With all the lazy sleep-ins until midday, late nights catching up on the films you missed from last year, or socialising with friends until the wee hours, transitioning from the relaxed schedule of Christmas holidays to early mornings back at work can be brutal. Suffice to say, it’s now high time to start prioritising good sleep hygiene, so the 6am alarm wakeup becomes somewhat less jarring. But despite our best intentions, that familiar toss and turn and restless nights when you just can’t get to sleep can still happen to the best of us. Enter three simple yoga poses that will soon have you snoozing – and keep your asleep all night long.

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1.    BUTTERFLY

Believe to aid stress, anxiety and depression, the Butterfly pose (also known as Baddha Konasana) is ideal for calming buzzing minds (sound familiar? We thought so). Physically, it helps boost blood circulation, enhance hip flexibility, and even helps stimulate female reproductive systems.

Get into the position:

From a seated posture, bring the soles of your feet to touch close to your groin, and let your knees fall to the floor. (Tip: for extra comfort, you may want to grab a couple of pillows and place one under each side for your legs to rest on). Bending from the hip, recline forward, letting your head rest towards the floor. Breathe deeply, allowing the breath to move in and out of the body. To exit the pose, draw your knees towards one another.

2.     SEATED FORWARD BEND

The Paschimottanasana pose is believed to teach surrender and patience, while the action of folding forward towards the floor calms the nervous system and emotions (perfect for anxious minds pre-slumber). It’s also a great stretch for the back of the body, and for releasing those pesky tight hamstrings.

Get into the position:

Sitting up, with your legs stretched out in front of you, take a deep breath and reach your arms up. Then hinging at the hip, release your arms down and your fingers towards your toes as you exhale. (Don’t worry if you don’t reach your toes – remember, the priority is here is relaxing your body and falling asleep). Let your hands rest on the top of your shins or near your feet. Stay in this position, breathing in and out slowly.

3.     RECLINED SUPINE TWIST

The relaxing Supta Matsyendrasana pose is a winner for relieving mental fatigue, and is also said to lead to broader emotional balance. The gentle twists are great for spinal flexibility and as the kidneys are given a light squeeze, it helps improve digestion too.

Get into the position:

Lay on your back and draw your knees towards your chest. Give them a little hug and then let your knees fall to the right, so they are at a 90-degree angle. Your arms are in a T shape, straight out at shoulder level. Gently turn your head to face left and relax your jaw. Slowly take three deep breathes and focus on your exhale. Switch sides, so your knees are to the left and you’re looking towards your opposite shoulder. Repeat the breathing exercise.

SWEET DREAMS

To ensure you get the most blissful shut-eye imaginable, follow these three poses with Savasana. Once tucked up in bed, lie flat on your back and pull the covers back over you. With your legs and feet relaxed and your arms to your sides with palms pointing upwards, breathe gently and relax. Now nod off to sleep (if you haven’t already…)

Story by Natasha Ciesielski

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