Yoga is known for promoting calm and relaxation, making it perfect for your bedtime routine. The following poses are among those cited most frequently by yoga experts for their sleep-promoting abilities.
Standing Forward Bend
Forward bends are a great way to stretch out your lower body while encouraging mental relaxation.
- Start in Mountain Pose. Then place your hands on your hips and breathe in; as you exhale, fold forward from the hips (not the waist), trying to lengthen the front of your torso as much as possible—avoid rounding your shoulders.
- If you can, bring your hands to the floor in front of or beside your feet. If you can’t, cross your forearms and hold your elbows. As you breathe, try to deepen the bend on each exhalation.
- After anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute, place your hands on your thighs and come back up with a straight back while inhaling.
One of yoga’s classic resting poses, Child’s Pose is a good antidote for stress.
- Kneel down and touch your big toes together. Then sit on your heels, moving your knees as wide as your hips. If you find this difficult, place a rolled-up blanket between the tops of your calves and the backs of your thighs.
- Exhale and lay your torso between your thighs, trying to broaden your lower back and to lengthen your spine up through your neck.
- Lay your hands on the floor beside you, palms up, allowing the shoulders to open, for anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 or 3 minutes.
Legs Up the Wall
This pose is as simple as it sounds—once you actually get into position.
- Place a yoga mat or folded blanket against a wall, and sit on it with either hip as close to the wall as possible.
- Take a breath, and as you exhale, smoothly move your legs up the wall, turning to lie perpendicular to the wall with your shoulders firmly rooted to the ground. It may take a few tries—don’t get discouraged.
- Soften the throat by gently lifting the base of your skull away from the back of the neck. Use a small neck support (a rolled-up hand towel is fine) if you need to.
- Place your arms at your sides, palms facing up. Stay in this position for 5–15 minutes.
- Be careful to not twist your spine as you come out of the pose.
Reclining Bound Angle
This pose can be performed with a yoga bolster, a large cushion especially designed for yoga, propped up on blocks, with additional blocks used to prop up your knees. If using a substitute, be sure your back is fully supported.
- Sit upright, directly on top of your sitting bones, and lengthen your torso with an even pelvis (not tipping in or out).
- Draw your feet inwards, placing the soles together and allowing your knees to fall to the sides. Draw the shoulder blades together to open your chest.
- Exhale and lower your back to the floor, leaning on your hands and then forearms for support. Be sure to completely release the lower back.
- Lay your arms at your sides at a 45° angle, palms facing up. Stay in the pose for 1–5 minutes, then use your hands to press your thighs together before rolling onto your side to come up.
Every yogi/yogini’s favorite pose. You can go into Savasana on your mat or get into bed first—see which brings you more relaxation.
- Lay down with your legs extended and back firmly sinking into the mat. Place a support under your neck if you need it, and cover yourself with a blanket if needed to avoid becoming chilled.
- Place your arms at your sides, palms facing upwards. Then soften your face, allowing the tongue to rest comfortably in the mouth, and either turn your gaze downward or close your eyes.
- Stay in the pose for anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes.
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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.