7 Yoga Poses For Sleep Success
Bedtime yogaYoga can lower your stress levels by calming and soothing the mind and body simultaneously. Yoga for insomnia, yoga for better sleep, even yoga for relaxation, can all achieve the same effects.
This is where both inversion poses and resting poses come in. Inversion poses involve moving your head lower than your heart, which is proven to help stop lymphatic fluid from clotting in your legs. Resting poses (or restorative poses) involve less movement and bring levels of comfort to the body, encouraging it to meet your mind in a state of calm.
1. UttanasanaStand with your feet slightly apart and fold your torso as much as you can, so you can get closer to the floor.
Reach towards the floor with your arms and get your balance, before swaying slightly side-to-side. If you experience tension in your hamstrings, bend your knees.
This pose, known more commonly as the ‘Standing Forward Bend’, can help relieve headaches and insomnia.
Do this to stretch out your muscles before getting into bed.
2. Ardha MatsyendrasanaBedtime yoga shouldn’t be strenuous. This simple pose is nothing more than a seated spinal twist. Sit upright and cross your left leg over your right leg, and gently twist your body to the left. Look as far left as you can to really stretch your spine and neck. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat facing the opposite side.
The idea of this pose is to create a sense of calm and relaxation, while encouraging the spine to stretch.
3. Viparita KaraniPerfect for relaxing during the evenings, this pose (known as ‘Legs Up The Wall’ ) can help relieve stress before you get into bed.
With your back on the floor, extend your legs up the wall and (if you can) bring your coccyx as close to the wall as possible. Also great for stretching out the hamstrings, this pose drains lactic acid from the legs which can be a factor in fatigue.
Yoga experts believe this pose sends blood rushing back down the legs and into the heart, which helps to soothe and calm the body.
Yoga in bedFollowing on from the bedtime yoga poses, here are four poses that you can do in bed, just before you go to sleep.
4. VirasanaRecognised as the ‘Hero Pose’, the Virasana is a simple sitting pose.
Rest your glutes on your heels and slowly lengthen your spine, resting your hands on the top of your thighs. As you inhale and exhale slowly, you’ll notice your chest opens naturally and your heart rate slows down.
Remain in this position for 60 seconds.
5. BalasanaQuite possibly one of our favourite yoga poses for sleep! More commonly known as the ‘Child’s Pose’, the Balasana is an essential resting pose found among many different yoga formulas. From the Virasana pose, fold your torso forwards so your forehead touches the mattress.
You should be able to look directly at your kneecaps. Extend your arms to the side or forwards and let them rest, and remain in this position for around 60 seconds, taking long, deep breaths and exhaling slowly.
If you practice this pose on a harder surface, such as a kitchen floor or on the carpet, you can massage your forehead gently to relieve tension of the brow.
6. Supta MatsyendrasanaThis is most commonly known as the ‘Supine Spinal Twist’. Gently transition onto your back. You may already feel sleepier than usual, in which case close your eyes and let your body rest.
Otherwise, bring your right knee to your chest and then roll your hips so your lower half faces the left. Then extend your right arm to the side and face the right, so your top and lower halves are facing opposite directions.
Inhale and exhale slowly for 30 seconds, before switching to the opposite sides for another 30 seconds.
7. SavasanaFrom the Supine Spinal Twist, you can easily transition into the Savasana. Extend your legs and part them so your feet fall to the sides, toes pointing to the ceiling.
Extend your arms to your sides and turn your palms to face the ceiling. Close your eyes and drift, while breathing naturally and calmly. You can remain in this pose for as long as you like, until you fall asleep.
What’s even better is the feeling you get when you awaken, having practised these poses before going to sleep. With your limbs and spine feeling more flexible, bedtime yoga and yoga in bed can really help you feel refreshed the next morning.
Did you know?
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