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Yoga before bed for a better night's sleep

My yoga students tell me that the best nights sleep they have all week is the one following their evening yoga class. 

With World Sleep Day approaching this Friday, I thought it would be helpful to share some yoga postures which you can practice in the comfort of your own home to help you sleep better.

Taking some time out at the end of a busy day to practice these yoga postures will help you come back into your body and promote a peaceful slumber.

 

Begin in Sukhasana or Virasana, a comfortable seated or kneeling yoga posture and focus on drawing your attention inwards and silently inhaling 'Let' and exhaling 'Go'.  Evening out and calming your breath will help to settle your nervous system, slow down your heart rate and clear your mind. Take as long as you need to with your Pranayama/balanced breath control before moving onto the next posture.

 

Balasana / Child's Pose 

This is a deeply restorative yoga posture which helps to stretch out your back body, in particular your spine.  From an all fours position, draw your hips back towards your heels allowing your chest to settle between your thighs. Bring your big toes together and take your knees as far apart as is comfortable to let your abdomen relax between your legs.  Lower your forehead to rest onto your mat or a blanket/pillow and breathe deeply.  Walk your finger tips out in front of you to enjoy a stretch through your arms.

 

Viparita Karani / Legs Up The Wall

Gently transitioning onto your back. Position yourself so that your tailbone is at the base of the wall with your glutes touching the wall if possible. Extend your legs straight up the wall in front of you. This is a superb gentle stretch for your hamstrings. Ground your shoulders into the earth below for support and let your arms gently rest to the sides, palms facing up if comfortable for you.

This yoga posture helps drain lymph and lactic acid from your legs, which in turn helps to prevent injury.  It is also deeply relaxing. Take some nourishing breaths here for 10 minutes or longer if you wish to.

 

Ananda Balasana / Happy Baby Pose

Bring your knees to your chest towards your under arms and take hold of the outer edges of your feet with your hands. Ground down into the earth with your tailbone and push your heels towards the sky.  You can rock gently back and forth and side to side to gently relieve any tension in your spine.  This is an ideal relaxation yoga posture for relieving any abdominal discomfort.

 

Supta Baddha Kanasana / Reclining Bound Angle Pose

Release your feet down to the earth from Happy Baby Pose and bring the soles of your feet together.  Guide your knees to softly fall open towards the ground and draw your heels as close as feels comfortable towards your pelvis. Draw your shoulders away from your ears as you allow them to relax into the earth for support.  Bring one hand to rest on your heart and the other to rest on your belly.

This yoga posture is a powerful release for your pelvis, lower abdomen and inner thighs.  If its comfortable for you, close your eyes or soften your gaze and let your breath come and go naturally.

 

Savasana / Corpse Pose

A yoga relaxation sequence wouldn't be complete without Savasana.  Release your feet down to the corners of your mat or bed, letting them fall open to the sides.  Place your arms a few inches away from your body and turn your palms to face up towards the sky with the backs of your hands resting into your mat or bed.  Let your eyes close and as thoughts come, acknowledge them then let them go or let them be for now.  Let your breath come and go naturally, breathing easy with your body's weight being fully supported by the earth or bed below.  

Finally, spoil yourself with a sumptuous sleep!

 

These restorative yoga postures work wonderfully well for me before drifting off into a nourishing sleep, I hope they do for you too. Restore & More Yoga would love to here your thoughts and comments, let me know how you get on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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