Yoga Moves to Snuff Out Sleepless Nights

Plow through to-do list at work, check. Brave rush hour on the LIE, check. Make dinner, check. Walk the dog, check. Fall asleep….After a busy day, the last one should be the easiest. But more than a third of American adults don’t get enough sleep (seven or more hours per day), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Counting sheep is a traditional way to try to drift off into dreamland. Yoga instructor Colleen Saidman Yee, once dubbed the “first lady of yoga” by the New York Times, prefers to say ohm. She shared yoga moves for better sleep with Pulse. Readers can learn more of Saidman’s favorite yoga poses when she hosts a Facebook live on Pulse’s page Wednesday, April 18 at 1:30pm. (An archived video will be available after the completion of the session.)

Related Content: The New Body

The Sequence
Why Saidman loves it: “This sequence works the legs, releases the hamstrings and quads, dispels tension from shoulders and promotes exhalation, which increases relaxation.”

Warrior 2
15 breaths per side

How to: Step your feet 3-4 feet apart. Raise your arms so they are parallel to the floor. Turn your right foot slightly out. The heel should align with the left heel. Bend your left knee over the left ankle so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. Try to bring the left thigh parallel to the floor. Slightly push the pelvis forward. Hold for 15 breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.

Standing Forward Bend
10 breaths

How to: Place blocks where the crown of your head will be when you bend forward. Stand with legs hip distance apart. Bend from the hip joints. Try to touch fingertips to the floor beside your feet, if possible. You can also hold your ankles. Hold for 10 breaths.

10 breaths per side
How to: With the back knee on the floor, take both hands to the inside of the front leg. Bend your elbows and release your head and neck. Hold for 10 breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.

Standing Forward Bend
5 breaths per side
How to: This time, interlace the fingers behind your back and take the arms overhead. Hold for five breaths. Change the interlace and take arms overhead again.

Simple Cross-Legged Pose
5 breaths per side
How to: Sit cross-legged on a rolled up blanket. Wrap arms in eagle pose. (Stretch your arms straight forward, parallel to the floor. Cross arms in front of your torso so that the right arm is above the left. The backs of your hands should be facing each other. Bend elbows, and make sure forearms are perpendicular to the floor.) Hold for five breaths. Switch sides so the opposite arm and leg are on top. Hold for five breaths.

Child’s Pose (Arms Beside Body)
15 breaths

Bring your knees together and your buttocks to your feet. Rest the torso over thighs. Rest the forehead to the mat. If this is uncomfortable, curl up on your side and hug knees into chest.

45 breaths total, split into 15 breaths, followed by five minutes of meditation
Rest calves on the seat of a chair. Place your body weight on the shins. Rest the heels of your hands on your temple skin and touch fingers together at the crown of the head. Hold for 15 breaths. Then, rest your hands lightly on your face, covering your eyes. Hold for 15 breaths. Place hands on your belly and hold for 15 breaths. Release arms alongside your body and stay for another five minutes. “It’s best not to fall asleep here. Save that for your comfy bed!” said Saidman.

beth ann clyde

beth ann clyde

Beth Ann Clyde is a social strategist of Long Island Pulse. Have a story idea or just want to say hello? Email or reach out on Twitter @BAClyde.