“I rest well. I sleep peacefully, and I awaken with joy” Louise Hay
I shared a comment on facebook a few weeks ago on how I solved my night of insomnia (restless legs, restless body and an overexcited mind) with a simple yoga relaxation pose called “legs up the wall at midnight”. Actually, its only called legs up the wall, but adding – at midnight – sounds so much more exotic.
Anyway, it worked wonders. After no more than 5 minutes, everything in my body was calmer. I went back to bed and slept like a baby. I kid you not it happened that quickly.
End your day with a calming practice:
So, if crashing on the couch, drinking mugs of hot milk or watching hours of TV is not working for you as a cure for insomnia then you might like to try (in addition to legs up the wall ) the relaxing yoga pose called child pose. Its healing qualities are specifically aimed to settle and calm the brain and soothe the nervous system.
The best part is there are few variations of child pose to best suit your body. All involve bending your head forward, which is a well known trigger for relaxing the mind and body.
Three variations on child pose:
1 – Modified child pose with bolster and/or blankets (picture 1)
2 – Modified child pose with chair (picture 3)
3 – Child pose with forehead resting on floor and hands resting along side the body and beside the feet (picture 2)
I love child pose with my forehead resting on the floor, as it gives my back and spine a lovely stretch. On the days when I’m feeling fragile leaning forward in child pose over a bolster is incredibly soothing and relaxing. There is something deeply nurturing when you allow your whole body to be fully supported by the bolster.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a bolster simply use a few pillows or pile of blankets to get the same effect.
Benefits of child pose:
1 – Turns your back to world helping you let go from your day
2 – Encourages you to breath into your back and kidneys (breathing into your kidneys will help release fear)
3 – Great for relieving tension in the lower back
4 – Relieves tension in your shoulders
5 – Quietens the mind
6 – Helps relieve stress and fatigue
7 – Gentle stretches hips, thighs and ankles
8 – More blood flows to the mind (this can help with dizziness and headaches)
9 – Increases flexibility in the knees
10 – Calms the central nervous system
11 – Releases any heaviness in the body
12 – Relaxes your breathing
How to get comfortable in child pose:
Before you start, remember the aim of any restorative yoga pose is to be extra comfortable and not restrict your breathing at all. Restricted breathing means your body needs more space and you’ll need to come out of the pose a little and modify.
- Begin by sitting on your heels with knees together or slightly apart whatever feels more comfortable
- Gently bend forward so your head rests on the ground in front of your knees
- You may feel more comfortable placing one or two pillows under your forehead. Comfort is the key.
- Place your hands, palms up on either side of your body and next to your feet. If this feels uncomfortable then simply stretch your hands out in front of you.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath
- Breath slowly and deeply by imaging you are gently pressing the belly against the thighs on your inhale
Let go of fear:
According to Chinese Medicine your kidneys are known to hold fear. Being fearful of the past or future can often keep us awake at night. And I’m no different. So sometimes I place my hands over my kidneys and breath and smile into them, using my exhale to let go and soften my kidneys. It does make a difference.
Ways you can modify child pose:
Widen your knees to feel more comfortable and breath more deeply
Rest your forehead on your folded arms
Rest your forehead on the floor with your arms resting out in front of you
Rest your whole chest and head on a bolster or pile of pillows (picture 1)
Sit on a chair and fold forward (as in the photo below – picture 3)
This is NOT an ideal pose if you have knee problems, ear or eye infections
If you have trouble sleeping and have started practising child pose let me know how your body responds and if it was successful for you. Or if you prefer “legs up the wall” to get back to sleep.
Peace, love and chocolate, Carole
Know you are always welcome to email me
healthylivinglounge ( @ ) gmail.com
You can also grab Carole’s daily rejuvenation prompts by clicking here
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You might like to read:
This is an awesome book if you are keen to practice more moments of mindfulness in your life. Present Moment Wonderful Moment by Thich Nhat Hanh. Simple versus you can repeat when sweeping the floor, washing the dishes or drinking tea such as: “This cup of tea in my two hands, mindfulness held perfectly. My mind and body dwell in the very here and now.”
Join Carole at one of her rejuvenation or specialized retreats:
Carole’s retreats include deliciously gentle restorative yoga, therapeutic breathing practices, intuitively guided meditations and other profound nurturing rituals.
Everyone is very welcome. Perfect for anyone, any age.