From Om to Zzzz: Yoga Poses to Do Before BedPublished:
It’s no secret that yoga can help you manage stress, improve flexibility and strength, and support mindfulness. Practicing yoga during the day unleashes a serious number of health benefits.
But don’t relegate it to active hours. Getting in your PJs and flowing through a few poses can help you fall asleep faster and get better sleep. Sound like a plan? Here are a few of our fave before-bed poses.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
It’s time to let your spine relax. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hinge at the hips and fold forward so your head is hanging toward the floor. Lengthen your spine and think about pulling the crown of your head down toward the floor. Don’t strain, though, and relax your shoulders and neck. If your hamstrings feel tight, keep a generous bend in your needs.
Take 10-15 full, deep breaths in this forward fold. You can also clasp your elbows with your opposite hands and sway gently side to side for more release in your back.
Reclining Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Ready to get some of that tension out of your hips? Lie on your back. (See? Perfect for bed!) Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the floor. Then, touch the soles of your feet together and let your knees splay out to either side. Your legs should make a diamond shape. Your knees probably won’t touch the floor and that’s totally okay. Just relax into the pose, again taking at least 10 deep, full, slow breaths.
If your hips are tight, you can support them by putting pillows or a blanket under each knee.
Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
We spend a lot of time on our feet. Reverse some of that pressure and encourage blood to circulate through your legs by laying on your back and scooting up against a wall so your legs can rest up the wall. Relax your arms out by your sides and take 10-15 of the same deep, gentle breaths you took in your other poses.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
The final resting pose of every yoga practice is the perfect final pose for your day. And it’s super easy and relaxing, too. Just lay on your back. Hug your knees into your chest and take a deep breath in. Then, as you exhale, let your legs extend long and splay out wider than your hips. Let your arms relax on either side of you, palms facing up, and tuck your shoulder blades in towards your spine.
Although not technically required for savasana, we like to do a body scan for relaxation here. Start at the top of your head and think about relaxing your face and jaw. Next, relax your neck and shoulders. Feel your arms relax down to your hands. Allow your core to melt into the earth and let the tension flow out of your hips, legs, and feet. This top-to-bottom relaxation technique helps you prep your body for bed and a truly great night’s sleep.