Getting a good night’s sleep is important for both physical and mental well-being. An ancient form of exercise that can help with that is yoga. Regular yoga practice can relax the body, calm the mind and create healthy experiences for better sleep. Here are some poses that can help promote a better rest.
Child’s Pose involves sitting on your heels with your torso between your thighs and forehead pressed down on the ground. It is a soothing pose, and creates a greater connection between your body and the earth below. This pose can help relax and lengthen the spine, as well as encouraging hip and lower back stretches.
Happy Baby is similar to Child’s Pose, with the added bonus of opening the hips and increasing the lower back stretch. Lie on your back with your knees bent, then grab hold of the outsides of your feet and widen your knees. Similar to Child’s Pose, the goal here is to push your feet against the hands you have extended. Keep your feet flexed and your back relaxed to press against the pull of your hands. This yoga pose is great for releasing tension.
Downward Facing Dog is a great stretch for hamstrings and provides a good massage for the spine. Start on your hands and knees, with the tops of your feet on the ground and your hands gripping the earth. Lift your hips and press them towards the sky, which should create an inverted V shape with your body. Your weight should be evenly distributed between your hands and legs and you should feel a gentle but profound stretch in your legs and lower back. Hold the pose for a few breaths before slowly releasing.
Start laying on your back, and draw both heels up to your pelvis. Place the soles together and allow your knees to relax until they touch the floor. Lie back and draw your shoulder blades together. Place your arms by your sides, palms up and give your whole body over to gravity. This pose gives your inner thighs, groin and hips a deep stretch as it helps to relax the entire area. With Reclined Butterfly, you can stay still for a few breaths to enter a deeper relaxation.
Legs up the Wall
Legs up the wall is a gentle inversion and a special reset for your circulation and nervous system. Lie on your side with your hip against a wall and legs straight up, or sit close to the wall and roll over on your back and raise your legs. You may also raise your hips with a block directly underneath. In any of these poses, keep your legs together and if it is comfortable try to separate your feet wider than hip distance apart. Place your hands on your heart or extend up above. With your feet to the sky, breath and relax into the wall.
Yoga can be an effective way to relax your body and calm the mind for better sleep. While it is important to understand the postures and poses, never push yourself past your physical limits. Make sure your practice is comfortable and going at a relaxed pace to get the full benefit of each pose. Incorporating these poses into your daily routine can help promote and improve the quality of rest.