A number of people across the world suffer from insomnia today. However, insomnia is not an illness in itself. It may be a symptom of some other chronic condition or a side effect of certain prescription pills. Treating insomnia through medication may work initially, but in the long run it may do you more harm than good. Therefore, it is always better to turn to natural healing methods such as yoga. Yoga relaxes the mind and the body and leads to holistic health benefits. But before you begin, you must first create the right environment for sleep. Shut down all your electrical equipments and gadgets, get into comfortable clothing, and turn off the lights. You may then proceed with the following yoga postures for a sound sleep.
1. Short meditation
Be poised and start with a short meditation. Get in your bed and sit cross-legged. Now lean back gently, onto some pillows or a headboard. Resting your hands over your thighs, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Stay in this position for a few minutes and breathe deeply. This will calm your nerves and prepare your mind to go into sleep mode.
2. Seated twist
With your legs still crossed, sit up while inhaling deeply and straighten your back. Now twist your torso towards the right while exhaling gently. You may grab the headboard to add some leverage to your twist. Take a few deep breaths staying in the same position and exhale as you return to face forward. Inhale and repeat the twist towards the left as you exhale. This can be repeated a number of times.
3. Cross-legged forward bending
Get back to your cross-legged seated position and straighten your back. Now gently bend forward, trying to touch the bed with your forehead while stretching your arms out straight in the front. Stay in this position and take a few deep breaths. You should be able to feel the stretch in your hips and back. This posture helps increase the blood flow to your neck thereby calming the central nervous system. Return to the seated position and repeat a few times.
4. Seated forward bend
From the cross-legged seated position, extend your legs out in the front, keeping your knees a little bent. Sit up straight as you inhale. As you exhale, try to reach for your feet but keep your back flat. Bend your knees slightly so that it is not too intense. At this time, your goal is gentle relaxation to facilitate sound deep sleep and not workout. Depending upon your capability, you may also try to round your back over the legs as you reach out for the feet. Continue to breathe deeply as you stay folded in this position. This will elongate your spine and increase the blood flow in the head.
5. Knees-to-chest pose
Lie on your back, your head comfortably placed on a pillow. Bring one knee as close to your chest as possible by grabbing your leg from the shin. Hold the position for a few deep breaths and repeat with the other leg. This is a great yoga posture that lengthens your legs and loosens up your hip.
6. Reclining big-toe hold
Lying on your back, extend your right leg straight up to the ceiling as you inhale. Grab your leg wherever you can comfortably reach, depending upon your flexibility. Slowly bring your leg closer to your head as you exhale. Return to the original position and repeat with the left leg. Bend knees wherever you need, because in no case you have to overdo this stretch.
7. Half happy baby
This seems a little tricky to begin with but can be mastered rather quickly. Lie on your back and hug your left knee close to your chest. Now flex the same foot in a way that the sole faces the ceiling. Now grab the outside edge of your foot and bring your knee as close to your left armpit as you can. Make sure that you use your left hand to grab your left sole, and right hand for your right. Hold for a few seconds and take some deep breaths. Get back to the original position and repeat with the right leg
8. Reclining twist
Hug your right knee again into your chest as you inhale. Now exhale as you twist your leg across your body towards the left side while your knee is still bent. Place your left hand on your right knee. Turn your head to the right and stretch out your right arm to the side. Stay in this position for a few deep breaths. Before repeating the same with the left leg, perform another position in the same stretch. While still in your twisted position, stretch out your right leg to extend your foot diagonally. Simultaneously, raise your right arm diagonally to the right and look towards your hand. Take a few deep breaths and return to the start position. Now repeat both the stretches with the left leg.
9. Both knees-to-chest posture
While lying on your back, bring both your knees as close to your chest as you can while holding your legs from the shin. Rock your body from side to side on your back as you breathe gently. This posture will help you relax your back.
10. Corpse pose
After doing the gentle stretches mentioned above, simply lie down flat on your back. Extend all your arms and legs out straight. Your ankles shall roll open towards the sides and your palms should face up. Just relax in this position and continue to breathe deeply. After a while you may roll over to the side as you feel the need to drift into slumber.