Having trouble falling (or staying) asleep? Yoga can come to the rescue. Yoga isn’t just about getting in shape or building a toned body, it’s about relaxing your mind and achieving inner peace. And that’s just what’s needed if you suffer from insomnia or restless sleep. Here are a few simple yoga poses to fall asleep that are ideal to incorporate into your pre-bedtime routine for a restful night.
Seated Wide-Angle Pose (Upavistha Konasana)
The seated wide-angle pose, or Upavistha Konasana, is an easy asana to begin with right before your try to fall asleep. Simply sit on the floor with both legs stretched out to your sides. Gently bend forward with your arms bent on the floor to support your weight. Hold the pose for 45-60 seconds and then repeat while inhaling and exhaling slowly.
Big Toe Pose (Padangusthasana)
The Big Toe Pose (Padangusthasana), is a forward folding pose that helps you clear your mind and prepare your body for sleep. To perform it, stand straight up with your feet parallel. Keep your legs straight, then exhale and reach your arms outstretched to your toes. Gently slide your fingers under your big toes.
Next, inhale and stretch your back as though you were going to return to a standing position, but keep your fingers locked under your toes to generate resistance in your arms and back. Hold the position for a minute and then release your fingers and return to a standing position.
Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
Locust Pose, or Salabhasana, requires a little more exertion than most of the other asanas in this group, but it does wonders for stretching the arms, legs and spine before bedtime. To perform the pose, lie down on your stomach on top of a blanket or mat. Lift your legs while keeping them straight and extend your arms behind you, keeping them parallel with your legs. Slowly raise the upper part of your torso as much as you comfortably can. Hold the pose for 30-45 seconds, then relax and repeat.
Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
The Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani) is a wonderful restorative pose for anyone who spends a lot of time during the day on their feet (which is most of us). Here’s how to perform the pose for help with falling asleep before bedtime.
Use a pillow for support and place it against the wall or the headboard of your bed. Lie down atop the pillow and get as close to the wall or headboard as possible. Extend your legs upward, while keeping your arms at your side with palms facing upwards. Hold the pose for a long time — two to three minutes is best.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
The reclining bound angle pose is another restorative pose that is perfect for relaxing ahead of sleep. To perform it, lay down on the floor, using a blanket or pillow for support if necessary. Open your legs so that your knees face outwards and then press your feet together. Your arms and hands can be outstretched or you can place them gently on top of your torso — whichever position makes you feel the most relaxed. Close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths while holding the pose for 3-5 minutes.
Don’t over-stretch your thighs by applying too much pressure.
Reclined Spinal Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana)
Bring your knees together with your hands and guide them to your side. Then place your arms out to the sides with your palms facing upward. Take a deep breath and feel it move down your back, along the spine. Hold the pose for 60-90 seconds and then repeat, but with your knees on the other side of your body.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
A great pose to finish up with before you climb into bed for sleep is the Corpse Pose (Savasana). The beauty of Savasana is that it’s simple to perform. Lie down flat on your back (in bed if you wish) with legs extended and arms at your side. Close your eyes and take deep breaths. Concentrate on the inhale and exhale, taking each breath fully and with presence. Slow down your breathing as much as possible and clear your mind. You’re drifting into sleep…