Submitted by Nicole Schweizer, SOYA, RYT200 from Red Deer Alberta
Over 40% of Canadians suffer from sleep disorders.  A recent Harvard study concluded that by practicing just 30-45 minutes of yoga a day, people fell asleep 30% faster and reduced their nighttime waking by 35%. 
Adhomukha Virasana2Restorative yoga is one style of yoga that helps you relax and let go of the daily stresses.  If you suffer specifically from hormonal insomnia, here is one yoga pose that may help you to sleep: Adho mukha virasana (Downward Facing Hero Pose).
How to get into the pose:
Start kneeling on your mat. To support sensitive ankles, place a blanket on top of your mat. Place one or two bolsters or pillows between your legs. Inhale, with the exhalation lower the chest forward and down over the bolsters. Chest and head are supported.
A blanket to fill and support the space between hips and heels brings relief to your knees. Skin on your forehead is supposed to move towards the eyeballs, opposed to the hairline. Optional, feel free to support the arms as well, another pillow will bring release. Hold for 5 minutes. To release from the pose gently push off the bolster with arms at either side and remain sitting for a few breathes before moving on.
Pranayama: 5-3-5 Inhale for 5 counts, hold breath for 3, exhale for 5 counts. If you are new to breathing exercises, start with 4-2-4.
Benefits: stimulates Parasympathetic Nervous System, relaxation response; centers and grounds; releases spine and shoulders; very beneficial for hormonal insomnia; supports digestion; gently stretches hips, ankles; releases lower back.
Precautions: Pregnancy (open knees wider, move bolster towards the head), diarrhea, knees, ankles.
Nicole Schweizer, SOYA RYT200 is leading workshops on “Yoga for Better Sleep” at Red Deer Hot Yoga. Level 1 is May 24th and Level 2 is June 7th.  In these consecutive workshop we will be looking at the definition of sleep, the types, conditions and causes of sleep disorders. You will learn how yoga can be a powerful tool to improve your sleep and well-being!  For rates, registration & questions please visit