The Insomniac's 3 A.M. Yoga Routine

Photo: Tara Stiles by Beth Bizchoff for Slim Calm Sexy Yoga
Photo: Tara Stiles by Beth Bizchoff for Slim Calm Sexy Yoga

By Corrie Pikul

The Technique to Distract You from Eating Frosting with a Spoon


Alternate Nostril Breathing
This breathing technique will help you tap into the part of the brain called the insula, which is associated with cravings as well as moral intuition, creativity and empathy, says Tara Stiles, yoga instructor and author of the upcoming Yoga Cures. "I find that it really helps calm everything down, starting with the mind and continuing down through the rest of the body."

How: Sit cross-legged with your back supported either by the headboard or the back of the couch. Press your ring finger over your left nostril and inhale four counts through your right nostril. Then, close off your right nostril with your thumb so both sides of your nose are closed. Hold all the air for four counts. Release your ring finger and let all the air out of your left nostril for four counts. Reverse this pattern by inhaling through the left nostril, holding both closed and then exhaling out the right. Repeat this breathing pattern for three to five minutes-or until you're more interested in sweet dreams than sweet treats.


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Photo: Tara Stiles by Beth Bischoff for Slim Calm Sexy Yoga
Photo: Tara Stiles by Beth Bischoff for Slim Calm Sexy Yoga

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Pigeon Pose
Stiles says this is one of the best ways to release physical and emotional tension that builds up in the hips. When students do this pose at her New York studio, Strala Yoga, she can hear them sighing loudly in relief.

How: (If you have knee problems, you might want to skip this one.) You can do this on your bed or on the floor. Come into a low lunge with your right leg forward. Inch your right foot over toward your left hand and ease your right knee to the ground by your right hand. Rest your hips on the ground (or on a blanket) and gently lower your torso over your legs. Make a pillow with your hands and rest your forehead on them. Stay here for 10 long, deep breaths, or until you feel all the resistance melt out of your hips.

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Photo: Tara Stiles by Beth Bischoff for Slim Calm Sexy Yoga
Photo: Tara Stiles by Beth Bischoff for Slim Calm Sexy Yoga

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Happy Baby Pose
This is another great tension-reliever, and Stiles says the joyful rocking motion can remind you of happy moments in your past.

How: While lying on your back on the floor or the bed, hug both knees into your chest. Grab the outside edge of your right foot with your right hand, and the outside of your left foot with your left hand. The bottoms of your feet should be turned up to the ceiling. Gently lower your knees toward the ground by pulling your feet down. Rock your body from side to side. Stay here for five to 10 long, deep breaths, or until all those worst-case scenarios seem preposterous.

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Photo: Tara Stiles by Beth Bischoff for Slim Calm Sexy Yoga
Photo: Tara Stiles by Beth Bischoff for Slim Calm Sexy Yoga

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Knee-Hug Hip Release
By opening the hips and lower back, this deceptively easy move yields great rewards. It's also possible to do discreetly in bed without waking the person or pet sleeping next to you.

How: Lie flat on your back. Hug your right knee gently into your chest. With each exhale, draw your knee closer toward your right shoulder. Stay here for five deep breaths, or until you feel ready to hug your pillow (or your partner) instead of your knee.


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