If you’re not getting the length and quality of sleep that you would like, try practicing these 5 simple yoga poses for sleep before you get under the sheets. Yoga has a profoundly calming effect on both your body and your mind, slowing down your heart rate and allowing for a little headspace from the constant flow of thoughts. Hold each of the poses for 5-10 breaths before slipping under the covers for a deeper and more restorative night’s sleep.
1. Legs Up The Wall
Gently stretches the hamstrings, lower back and the back of your neck. Alleviates lower back pain. Relaxes the body and calms the mind
- Rest your feet up against the wall at the head of your bed.
- Bring your arms by your sides, palms facing up.
- Close your eyes and relax into the pose for 5-10 deep breaths. Notice as your belly expands on your inhalation and contracts as you exhale.
2. Seated Twist
Increases spinal flexibility. Stretches the knees, abs, chest, shoulders and neck. Alleviates lower back pain
- Sit cross-legged in the middle of your bed.
- Place your left hand on your right knee and your right fingertips a few inches behind you.
- Inhale, sit up tall. Exhale, twist to the right from the base of your spine–looking over your right shoulder.
- Stay in the pose for 5 deep breaths–inhaling to lengthen and exhaling to twist a little deeper.
- Come back to centre on your last exhalation and switch your legs for the other side.
3. Folded Butterfly
Stretches the inner thighs, groin, hamstrings, knees, upper and lower back. Opens up the hips. Releases tension in the neck and shoulders. Alleviates back pain. Relaxes the body and calms the mind
- Bring the soles of your feet together in the shape of a diamond and let your legs fall open. Inhale, sit up tall. Exhale, fold forward and completely relax your upper body–arms, neck and head.
- Close your eyes and relax into the pose for 5-10 deep breaths–breathing deep into your abdomen.
- To come out of the pose, take a deep breath in. Exhale, gently come back up to sitting, bring your legs out in front of you and give them a shake.
4. Child’s Pose
Stretches the upper and lower back, glutes, knees and ankles. Relieves anxiety, stress and fatigue. Alleviates back, shoulder and neck pain. Relaxes the body and calms the mind
- Come to all fours, touch your big toes together, sit back on your heels and rest your forehead on the bed. Bring your arms by your sides, palms facing up and let go of any tension across your upper back and shoulders.
- Stay in the pose for 5-10 breaths.
- To come out of the pose, take a deep breath in, bring your palms to the bed and press up to kneeling on an exhalation.
5. Happy Baby
Opens up the hips. Stretches the groin and hamstrings. Alleviates lower back pain. Relaxes the body and calms the mind
- Lie on your back, take hold of the outsides of your feet, bring your ankles out over your knees, flex your feet and gently pull them towards you.
- Press your lower back into the bed.
- Close your eyes and stay in the pose for 5-10 breaths, rocking gently from side to side
Photo credit: Sean Reagan