This relaxation pose will help you let go of stress — and fall asleep

Like many of us, you may sometimes have trouble getting to sleep. You’re wired from the stressful day. You’re worried about all the things you didn’t get done today — and all the things you have to do tomorrow.

Yoga Medicine founder Tiffany Cruikshank says this unique pose will help you quiet those racing thoughts. Granted, it looks weird, but it can help you mentally and physically unwind after a long day at work -- or right before bedtime.

What it does

“This one is really great for stress,” she said. “It’s also really helpful for sleep … it’s really good to use it right before you go to bed, and literally crawl right into bed afterwards.”

What to do

Grab a mat or a blanket and find find some empty wall space. Sit alongside the wall and then carefully roll onto your back and “climb” your feet up the wall. (You probably want to do this in bare feet or wearing socks, to avoid scuff marks!) You may need to wriggle your butt to get it closer to the wall, but don’t worry about creating a perfect 90-degree angle with your body.

The point, she said, is “to find a comfortable position for your legs and your hamstrings so … that you can relax here,” Cruikshank said. “Then, close your eyes and just start to notice your breath.”

How much

Cruikshank suggested breathing and relaxing in this pose for up to 10 minutes. “I like to imagine the mind literally opening and spilling all the thoughts out. You’ll start to notice the internal state of your body start to shift as you relax. You’ll feel the heart rate slow down.”

When you’re done, slowly take yourself out of the pose: Bend the knees, gently roll over to your side and rest there a moment, and then, when you’re ready, press yourself up.

Sweet dreams!

Go online to see Cruikshank demonstrate this move at latimes.com/TryThis, where you’ll also find more videos from top health and fitness experts.

rene.lynch@latimes.com

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