Set yourself up for a restful night with these simple and relaxing yoga poses.
By Jenna Carpenter
Did you know that restorative yoga is good for sleep? It makes sense, right? Re-stor-a-tive: having the ability to restore health, strength, or a feeling of well-being. That definition fits like a glove when it comes to restorative yoga. This style is typically done slowly; poses are held for 2 to 10 minutes at a time. Restorative yoga was designed to slow everything down and help you relax so it’s a great practice to do in the evening before bed.
Whether you are new to yoga or have been practicing your entire life, here are a few poses that instantly help with dropping into your body. Keep in mind that the most important component to this practice—no matter what style—is the breath or prana in Sanskrit. Here are a few restorative yoga poses that I recommend to do before bedtime.
Legs Up the Wall aka Viparita Karani
You need a wall for this pose. So pick one and sit close to it. Lean down onto one elbow, move the legs up. If you have tight hamstrings, move the hips a little bit further away from the wall and bend the knees. This pose helps improve flexibility in the backs of the legs, and relieves low-back pain, stress, tension.
Pigeon Pose ~ Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
Start in down dog or on the hands and knees. Then pull the right knee forward behind the right wrist at a 45 degree angle, placing the foot in-front of the left hip. Straighten the left leg back. Draw the right hip back and the left hip forward. Walk the hands away from the body and place the forward on the ground if possible. If that’s not possible, use a pillow or bolster and place the forearms down. Lean into the right hip to relieve intensity. Hold this pose for a minimum of 30 seconds up to 5 minutes. Repeat on the otehr side. This pose stretches the hips, glutes, low back, impinged piriformis, groins and psoas.
Child’s Pose ~ Balasana
Kneel on the ground with your knees open wide, point the feet back and take a seat on the heels. Walk your hands all the way forward, rest the elbows on the ground, drop your forehead on the ground and close your eyes. Take 30 seconds to a few minutes to gently stretch the ankles, thighs and hips. This pose can help relieve back and neck pain, calm the mind, relieve fatigue and stress.
Corpse Pose ~ Savasana
Everybody’s favorite! Lay flat on the ground and take up as much space as you need with your arms and legs, and close your eyes. Rest for a minimum of 1 minute or until you feel completely relaxed. This pose helps reduce stress, fatigue, insomnia, lowers blood pressure, and relaxes the body. It can also help calm the brain and help with mild depression. If this is uncomfortable for the low back, bend the knees and place a bolster or pillow underneath the knees.
Most yoga classes end with corpse pose, and it’s definitely one of my favorites. Regardless of what style of yoga you do, take a few minutes before going to bed and unwind with these poses. I promise that they will help you transition from a busy day into a more restful, deeper, and better sleep.