5 Yoga Poses for a Better Night’s Sleep
Updated: Apr 20, 2021
1. Child's Pose - Balasana
Child's pose cultivates a sense of calmness and grounding. From sitting on your heels, bring your big toes to touch, open your knees wide and melt your chest forward. Extend your arms out in front of you and rest your forehead on the earth. You may gently rock your forehead side to side to release tension. Take deep breaths inhaling and exhaling through your nose. Stay in this pose for 3-5 minutes.
2. Standing Forward Fold - Uttanasana
In this pose you can relieve tension from your neck and low back, while finding a gentle stretch in the back of your legs. From standing with your feet hips width distance apart, take a deep inhale. Exhale and bend forward as you hing from the hips. Let your head hang heavy. I personally like to interlace my fingers at the nape of my neck but you could also grab opposite elbows. This will help to traction your spine down. The goal isn’t to touch the floor so don’t strain yourself. If you feel strain take a slight bend in your knees. Remember to take deep breaths and hold this posture for 3-5 rounds of breath. To come out of this pose, take a deep bend in your knees, inhale and slowly roll up to a stand with your head being the last to come up.
3. Reclined Bound Angle Pose - Supta Baddha Konasana
I know when we get to this pose in class that we are winding down and heading for relaxation. This pose provides a gentle stretch in your hips. While lying on your back, bring the soles of your feet to touch and open your knees wide like a book. Place one hand over your heart and the other over your belly. Breathe deeply, feeling the rise and fall of your belly. Hold this pose for 3-5 minutes. When you’re ready to more on gently close your knees like a book.
4. Legs Up The Wall Pose - Viparita Karani
Mini back store here... years ago, like 10 years, I had trouble sleeping. I mean I couldn’t fall asleep for hours and when I did, I’d soon wake up and be up for what felt like all night! I found this pose and that ALL change. I’ll praise this pose for years to come and always recommend it when I hear someone has trouble sleeping. While lying on your back, straighten your legs to the sky. You can also snuggle your booty up to a wall and rest your legs up the wall for more support. Using a wall for support is my preferred method. Mind your breath and stay in this pose for 3-5 minutes. You may stay as long as 15 minutes in this posture. While in it, you’ll calm your mind and your nervous system. If you have low back, knee or hip pain/injury, you can use a chair to rest your legs on. Make sure that your shins are parallel to the ceiling for proper alignment.
5. Corpse Pose - Savasana
The ultimate in resting poses. The pose to end class, and return to normal breath. This pose promotes stress relief, can reduce anxiety and headaches and helps to lower blood pressure. Finish up your wind down with this pose either on the floor or in bed. While lying on your back, inhale and hug both knees in toward your chest. Take a deep exhale and and let your arms and legs lay long, take up space, turn your toes out and let your palms face up. Relax your shoulders away from your ears. Close your eyes and breath as you settle in. Stay in this pose for 3-5 minutes or until your drift off to sleep.
Try these poses on their own or together (and in the order above) before bed. Maybe try incorporating some relaxing music or rain or ocean sounds. I personally like to spray myself with some lavender to help me relax and begin to unwind before bed.
Let me know what you think or if you have any tips for falling asleep.
photos by Jake Westfall from On Twelve