As countless people have discovered, meditation is incredibly good for relaxing, leaving the day’s stress behind, being in the moment and letting go. Cross your legs, seated on the edge of a neatly rolled blanket or thick book. Extend your spine upwards and relax your shoulders at the same time.
It’s good to have set an alarm for the amount of time you want to sit (one, five, ten minutes or longer!). Now start to breathe more deeply. Focus on the sensation of breathing and each time your mind wanders away, just come back to the air coming in and flowing out.
If you’re distracted by a particular subject, or a feeling or experience, see if you can allow yourself to be just as you are — even if it’s frustrated, sad, angry, or excited. For right now, instead of being distracted by it, just “be” it. And come back to your breath.
Viparita Karani — Legs Up the Wall Pose
Find a free wall where there’s enough space on the ground to lie down and prop your legs against the wall. Let your arms rest at your sides and your shoulders melt into the ground. Breathe into your whole chest.
If you’re on the stiff side, you may want to be a little further from the wall for a gentler stretch. And for anyone with lower back issues, you can try tucking a blanket or pillow under your tailbone as a support.
If you’ve always been skeptical about yoga, then here’s your chance: you don’t have to go to a yoga studio filled with super-fit advanced yogis. You don’t have to chant anything or light incense (though of course you may, if you like). Quietly, secretly, without telling anyone at all, you can try these poses to help with sleep problems, anxiety, or stress, and just see what happens.