10-Minute Yoga for Better Sleep
If you tried old tricks of counting sheep or drinking a glass of warm milk before bed but still have trouble sleeping then try these yoga poses and breathing exercises for insomnia and restlessness.
Tips before you begin
- You should wait at least 1 hour after eating before starting a nighttime yoga sequence.
- Allot about 10 minutes right before you plan on sleeping.
- Avoid distractions, so complete any tasks like brushing your teeth before beginning.
- It is important to clear your mind of racing thoughts before you go to bed so each asana includes pranayama breathing exercises to meditate while increasing circulation.
- Closing your eyes during your yoga session will also increase relaxation and help you get some zzz’s faster.
- The goal of any yoga sequence for sleep is to be gentle, slow, and relaxed. Do not feel like you are completing a workout rather you are calming your mind and body.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
A great way to start and end a bedtime yoga routine is with Child’s Pose (Balasana). Bring your head down to the floor with your arms reaching straight out and your knees bent underneath your body. Your big toes should touch one another and your knees spread apart according to your comfort. Close your eyes and concentrate on your forehead touching the ground. Release the tension between the eyes. Take a long deep breathe in as you slightly arch your back. As you slowly breathe out lengthen your arms and drop you tail bone. Hold for 2 minutes breathing continuously.
Hero pose (Virasana)
Moving slowly out of Child’s Pose, slide your hands toward your body as you simultaneously stack your spine and come into a seated position with your bottom sitting on your thighs in Hero pose (Virasana). As you breathe in circle your arms out to the side and bring them above your head. Breathe out as you lower your arms and bring your hands together in Prayer Pose. Stay here for 2 more minutes focusing on your posture and dropping your shoulders.
Adept’s Pose (Siddhasana Twist Variation)
Use one of the sitting mediation poses from 7 Simple Ways to Mediate including Half Lotus or Full Lotus. You can stay in the Hero Pose if you prefer. As you breathe in slowly bring your right arm across your body and plant both hands on the ground next to your side or on your left thigh. Twist gently turning your head to the left but keep your torso at your hips facing forward. Breathe out as you hold the position. On the next breathe in come back to the center and repeat with your left arm twisting to the right. Repeat on each side about 4 times which should take roughly 2 minutes.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Next, lie down flat onto your back and stretch your arms and legs away from your torso. Feel the sensation of your entire body expanding. Bend both knees and place your feet hip-length apart. Lift your hips into the air as you breathe in. You can place a block or yoga prop under your tail bone for support if needed. Your hands can stay by your side or can be bent at the elbow and rested next to your ears. Lift your heart to the ceiling as you breathe out. Continue meditative breaths for 2 minutes and keep your eyes closed relaxing the forehead.
Reclining Goddess Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Lower your hips slowly from Bridge Pose. Keep your knees bent as you bring the bottoms of both feet together and both knees as close to the ground as possible. Keep your feet close to your pelvis and allow the knees to fall naturally. Keep breathing in and out deeply. Place your arms by your side with your palms up or one hand on your heart and the other on your stomach to feel your heart beat and breath flow through your body. Stay here for at least 2 minutes.
You can finish in your bed either in Child’s Pose or Corpse Pose (Lying flat on your back with arms at your side and legs extended). Then drift into peaceful slumber.