Yoga for Better Sleep: 7 Relaxing Poses to Drift Off Peacefully
November 27, 2023
How are you sleeping? If you’re wondering what that question has to do with yoga, bear with us for a moment. Health experts believe that a good night’s sleep is just as important for your overall health as your diet and regular exercise. Sleeping well improves brain function, physical and mental health, and your overall mood.
Practicing yoga just before bedtime can help you let go of the day, relax, and drift off peacefully. The key to practicing yoga for better sleep is to choose the most beneficial poses. Here is a closer look at how to do just that.
The Importance of Sleeping Well
Whether you’ve lost sleep because you’re looking after a newborn, traveling across multiple time zones, or are simply stressed out with daily commitments, the result is the same. For most of us, not getting enough sleep induces a strange state of mind. We’re unable to think clearly or go about our day in just the same way as we normally would.
Put simply, your brain is not working well without getting around seven hours of sleep every night. You might find that your reactions are delayed and you’re struggling to focus even on small tasks. If you’re continuously sleep-deprived, the problem will start running deeper than a hazy day or two. You’ll actually be putting yourself at risk of physical and mental illness.
What’s more, for most of us, growing more and more tired makes it harder to fall asleep. So, how can you escape that vicious cycle?
Establishing a Bedtime Yoga Practice with Yoga Poses for Better Sleep
If you’re struggling to leave your day behind and drift off to sleep, try incorporating a few yoga poses into your bedtime routine. Using breathing and gentle movements is an excellent way of disconnecting from everyday stresses.
Here are seven yoga poses that can help you sleep better. When you’re practicing, remember that this is not the time to challenge yourself. Instead, you’re trying to create a transition from an active day to a calm night.
1. Child’s Pose
Even if you’ve only ever done a few yoga classes in Dallas, you’ll know that child’s pose is a resting pose. It’s a great option to pause between challenging poses. At bedtime, child’s pose can help instill a sense of stability and calm.
Kneel on the floor, exhale, and bring your torso to your thighs. Let your arms and hands relax alongside your body. If your forehead is touching the ground you can roll your head gently to release tension.
2. Forward Bend
Forward bends are great poses to relax your back and your neck. If you spend much of your day sedentary, taking a few breaths in this pose is an excellent way of recharging. In the evening, forward bends are perfect to help you let go of your day.
Remember there is no particular goal: it’s great if you can reach your toes with your fingertips but no problem if not. If the pose feels too intense, why not rest your hands on two yoga blocks?
3. Standing Half-Forward Bend
If a full forward bend is not comfortable for you, try this variation. Start by standing in mountain pose in front of a wall. Place your hands on the wall at hip height with your fingers spread. Now step back and lower your torso until your back is flat.
Check that your toes and the soles of your feet are securely connected to the floor and press your shinbone toward the floor to open the back of your knees. Rest here for a few breaths.
4. Reclining Bound Angle
Many of us carry tension in our hips and our groin. If you drive long distances or work at a desk, this area of your body deserves a little extra care.
Lie on your back on your mat, bend your knees, and place your feet on the floor close to your tailbone. Bring the soles of your feet together and drop your knees away from each other. Stay here for a while. After a few breaths, you may find that your knees are dropping a little more.
You can also rest your hands on your knees to encourage more relaxation. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to support your knees and hips on each side if the pose feels too intense.
5. Legs Against the Wall Pose
Ever notice your feet looking swollen or feeling tired at the end of the day? This pose is an excellent way to encourage blood flow and relieve some of that swelling.
Start with your mat on the wall. Sit close to the wall with your side body touching the wall. Now lie back and slowly bring your legs up along the wall. Keep your arms relaxed by your side. If your tailbone needs support, simply slide a cushion under it.
6. Legs on a Chair
If you’re lower back, knees, or hips don’t allow you to extend your legs along a wall, try this variation instead.
Place a chair at the end of your mat. You may also need a cushion under your tailbone, depending on the height of the chair. Start by lying on one side with your knees in a fetal position. Slide to the middle of the mat and lift your bent knees so that your calves rest on the chair. Ideally, your shins and thighs are at a right angle in this position. If you feel that you’re ready for more, you can always try extending your legs.
7. Savasana or Corpse Pose
Ah, savasana! Traditionally, savasana is the final resting pose of a yoga practice. At bedtime, lying in savasana is a great way to close your routine.
Lie back on your mat, hug your knees toward your chest, and inhale. If you want, you can roll from side to side to massage your lower back. On your next exhale, stretch your legs away from your body and rest your feet hip-width apart. Let your lower back relax and check in with the rest of your body. Are your shoulders relaxed? And what about your face? This is a great time to release any leftover stress before heading to bed.
Are you ready to relax and enjoy a better night’s sleep? If you need a little more inspiration, don’t hesitate to approach one of our experienced instructors when you join your next Uptown Yoga class.
Another great way of encouraging deep relaxation is Yoga Nidra. Take a look at our recent blog and let us know if you’re interested in learning more about this practice. We regularly run Yoga Nidra workshops that can help you relax and recharge even more.