Having some trouble getting to sleep, or waking up refreshed?
You are not alone.
With the stresses of everyday life, it becomes more difficult to get restful sleep when we bring our worries and anxieties to bed with us.
By transitioning into bedtime with some yoga, we are able to calm our minds and bodies enough to be able to get to sleep without the usual tossing and turning. The deep breathing and gentle stretches soothe our nerves and relieves the built-up tension accumulated from our day, cueing our bodies to begin slowing down for peaceful sleep.
So get your pajamas on, a few pillows ready for props close by, and relax into these 8 yoga poses to help you feel restored for a good night’s rest.
Always honor your body where it’s at and do what feels good. If you can’t do a pose due to an injury, skip it and go on to the next one.
Remember to do each pose with full, steady breaths.
1. Head-to-knee forward bend
- Sit with your legs in front of you.
- Inhale and bend your left knee, bringing your left foot toward your thigh.
- Exhale and lean forward. If you’re able to rest your head on your knee, do so. If not, then keep comfortably it up.
- Remain in this pose for 1 to 5 minutes.
- Repeat on the opposite leg.
2. Supported half shoulder stand
- Lay on your back with your hands at your sides.
- Inhale and bring your legs up, supporting your back.
- Rest your knees on your forehead and try to keep your chin away from your chest.
- Hold the pose for 3 to 10 full steady breaths.
3. Supported plow pose
- From the previous pose, extend your legs to reach beyond your head.
- If you can’t touch the floor behind you, use some books, a chair or whatever you can find to support your legs.
- Hold this pose 1 to 5 minutes.
- To release, bring your knees back to your forehead and slowly roll your spine down to the ground.
4. Propped reclining bound angle pose
- Take some pillows and place them behind you.
- Place the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to spread apart.
- Lower your torso onto the pillows, creating an arch with your back.
- Relax your arms where they feel most comfortable.
- Stay in this pose for 1 to 5 minutes (or more), ideally the same amount of time you spent in the shoulder and plough pose.
5. Seated bound angle pose
- Come back up to seated with the soles of your feet touching.
- Close your eyes and breathe deeply for 10 full breaths.
- Lean forward to stretch if that feels good to you before moving on to the next pose.
6. Thread-the-needle pose
- Move onto all fours, then as you exhale slowly lower your right shoulder onto the ground as you extend your right arm under and across your body.
- Stay in this position 1 to 3 minutes.
- Inhale to come back up to starting position and repeat on the opposite side.
7. Extended Puppy pose
- Starting on all fours, move your hands about a foot or so in front of you then exhale as you move your head towards the ground.
- Rest your forehead on the floor, relaxing your neck.
- Lightly pull your hips towards your feet to feel the stretch. To go deeper, bring your chest closer to the ground, opening your shoulders and creating a small arch along your spine.
If you are looking to deepen your shoulder stretch, put your hands together behind your head and relax into the pose.
8. Legs up the wall pose
This can be done with or without support.
If you are looking for a little more relaxation, place a pillow close to the wall to support your hips. Be sure to shift your lower back on to the pillow before placing your feet up the wall.
- Sit with your left side against the wall then turn your body to the left, slowly bringing your legs up the wall as you begin to lie down, using your hands to maintain balance.
- Move your bottom as close to the wall as you can.
- You can rest your hands with your palms face up or you can use it as a moment to give your scalp a nice, slow massage.
- Hold for 5-15 minutes.
- Come down slowly onto your right side.
Now that your body is relaxed and your mind is calm, go to bed!