands clasped at prayer and your legs crossed—and fold forward. Hold this position for 10 breaths. Change sides by putting the other leg in front and the opposite arm on top in eagle pose, then fold forward again for another 10 breaths.
Sit on your knees and spread them a little wider than your shoulders. Bend at the hips and walk your hands as far forward as you can. (If this isn’t comfortable, curl up on your side and hug your knees into your chest instead.) Stay here for 10 breaths. This will wring out the legs after a long day of running around and open the shoulders in a different direction.
From a seated position with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, place your hands behind you with your fingers facing your heels. Press your feet down and lift your hips up to form a tabletop. This is great for stretching your chest (which helps you breath easier) and quads. Do this three times, holding for three breaths each.
Place your calves on the seat of a chair. Put a sandbag, a blanket or any other weight—even heavy books—on your shins to release tension in the calves. Rest the palm side of your hands on your temples and touch your fingers together at the crown of the head in your hair. Take 10 deep breaths. Then rest your hands lightly on your face, covering your eyes with your fingers. Take another 10 breaths. Place your hands on your lower belly for an additional 10 breaths. Finally, straighten your arms alongside your body with your palms facing up and stay there for the final 10 breaths. To find calm even quicker, drop lavender oil on your wrist or on a nearby cotton pad. Try not to fall asleep here—save that for bedtime.
About Colleen Saidman Yee
Colleen Saidman Yee is an internationally respected yoga teacher and former fashion model. She opened Yoga Shanti Sag Harbor in 1999 and since then has opened locations in New York City and Westhampton Beach, which she runs with her husband, Rodney Yee, and partners. With Donna Karan and Rodney, Colleen created and runs the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program. She has been featured in dozens of Gaiam yoga videos and many media outlets. She released her first book, Yoga for Life, in June 2015. Pick up a copy to get more yoga sequences, including those that focus on energy and confidence.