Yoga is something that has been loved by many people for thousands of years. It is a series of breathing and stretching exercises that are designed to increase your strength while at the same time giving you a feeling of harmony throughout your body. The best part is that you can enjoy yoga whether you’ve done it many times before or you are just trying it out for the first time.
If you’re looking for a way to have more restful, better-quality sleep, doing yoga poses is a fantastic way to do just that! Shortly before bedtime, try these yoga poses, and you’ll be on your way to a wonderful night’s sleep. You can use a yoga mat or even a folded-up blanket to give yourself some support. Be sure to find a quiet space away from distractions, and wear comfortable clothes you can stretch in. Let’s get started!
Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)
This is a pose that can give you just the right kind of stretch, where you’ll feel good, but you won’t feel like you’ve overworked yourself. To do this, have a seat with your legs out directly in front of you. Slowly bring your outstretched arms up to your side, then carry them all the way up as if you were trying to touch the ceiling. Try to align your spine in a way that stretches upward instead of leaning to the side, back or front.
Now, it’s time to bend forward. While keeping your spine as straight and elongated as possible, let your body bend at the pelvis and gradually come down, bringing your arms down in front of you. Remember to not rush this movement, but instead, slow down and breathe deeply and evenly. Let your head align with your neck and spine, not facing upward or downward. If you can, grab your feet once you’ve bent all the way down. If you can’t, grab your legs as close to your feet as you comfortably can. Hold this pose as long as it feels comfortable for you.
Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)
When you do this pose, you can feel the tension in your back, neck, and shoulders melt away! The first thing to do is to get down on your hands and knees. Take some time to be aware of every part of your body. Your arms should be straight with your hands aligned with your shoulders. Your thighs should be perpendicular to the floor, going straight up and down without tilting forward or backward. Let your lower legs and feet point back behind you, parallel to each other.
With a deep exhale, gently move your spine into a rounded position, arching it up toward the ceiling. Bend your head and neck downward, but without straining and forcing yourself to tuck your head in too tightly. Hold that pose for a few moments, and when you feel like you’re done, flatten your back again to go back to the pose you were in before. Then lean back and come into a seated position that allows you to relax.
Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
This seated pose can help you feel calm and secure in the present moment, making it suitable for meditation. You can do this pose by having a seat on the mat or blanket, making sure your back is straight. Extend your legs out in front of you, then gently bring them in so that you’re sitting in a cross-legged position.
Each foot should be underneath the opposite leg, almost under the knee but not quite. Instead of bringing your feet inward, close to your hips, push them out. Keep some space between your feet and your hips. Your legs should create a shape similar to a triangle. As for your hands, do what feels most comfortable to you. You can rest them on your knees, press them together in front of your chest with fingers pointing upward, or something else. It’s up to you!
Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
The great thing about this pose is that it shifts your body into a new direction, it creates a refreshing sense of physical and mental restoration and renewal. To get into this pose, you’ll need a folded or rolled-up blanket, or a similar item, to support your lower back. Find a spacious area next to a wall and place the support near the wall. How tall the support is and its distance from the wall depends on whatever feels best for you.
Sit on the support with your body facing diagonally toward the wall, and gently lower your back and head down onto the floor. Next, carefully put your feet against the wall and move them higher and higher as you twist your body so that it is directly facing the wall. You should end up in a position where your legs are straight up against the wall, and your spine is also straight, not bent left or right. Spread your arms out comfortably on either side of you and let yourself relax and fully settle into this pose.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Of all the poses here, this one has the most similar appearance to going to sleep! This is a good one to finish up your yoga routine for the night. Lie down on your back with your body completely flat on the ground, with spine and legs straight. Allow your legs to be slightly apart with your feet relaxed and pointing outward. As for your arms, keep them straight and slide them several inches away from your body, palms up.
This is a powerful pose because when you hold it for a few minutes, it can give you a sense of total release and relaxation. If you want to, you can even wear an eye mask — or just go without one and close your eyes. Let the pull of gravity put your body into a state of stillness and rest from head to toe. With this, you will be prepared to soon go to sleep.
Can You Feel The Difference?
Did you enjoy these yoga poses? You’ll find that it’s much easier to sleep when your body has been able to release tension, and your mind has been brought to a place of calmness and peace. It gets even better when you do yoga regularly, and your body becomes accustomed to that feeling of restoration. Now, you’ll be able to have a better sleep, and a truly rested, refreshed feeling when you wake up.
Which one of these five poses is your favorite? Or do you have another pose you’d like to recommend? Let me know in the comments.