6 Yoga Postures for Better Sleep

  • Yoga

An important part of your well-being is your rest, more so your sleep. All of us need it but not everyone has it easy when it comes to falling asleep. To help you holistically approach your wellness, we've put together 6 poses that will help you with your ease into your bedtime routine. These poses help us calm the body and mind, and the best part is--- most of them can be done in bed with props and pillows!

1. Standing Fold

Roll down, release and let it all go. This bent leg version does not particularly try to engage the leg muscles but instead allows you to relax the upper body down and let go of any contractions on the lower body. Start by standing and grounding the feet hip-width apart, exhaling to tuck the chin in and roll the upper body down. A variation you can take is to cradle the elbows--- you can even rock the upper body from side to side, like your cradling a baby to sleep. Stay for at least 10 breath cycles.

Make sure to: keep the low back relaxed, keep the knees bent and melt the shoulders away from the ears.

2. Cat and Cows

Inhale

Exhale

Set up in all fours on your mat, a rug or even the bed already! Start by placing the hands under the shoulders and the knees under the hips. As you take an inhale, lift the chest and the tailbone up, lengthening the spine. As you exhale, draw the navel in, round the upper back, and tuck the tailbone in. It's a counter-acting movement on the spine and this allows you to gently massage the core and spine. Repeat for at least 5 breath cycles.

Make sure to: keep the movements in the hips and low back gentle, keep the shoulders away from the ears and keep the knees properly supported.

3. Child's Pose

From all-fours, just exhale bring the bum towards the heels and melt the chest down. You can take a parallel knee or a wide knee version. Don't hesitate to put pillows or props under the chest and under the bum. Let the lower body and the upper body softly release down. Stay here for at least 10 breath cycles.

Make sure to: bring the big toes together to connect the right side to the left side and release tension in the upper body.

4. Supine Butterfly

Set up by lying down on your back and bringing the soles of the feet together. You may move your feet further away from the pelvis, giving the hips space to breathe. Support the back, head, and the knees with pillows or props to release and ground them better. Stay for at least 10 breaths.

Make sure to: release any gripping in the hip and in the low back. Keep the arms in a relaxed position either on the belly or out to the side, palms facing up.

5. Supine Twist

While you're at it at lying down, set up by the twist by bending the legs over the hips. Exhale to bring the knees all the way down to the right side and inhale bring the left arm to the side or to a cactus position; lengthen and open the upper body. Stay for at least 10 breath cycles and repeat on the other side. Keep this really zen by putting pillows under or between the legs, under the extending arms' shoulder and under the head.

Make sure to: try to stack the hips over each other as you twist, keep the neck relaxed, open the chest and the low back and try to bring the shoulder that's opening down.

6. Legs up the wall and butterfly variation

Variation

Our last posture will need a solid wall (or headboard). Set up by lifting the legs against the wall and bringing the sit bones to touch the wall or surface. Just let the back surrender down the ground or the bed. Stay for at least 10 breaths, then you can bend the legs and bring the feet together in the butterfly position. You can support the knees here with a prop or your hands.

Make sure to: relax the neck and head and keep the arms and palms facing up.

Reference
Eichenseher, T. Sequence by Yee, C. & Yee, R. (2016, August). Goodnight, Insomnia: An Urban Zen Sequence for Better Sleep.