Do Yoga for a Good Night’s Sleep
When you’re trying to get to sleep, physical activity is the last thing on your mind. But the calming influence of yoga could be the push you need to tip you into the Land of Nod. The Sleep Matters Club have devised the ultimate bedtime yoga chart to introduce you to the poses you’ll need. We all know yoga is great for us and our bodies, now discover how beneficial it is for sleep!
The only equipment required is a yoga mat and some comfortable clothing. Hold each of the ten poses for roughly one minute (or 10 to 15 breaths) for sleep success.
The 10 best poses to do before bedtime
The Butterfly Pose – ‘Badhakonasana’
No wings are needed for this pose, simply a flexible pair of legs. Its name comes from the way it’s carried out, with the movement of the legs resembling a butterfly flapping its wings.
You’ll need to sit upright; bend your knees and bring your feet in, so your legs form a diamond shape; repeatedly press your knees downward like a butterfly; cup both feet in hands, keeping your spine super straight throughout.
Its benefits include opening the hips, stretching the inner thighs, and helping your muscles relax if you’ve done a lot of exercise that day.
The Head to Knee Pose – ‘Janu Sirsasana’
This particular move will give your quad muscles the workout they need. It will also help calm your nervous system and mind.
To achieve this pose, simply sit with one leg extended and fold your other foot into the inner thigh of your extended leg. Fold your body over the extended leg and hold on to your calf or foot, depending on how flexible you are. Once done, repeat with the other leg.
The Seated Twist – ‘Parivrtta Sukhasana’
Ideal for increasing flexibility, this pose involves sitting down with your feet extended in front of you and spine elongated. Place your right hand on the floor behind you, and your left hand on your right knee. As you exhale, twist even further around to the right, looking over your right shoulder. Hold for a maximum of five breaths, then switch sides.
Legs up the Wall – ‘Viparita Karani’
One of the simpler poses in the chart, all you need to do is lie on the floor next to a wall and stretch your legs up it so your body is at a 90 degree angle. Attempt this pose for five minutes maximum.
This move is said to have powerful healing qualities, as having your legs so high allows blood to circulate to every part of the body.
The Easy Forward Bend – ‘Variation of Sukhasana’
Begin with your legs crossed, then lean forward over your knees with your arms stretched out in front of you. Your forehead should be as close to the ground as possible for ultimate stretching ability. If you’re a little uncomfortable, sitting on a pillow or block can relieve unwanted pressure.
This pose is best for stretching the shoulders, back, hips, knees, and ankles.
The Bridge Pose – ‘Setu Bandha Sarvangasana’
As the name suggests, this pose involves raising the hips so that your body mimics a bridge. Lie flat on your back and bend your knees, keeping your feet hip-width apart. Roll your pelvis upwards, one vertebra at a time, until your hips are as elevated as possible, creating the bridge-like structure. Throughout the pose, keep your arms by your sides and hands flat on the floor.
If you want to strengthen your core, this is the pose for you.
The Standing Forward Bend – ‘Uttanasana’
Stand with your feet around six inches apart, fold your torso to the ground, reaching forward until your hands are flat. If you aren’t as flexible as you could be yet, bend your knees.
This is one of the most common poses you’ll find in a yoga routine and can help with headaches as well as a healthy sleep pattern.
The Plow Pose – ‘Halasana’
Another good pose for helping with blood flow, it’s also useful for opening your shoulders and relieving any back pain.
Simply lie on your back and extend your legs over your head. If successful, you’ll be placing your feet onto the ground behind you with toes touching the floor. Hands can be placed on your back or flat on the floor, depending on which is the most comfortable.
The Child’s Pose – ‘Balasana’
The ideal pose to begin or end your practice with, this is one of the most relaxing moves. Your legs, hips, and thighs will enjoy the stretch, and your mind will be calmed.
It’s not too different from the easy forward bend. Sit on your knees, fold your torso over your knees with your arms extended, and stretched out. Rest your forehead on the ground and take long, deep breaths.
The Corpse Pose – ‘Savansa’
The perfect pose for sending your body into sleep mode. It focuses your attention on breathing and relaxing each muscle group in the body.
Focusing on stretching and breathing can do wonders for your body. The simplest relaxation techniques can do wonders for your body and mind.
In fact, we’ve kept the simplest for last: simply lie flat on your back, keeping your arms by your side. Face your palms upwards and stretch your feet out, while focusing on relaxing one muscle at a time as you work your way up from your toes to your head.
With these tips, we hope you will enjoy a more restful night’s sleep!