When it's time to wind down after a long day, many of us struggle to quiet our minds and get into the relaxed state that is needed in order to fall asleep. The average day can be hectic and you deserve a night full of rest and recovery.
There are many reasons why you should add yoga into your daily life—relaxation being one of them. Yoga aids in relaxing the body and mind and is a very restorative way to end your day. There are plenty of yoga poses that help you relax your body and get into a restful mindset. If you are in search of a new nightly routine for a better night’s rest, yoga for sleep is a great place to start. Check out some of these simple yet effective poses to gain a better night of sleep.
1. Three-Part Breath: Dirga Pranayama
It’s helpful to start with breathing exercises so you can focus your attention and ground your body. This three-part breathing sequence can help control your breathing and aid in relaxation.
- Get comfortable in a sitting or lying position.
- Close your eyes and relax the muscles in your face and body while breathing naturally.
- Focus on the rise and fall of your belly as it expands and contracts.
- Bring your hand to your chest and feel it rise as you take deep breaths.
- Focus your mind on taking full breaths for the next 5-10 minutes.
2. Head to Knee: Janu Sirsasana
Next, stretch your core and ease digestion by performing this restorative pose. Make sure you’re lengthening your spine and not rounding it out.
- Start by sitting on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you.
- Bend your right knee out to open your hip while bringing the bottom of your right foot to your left thigh.
- Bend forward as you exhale, keeping your spine and neck long.
- Stretch out your hands on either side of your left leg and slowly breath in and out for 5-10 minutes.
- Repeat on the other side.
3. Wide-Legged Forward Bend: Prasarita Padottanasana
Forward bends are known for being very calming and relaxing. As you hang forward and let your neck relax, this pose will stretch and strengthen your hamstrings, calves, lower back, hips and spine.
- Stand tall and keep your feet wide with your toes turned out slightly.
- Bend at your hips and fold forward, bringing your hands down to the floor right under your shoulders.
- Keep your knees soft and release your hands and neck.
- Stay in this position for a few breaths before slowly rising into a standing position.
4. Legs up the Wall: Viparita Karani
This pose is said to help ease symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia. It also helps relieve tension and recirculate the blood flow in your feet and ankles. Add a bolster or towel under your lower back to increase the inversion if you would like.
- Start by laying your back down on the floor and extending your legs one by one up the wall.
- Once your legs are resting on the wall, extend your arms at your sides with the palms facing up.
- Close your eyes and breath steadily as your shoulders sink toward the floor.
- You can stay here for as long as you feel comfortable
5. Reclined Bound Angle: Supta Baddha Konasana
This pose allows gravity to pull you into a stretch that lets you release, breathe and improve circulation. This pose may require some flexibility, but it’s very easy to modify with blocks or rolled-up blankets placed under the knees.
- Lie on your back with your legs and arms outstretched.
- Bend your knees and draw your heels in toward your body and press the soles of your feet together.
- Allow your knees to drop on both sides and your arms to fall open at your sides with palms facing up.
- Lengthen your spine along the floor and stretch your tailbone toward your heels.
- Naturally breath for 1-10 minutes
6. Corpse Pose: Savasana
A great way to close out a yoga session is with the Savasana, which is the easiest and most relaxing pose of them all. The pose is performed by lying on your back and putting your breath and mind at practice.
- Start by lying on your back and place a pillow or folded blanket under your knees to allow your legs to rest.
- Close your eyes and allow your body to feel heavy (add a weighted eye pillow for ultimate relaxation).
- Practice relaxing your body starting from the soles of your feet to the top of your head.
- Turn your awareness inward and breathe as you normally would.
- Do your best to calm your mind and possibly go into a meditative state.
Whether you are a beginner or established yogi, yoga is a great way to relax, restore and practice mindfulness which ultimately leads to better rest. For more poses for better sleep, check out Casper’s infographic below!
This is a guest post from Casper – the sleep experts! Check out more ideas on yoga for sleep on their website!