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5 Yoga Poses To Help Get Your Zzzs with Kimberly Fowler
Feeling sleep-deprived? You're not alone. There are so many of us who have fallen behind on our sleep according to the National Sleep Foundation. It's estimated that 50-70 million North Americans have chronic sleep disorders. A number of studies say that practicing yoga can help you doze off faster, improve the quality of your ZZZs and shorten the amount of time it takes to fall back to sleep when you awaken during the night.
Here are 5 Yoga poses, from my book The No OM Zone, to do pre-sleep, which will help release stress and relax your body. Bonus: this routine only takes about 5 to 8 minutes, and you can do them all in bed!
Bring the soles of your feet together and your knees wide apart. Bring your heels toward your body. Sit up straight, grab your feet, take a deep breath, and hinge forward from your hips as you exhale. Depending how flexible you are, walk your hands out in front of you. This pose will help release your lower back, hips and inner thighs. Hold for 45 to 60 seconds and then bring your knees together and roll down onto your mattress, hugging your knees into your chest. This is a great pose to do after a long day of sitting at your desk or in your car.
Swing your legs out in front of you and shake them out. Bring your legs together, your feet should be touching. Take a deep breath in as you reach your arms to the ceiling and on your exhale hinge forward and try to reach your feet. Don’t “stress” if you can’t reach your toes, just know that reaching your toes is your goal. Relax your neck and let your head hang forward.
Easy Spinal Twist
Bring your left knee into your chest and let your right leg go straight. Take a deep breath; on your next exhale, bring the bent knee across your body, keeping your shoulder blades on the bed. Look over your left shoulder to complete the twist. Bring both knees into your chest and then switch sides. Your right knee comes into your chest, and your left leg goes straight. Hold for 45 seconds to 1 minute, then release and bring both knees into your chest.
Let your feet come down with your knees bent. Bring your feet hip distance apart. Press your feet into the mattress while lifting your hips to the ceiling. If you can, bring your arms underneath you and clasp your hands together. Now try to roll your shoulders each other while lifting your chest to your chin. Hold for about 30 seconds and then release your arms and lower down. Do this 2 more times and then hug your knees into your chest. This pose stretches the front of your body while it strengthens your lower back.
Let your whole body relax, bring your arms our by your sides. Take a deep breathe in and exhale out of your mouth. Relax, breathe deeply, and let the stress of the day go. After a few minutes, bend your knees and roll onto your side, hopefully you will fall right to sleep.
Kimberly Fowler is the founder of YAS Fitness Centers, creator of Yoga for Athletes® and the author of The No OM Zone and Flat Belly Yoga! by Rodale. She is a certified Yoga instructor and has been called the Godmother of Yoga Hybrid.