6 Gentle Yoga Poses for Better Sleep

One of the most nourishing acts we can do for ourselves is to get a good night’s sleep. So many of us suffer from chronic sleep deprivation which is associated with high blood pressure, heart attacks, obesity, and other serious medical conditions.

Yoga is a great tool that regulates our nervous system and prepares our body and mind for a deep, restorative sleep. Below are some of my favorite poses that help me sleep well so that I can awake refreshed and grounded. Grab your pillows and blankets and let’s get started! 


Props needed: two blocks (or some pillows), one blanket or towel

NOTE: Not all poses are therapeutic for all bodies. If something doesn’t feel right, please modify or skip it. Self care always comes first.
 

Child’s Pose

  • Come to kneeling and sit comfortably on your heels.

  • Fold forward at your hips so that your belly rests on or close to your thighs. Your forehead will rest on the ground or block.

  • Arms and hands can be stretched out in front or placed near your feet. Experiment with this to find the most relaxing position for your shoulders.

  • Hold the pose and take ten slow breaths. Option to roll your forehead left-to-right to ease any tension in your sinus cavity over the block or floor.


Seated Wide-Legged Forward Fold

  • Slowly come up to seated from Child’s Pose. Bring your legs in front of you and widen them away from one another. Find the angle that feels the best for your body and be gentle with yourself.

  • Place a block or pillow in front of you so that you can rest your head. Fold forward at the hips. If you want more stretch in the backs of the legs, flex your feet. It you want more relaxation in your hips and low back, keep your feet relaxed.

  • Hold here for five to ten breaths.


Seated Wide-Legged Lateral Folds

  • Slowly push your hands into the ground to lift your spine back to neutral.

  • Maintain your leg shape and place a prop to the inside of the left knee.

  • Rest your left forearm, elbow, or hand on the prop.

  • Breath five to ten breaths into the right lung and side body.

  • Come to center and take three breaths.

  • Repeat on the right side. Just a note that each side can feel really different from one another. Don’t try and force symmetry on your body. We’re all human and asymmetrical, embrace it!


Flowing Bridge Pose

  • Lie down on your back with your knees bent and soles of the feet on the floor.

  • Bring your heels close to your hips and hip-distance apart.

  • On an inhale, gently press your feet into the floor to lift your hips, low back, middle back, and maybe upper back off the ground. Reverse back down on the exhale. Take your full inhale to rise up and your full exhale to come down. Syncing your breath with the movements is a meditation and helps to calm and focus your mind.

  • Repeat three times.


Reclined Twist

  • From Bridge Pose, hug your knees into your belly. Option to roll side-to-side across your low back and sacrum for a gentle massage.

  • Eventually, drop your knees to left side. Completely release any muscular effort so that your toes, feet, legs, and knees rest on the ground. If you experience pain in you lower back, place a block in between your thighs.

  • Right arm can extend at shoulder height on the ground with the palm facing up. Don’t worry if your shoulder is not on the ground.

  • Take five to ten deep breaths here, letting your body melt a little more each time your exhale.

  • On an inhale, hug your knees back into your belly. On an exhale, drop them to the right side and repeat. Again, treat this side as its own pose and welcome any differences you might experience from the first side.


Reclined Child’s Pose

  • Bring your knees back to your belly on an inhale and remove any props if needed.

  • Place your hands on your knees, with your fingertips pointed towards your toes.

  • Relax feet and ankles so that they rest on the backs of your thighs.

  • On an inhale, straighten your arms. Your knees will be over your hips.

  • On an exhale, bend your arms. Knees will now be in towards your belly.

  • Repeat this movement synced with your breath five times. Your low back should get a gentle massage.

  • Finally, stretch out and let yourself be gently pulled into sleep.


For more information about Phoebe Polakovic and her teachings, visit her site:
http://www.phoebedyoga.com/

For more therapeutic yoga videos, please visit YogaTX on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/user/yogatx
 


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