If you've been tossing and turning throughout the night and unable to find a comfortable way to get some quality shut-eye, a little bit of yoga just might do the trick.
According to 2012 survey from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, more than 55 percent of people who did yoga reported that it helped them get better sleep. Additionally, more than 85 percent of participants stated practicing yoga helped reduce stress.
That's mostly due to the fact that, unlike running, HIIT or other high-intensity workouts, yoga calms your mind and body, easing both into dreamland more quickly and fully. So if you've been having trouble sleeping, take a few minutes each night before getting under the covers and do this one yoga pose to start your journey of experiencing better sleep.
How to Do Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
- Sit with your left side against a wall. Your lower back should rest against a bolster or pillow if you’re using one.
- Gently turn your body to the left and bring your legs up onto the wall. If you're using a bolster, shift your lower back onto the bolster before bringing your legs up the wall. Use your hands for balance as you shift your weight.
- Lower your back to the floor and lie down. Rest your shoulders and head on the floor.
- Shift your weight from side to side and scoot your sit bones close to the wall.
- Let your arms rest open at your sides, palms facing up. If you’re using a bolster, your lower back should now be fully supported by it.
- Let the heads of your thigh bones (the part of the bone that connects the hip socket) release and relax, dropping toward the back of your pelvis.
- Close your eyes and aim to stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, breathing in and out through your nose.
- To come out of this pose, slowly push yourself away from the wall and slide your legs down to the right side. Use your hands to press yourself back up into a seated position.
If you’re able to and it’s comfortable, feel free to do Legs Up the Wall against your bed’s headboard. After being in this pose for a few minutes, slowly transition yourself into a comfortable sleeping position.
5 Reasons to Do Legs Up the Wall Pose Every Night
1. Helps Relieve Lower Back Pain
While in Legs Up the Wall pose, pressure and tension are released from the spine, especially if you're in a bed or using a bolster or cushion.
2. Gently Stretches the Hamstrings
The more you practice this pose and the closer you're able to get your hips to the wall, the more stretch you'll feel in your hamstrings.
3. Promotes Pelvic Floor Relaxation
In Legs Up the Wall pose, your pelvic muscles naturally ease into relaxation, allowing tension to release from the pelvic floor.
4. Soothes Cramped Feet and Legs
Taking the pressure off your legs and feet by inverting them and having the soles of your feet face upward toward the ceiling can help reduce any swelling in the lower half of your body, ease pain and release any tension that may have been caused from sitting and/or standing all day.
5. Provides Relaxation
Being in this pose, especially when combined with mindful breathing, can help slow down your heart rate and bring you back to the present moment. This not only creates a more calm environment, but also helps reduce stress, anxiety and insomnia, thus creating a therapeutic environment and giving you the opportunity to doze off more easily into a better night's sleep.