So, how’s your sleep?
Do you fall asleep easily? Stay asleep? Wake up feeling refreshed?
I get it, sleep is tricky. With life moving at such a fast pace nowadays and technology beckoning us every minute, it is hard to shut down enough to get a good night’s sleep, much less a great one.
We can all improve our sleep by learning a few easy techniques from yoga with a soupcon of essential oils!
Yoga poses can make all the difference by helping you let go of tension and begin to relax, and adding essential oils will make the effect even more powerful.
Here are a few of my favorite essential oils to support great sleep.
Lavender: Probably the most famous for calming oils. This one is perfect to diffuse, rub on feet, spray on pillow and linens.
Cedarwood: Amazing oil for that overactive brain. If you have a hard time falling asleep because of all the thoughts, or those thoughts keep you up in the middle of the night, Cedarwood might be a solution for you. Take a drop and rub it on your neck right at the base of the brain, rub on feet or diffuse.
Valor (a proprietary blend from Young Living): For when you have the “crazies,” as I lovingly call them. You know, those moments when all you can think of are the 12 things you “need to do, should have done, wish you had 26 hours to the day because there is so much to do.” Valor on your feet will draw in all the ways you are torn and ground them down into your feet. Amazing for sleep!
Vetiver: Earth. In a bottle. Grounding, grounding, grounding.
Valerian: Not going to lie, this one is stinky. No way around it. But it is so potent and loving for your nervous system. Sleep will be amazing! Rub on feet and put on your socks — then you don’t have to smell it.
Once you are oiled up, here are some yoga poses to help. Choose one or more.
Pose #1: Shoulder Rolls and Neck Stretches
This series will help you relax the tension in the shoulders and neck.
- Sitting in Easy Cross-Legged pose, do a few rounds of shoulder rolls. Move from the shoulder blades, making large circles with the arms.
- Then tip one ear to your shoulder. Hold for three full breaths.
- Turn the head down, like you are looking under your arm. You’ll get a nice stretch on the back of the neck.
- Repeat on the other side.
Pose #2: Extended Child’s Pose
This pose will help you deepen the stretch to your shoulders.
- Come onto all fours, table position or stand behind a table or desk and place your hands on the edge.
- Slowly reach back with your hips and get a lovely stretch for your shoulders.
- SO EASY and an amazing counter stretch to being on your computer all day.
Pose #3: Child’s Pose
This pose will help calm your mind more deeply and stretch the lower back.
Move from Extended Child’s Pose into full Child’s Pose. Focus on drawing the breath into your back body, especially your lower back.
Flip over on your back to give your spine a twist to release.
Pose #4: Lying Twist
A lovely release for back tension.
- Lying on your back, bring your knees to your chest.
- Take your arms out to the side and slowly lower your legs down to the left.
- If you can’t get them all the way to the floor, place a blanket or cushion under your shins.
- Hold and breathe. Focus on releasing the spine and the abdominals.
- Bring the legs back to center, pause for one breath, then go to the other side.
Put your legs up the wall (sometimes I do it in bed).
Pose #5: Feet up the Wall
A very calming pose for the nervous system.
- Sit sideways to a wall with your hip right up next to it.
- Rotate your torso around so your legs swing up the wall and you lay down like the photo shows.
- Stay for as long as it feels good for you.
Note: This pose is not appropriate for anyone who has high blood pressure or issues with their eyes so that higher blood pressure in them would be injurious such as a detached retina.
Final Pose: Savasana (Relaxation)
- Take a deep breath and let yourself completely relax.
- If your lower back is tight or uncomfortable, place a rolled blanket under your knees. If your shoulders or neck is uncomfortable, place a small lift under your head.
Just doing one of these poses will make a difference. If you feel you can only do one, do it for a few days and see how it affects you. When you are ready, add more.
Here’s to a GREAT night’s sleep!
Photos by Amy Zellmer.