Soothing Before-Bed Yoga Poses
Try this relaxing yoga sequence for better sleep.
Whether you’re struggling with nightly insomnia, or maybe just having trouble winding down after a stressful day at work, yoga can help you get the best night’s sleep possible. Practicing certain yoga poses before bed can be some of your best defense against restless nights. By taking the time to calm your body and mind before bedtime, you’re preparing yourself for a satisfying night of sweet slumber.
So, ready to call it a night? Try the yoga sequence below and you’ll be catching some wonderful Z’s in no time.
By Jenny Sugar
Start off your bedtime practice by cooling off in Balasana. Kneel on your mat with your knees hips-width distance apart and your big toes touching behind you. Take a deep breath in and, as you exhale, lay your torso over your thighs. Try to lengthen your neck and spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders. Rest your arms beside your legs, with palms facing up, or try extending your arms out in front of you. Stay here for 10 breaths.
Standing Forward Bend
Standing Forward Bend will feel like all the stress is pouring out of the top of your head. Stand at the top of your mat in Mountain Pose at the front of your mat. Inhale and reach your arms straight above you. As you exhale, engage your abs and fold forward with a straight back. Tuck your chin in toward your chest, relax your shoulders, and extend the crown of the head toward the floor to create a long spine. Shift your weight forward onto your toes, straightening the legs as much as possible. Place your hands on the ground, fingertips lining up with the toes. Hold here for 10 breaths.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
From Standing Forward Bend, slowly roll up vertebrae by vertebrae until you’re standing at the top of your mat. Stand with your feet three to four feet apart, placing your heels slightly wider than your toes. Bring your arms behind your back, clasping your fingers and pressing the heels of your palms together in a fist. Fold forward, hinging at your hips, drawing the crown of your head and your hands toward the floor. Relax your toes, and try to shift the weight of your hips forward so they’re in line with your feet. Stay here for 10 deep breaths. Then press into your feet, engage your quads, and inhale as you stand up.
The introspective Butterfly Pose gives your hips some love. From Wide-Legged Forward Bend C, sit on the floor, bend both knees, and bring your feet together. Using your hands, open your feet up like a book, pressing your knees toward the floor with your elbows. If you want more of a stretch, extend your arms out in front of you. Stay here for 10 breaths.
From Butterfly Pose, allow your legs to straighten out into a straddle position with three to four feet between your heels. Make sure your toes and knees are pointing straight up. Sit with a tall spine or slowly fold forward at your hips, pressing your belly button and chest forward to prevent your back from rounding. Either support the weight of your torso with your hands on your legs or feet, or rest them out in front of you. Hold for 10 breaths.
Head to Knee Pose
Come up slowly from Seated Straddle, and bring your both your legs straight out in front of you. Shake them out for a moment. Bend your right knee, and place the sole of your foot against your inner thigh, pulling your heel as close to your body as you can. Inhale to sit up tall, and exhale as you fold your torso over your left leg. Rest your hands on the floor on either side of your leg, place them on your shin, or wrap your hands around your left foot. Stay here for 10 breaths, sit up, and repeat this pose on the left side.
All photography courtesy of POPSUGAR Photography / Louisa Larson.