08 Aug Yoga Poses to do Before Bed to help you sleep
There is nothing worse than getting into bed, exhausted, then all of a sudden your mind starts racing and you can’t fall asleep. No matter how tired you are, or what your day has been filled with, sometimes you can have a tricky relationship with sleep. While sometimes there are physiological causes and sometimes psychological, here are four yoga poses that can help you calm both the body and the mind to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Paschimottanasana (forward fold)
Forward folds are really calming on the system and allow everything to really slow down. Paschimottanasana is one of the simplest and most common forward folds you can do seated. With the legs together out in front of you (you can take a bend in the knees if that feels better) simply fold softly over the legs without force. If you have trouble folding here, sit up on a block or a cushion, or anything soft that can elevate the hips slightly. Try to relax into the shape, approaching it in a soft yin style rather than staying active.
Dangling or Uttanasana
This shape has the same benefits as a seated forward fold, but can allow you to fold a little deeper with the support of gravity. With slightly bent knees and your feet hip width apart, hinge from the hips and fold forward. You can either place your elbows on your thighs for support or take hold of opposite elbows. It can also be nice to rest you glutes on a wall behind you for support.
Supported shoulder stand or legs up the wall pose is very calming on the body. It allows the legs to take a break from carrying the body and can relieve any cramping or tightness there. It also gently stretches the entire back body which can be very tight after a long day. Due to that it has the ability to help with headaches and it also helps to calm the mind down. If the legs straight up the wall feels uncomfortable, place a block under your hips and see if that relieves any tension.
Twists also have the great ability of soothing the body and slowing the mind down. They signal to the brain that we are safe and therefore everything slows and softens. Lying down, legs out long, hug your right knee to your chest. Using your left hand, take the knee across the body, trying to keep your right shoulder softening towards the ground. Then switch sides.
As you then get into bed, allow yourself to become really present. Feel your body, every inch. And you can help yourself relax further by taking a scan of the body, from toes to the crown of the head, and soften every single inch. Then allow yourself to drift off to sleep.