We all know the importance of a good night’s sleep – but it’s easier said than done.
Switching off a busy brain to unwind is harder than ever in an increasingly connected world.
Simba Sleep, the creators of the world’s most advanced mattress has partnered with leading yoga instructor Clara Baker to curate a yoga routine that can be easily done from the comfort of a bed, and that is guaranteed to ease us into a calming state of mind to aid sleep.
This gentle yoga practice is a great remedy for anyone who struggle to clock off. The routine is designed to re-balance, calm and realign our chakras through simple stretches and controlled breathing techniques:
Pose 1: Sukhasana (Simple Cross-Legged Pose) and Nadi Shuddhi (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
- Find a comfortable sitting position that allows the spine to be straight without creating tension in the body or requiring too much effort.
- Close the eyes and start to tune into the breath. Breathing through the nose, make the breath as long and deep as you can, filling the lungs from the bottom to the top.
- Begin to count the length of the breath silently in your head, making the inhalation and exhalation equal.
- Once you have established a steady rhythm, raise the right hand and rest the first two fingers between the eyebrows. Bring the thumb to rest on the right nostril and the ring finger to rest on the left nostril.
- Exhale fully through both nostrils to empty the lungs. Closing the right nostril with the thumb, inhale through the left nostril.
- Closing the left nostril with the ring finger, exhale through the right nostril. Inhale through the right nostril, close and exhale through the left. Inhale left, close, exhale right. Inhale right, close exhale left.
- Continue like this, changing sides only after the inhalation for 5 – 10 breaths. Make each breath as slow and deep as you can.
This breathing exercise helps to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain, calm the mind and slow down the breath, preparing the body to switch from ‘fight or flight’ to ‘rest and restore’ mode.
Pose 2: Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
- From a seated position place the soles of the feet together and open the knees outwards. Take the hands onto the feet and open them out like a book, with the outside edge and little toes touching and the big toes and inner seam apart.
- Inhaling lift the chest and look up, exhaling fold forward. Allow the body to soften and relax.
- Breathe slowly and stay here for 5 – 10 breaths.
All forward folding postures have a grounding and relaxing effect on the body and mind. Baddha Konasana particularly helps to release tension along the spine and deep into the hips.
Pose 3: Ardha Matseyendrasna (Simple Seated Twist)
- Bring the knees together with the feet flat on the mattress in front of you.
- Place both hands on the knees and inhaling lift the chest to sit tall.
- As you exhale turn to your right, wrapping your left arm around your knees and taking the right hand onto the mattress behind you for support.
- Turn your gaze to look over your right shoulder.
- As you inhale feel the spine grow long and as you exhale use your left arm to gently twist a little deeper.
- Stay here breathing slowly for 5 – 10 breaths. Repeat as above twisting to the left.
Twisting postures have a balancing and neutralising effect on the body and mind. This pose will help to release tension all along the spine whilst opening the chest and shoulders, a great antidote to hunched or slumped posture brought on by stress and desk work.
Pose 4: Apanasana (Knees to Chest Pose)
- Next, lie down on your back and hug both knees in towards your chest.
- Allow the arms and shoulders to be relaxed.
- As you inhale feel the legs lift away from the abdomen slightly and as you exhale use the arms to gently draw them in a little closer.
- Breath slowly here for 5 – 10 breaths.
This pose, which is reminiscent of the fetal position has a soothing effect on the body and mind. The lower back is gently stretched and released, whilst the internal organs are compressed and released, aiding digestion.
Pose 5: Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist)
- From knees to chest pose, stretch your left arm out on the mattress beside you and keeping the right hand on the knees, roll the legs all the way over to the right until they come to rest on the mattress.
- Turn the head to look down the left arm.
- Stay here breathing slowly for 5 – 10 breaths.
This pose, is great for releasing tension and toxins from the body. Twisting the spine releases a build-up of tension held here and re-balances the body. Compressing and twisting the major detoxifying organs of the torso will stimulate your body to detox whilst you sleep.
Pose 6: Supta Baddha Konasana Reclining Bound (Angle Pose)
- Draw the knees back into the centre and hug them in one last time.
- Then place the feet back on the mattress with the soles touching, allow the knees to fall out to the side.
- Slowly begin to lengthen the exhalation until it reaches double the length of the inhalation. So, if your inhalation lasts for a count of 3 your exhalation will last for a count of 6. Do this slowly and gradually. Never strain or hold the breath.
- Stay here breathing deeply for as long as desired.
In this pose the spine rests in a supported neutral position whilst gravity slowly opens the hips. Extending the exhalation has the beneficial effect of helping the body switch from the sympathetic to parasympathetic nervous system. This means that we switch from ‘fight or flight’ to ‘rest and restore’ mode. Counting the breath steadily also has the effect of calming and centering the mind, helping overcome the common ‘racing mind’ syndrome.
Please visit: simbasleep.com for more tips on how to get the perfect night’s sleep.