Stretch and ease yourself into the land of nod with these asanas from expert Sue Fullerer
This breathing technique will help to calm your mind and encourage you to breathe slowly and completely. Sit on the edge of your bed or kneel on the centre. Make sure that your spine is straight, broaden your upper back and relax your shoulders. Lightly close your eyes and breathe slowly through your nose. Slowly inhale for a count of four or longer and exhale for the same amount of time. Acknowledge the natural pause at the end of the inhalation and exhalation and lengthen each pause a tiny bit. As you establish this smooth steady flow of breath, you may lengthen the inhalation and exhalation too if it’s comfortable to do so. When you are ready, lift your right hand so that it’s in front of your face. Place your thumb against your right nostril and exhale and inhale through your left. In the natural pause after the inhalation, close your left nostril with your ring finger and open your right nostril. Exhale and inhale through your right nostril. In the pause, close your right nostril and open the left. Continue with this technique for 20 or more complete breaths, then relax your right arm and breathe slowly.
Although this posture is often viewed as an energising one because it opens the front side of the body, it’s ideal at bed time. This is because it’s great for calming the digestive system and many people struggle to sleep when this part of their body is still active. This pose will gently stretch the digestive organs and assist with moving waste and gas out of the body. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the bed or the ground. Position your arms alongside your body, push down into your feet and slowly lift your hips up. Breathe slowly for 20 or more complete breaths – do not force the posture and make sure the back of your head is not resting on a pillow.
This posture is very soothing and helps to relax the nervous system. Come to kneeling and relax your forehead on the bed, or the ground if you’re on the floor. Keep your bottom on your heels and slowly reach your arms forward. Breathe slowly for 20 or more complete breaths through your nose.
This posture will help remove tension in the hips and the lower back. Begin with the knees drawn in towards the chest. Extend your feet up towards the ceiling, keeping your knees bent and your feet flexed. Hold on to the outsides of your feet, relax your neck, shoulders and face and breathe slowly through your nose. As you relax into the pose, allow your hips to become heavy and your lower back to expand. Remain here, breathing slowly for 20 or more complete breaths.
This posture is ideal prior to falling asleep – you can even do it while lying in bed under the covers, with your head on the pillow. Lie comfortably on your back with your legs extended and your arms alongside your body, close your eyes and breathe slowly and completely through your nose. Allow your body to become heavy as you exhale and feel yourself drifting further into relaxation. By focusing on the breath entering and leaving your body, the mind will become less active, and sleeping becomes achievable.Sue Fuller is the creator of the Yoga 2 Hear range of audio yoga classes, which offer an extensive range of yoga classes to rent or own. There is also a selection of guided relaxations and meditations too. For more information visit yoga2hear.co.uk
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