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Have you ever had problems sleeping? Are you exhausted but unable to get to sleep? Does your mind race at night? Do you get a rush of unwanted energy when you really want to fall asleep? If this sounds like you, I know how you feel, and you are not alone: The National Sleep Foundation estimates that three-quarters of Americans have problems sleeping several nights a week. The good news is, yoga can help. A 2009 study in the International Medical Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research found that after patients with sleep problems did two sessions of yoga and meditation during the day, the quality of their sleep improved that night. Having a regular yoga practice rids you of unnecessary energy and keeps tension from hanging around in your body and mind. Practice this routine three times a week, on your mat or even in bed, so that when it’s time to rest you can really rest.
Try the following sequence in bed, staying in each pose for 5 deep inhales and exhales, unless otherwise noted.
Sit up comfortably, with your legs either folded or straight in front of you—whichever is easier for you. Lean slightly back on your pillows or headboard. Close your eyes, rest your hands on your thighs, and just breathe here for a few minutes. This doesn’t have to be a serious meditation—it’s just a short while to do nothing but breathe.
Photo by Women's Health Sep 29, 2011