Do you struggle to fall asleep at night? Here are a few techniques borrowed from yoga/meditation to help you wind down.
If your brain is anything like mine, it struggles to quiet down at night. I often stay up for hours cycling through thoughts - many of which are about how tired I'm going to be the following day if I don't fall asleep soon!
This is super common - and the good news is that there are a number of techniques you can borrow from your time on the mat to help you get to sleep off of it.
Forward Folds and Legs up the Wall
Forward folds are a wonderful way to calm your body and mind. Commit 15 minutes or so to restful forward folds before bed every night if you struggle to wind down. Yin yoga poses such as caterpillar pose (a seated forward fold with your legs together), half butterfly (similar - but with one foot on the inside of the other thigh), full butterfly (fold over with your feet together and knees dropped to either side of the room), or a seated wide legged forward fold (fold over with your legs spread apart) are all wonderfully calming poses. You can hold each for anywhere between 1 to 10 minutes and can support your head/sitting bones/whatever else with pillows or props for maximum comfort. Follow up this practice with 5 to 10 minutes of legs up the wall pose (literally lay with your legs up the wall) and you'll be ready for dreamland in no time.
A great way to reduce mental chatter is to utilize mindfulness techniques - many of which we practice in class. The most helpful ones for me are counting 1 on every inhale and 2 on every exhale, or bringing my focus to a single body part at a time, working my way up from the toes of each foot to the crown of my head. There are many other techniques you can use though! You can, for example, picture your mind as a blank canvas - just observing thoughts and letting them float away rather than attaching to them/engaging with them. Or you can tune into your senses, noticing how each part of your body feels and what you can taste, smell, and hear.
Do you have any other techniques that you use to help yourself get to sleep? Please share them in the comments section below. x