5 Easy Yoga Poses (ásanas) Before Sleep

In today's busy world it is hard to put our minds to rest. Give yourself between five and ten minutes right before bed and do these very simple poses. Make it a routine and after a few nights of repetition, see the benefits in the quality of your sleep. Put down your screens and turn off the TV. Be playful with these poses, try to relax, and focus on your breathing.


1. Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)

One of the most basic inversions one can do is legs up the wall, which translated from Sanskrit means "action of inverting". Legs, as I will call it for short, soothes the nervous system by reversing blood-flow toward the base of the spine making it one of the best asanas for better sleep. Other benefits include:

  1. helps relieve tension from sciatica.

  2. releases/relaxes the lower back.

  3. can relieve menstrual cramps.

  4. improves digestion.

  5. can help prevent varicose veins.

Variations:

  • Placing a block, bolster, pillow, or folded blanket under sacrum (just above the tail bone) can make this pose more accessible if you are less flexible. Also, it can just feel good allowing a release in the low back to reduce low back pain and lengthening the hamstrings. -Lowers heart rate,

  • Placing the feet on the wall allowing the knees to drop toward your chest can also feel great.

  • Bringing the soles of the feet together and allowing the knees to open wide as in "cobbler's pose" gives all the previously mentioned benefits but also allows for a hip opener.

2. Child Pose (Balasana)

There are many different variations of child's pose; knees together, knees separated, hands back by the feet, hands out in front of you, arms engaged, arms relaxed, on a bolster etc. that I cannot cover all of them. In most cases the benefits vary little. So, try some or all of them and see what feels best to you. You might even find your own variation that you like best.


In child pose, the spine remains relaxed and lengthened in a forward folded position. The compressed abdomen and chest forces focused and calmed breathing as your diaphragm isn't able to expand and contract as usual. Separating the knees out wide can allow for extra room for the belly if the compression becomes uncomfortable. Keeping your awareness on your breathing can help reduce stress and calm the nervous system. Other benefits include:

  1. Gently stretches the entire body including ankles and shins.

  2. Increased awareness in body and breath.

  3. Gently massages internal organs.

  4. Normalizes blood circulation.

  5. Reduces migraines.

  6. Can treat insomnia and anxiety.

  7. Can treat restless leg syndrome.

Variations:

  • Supported: Place a bolster, pillow, or rolled blanket between the knees. Fold forward and rest the torso for a restorative version.

  • Knees together lengthens and rounds the spine and increases space between the vertebrae. Knees apart allows for more space for the torso therefore lengthening and aligning the spine with less curvature. Arms stretched forward or behind will work. Try what feels best for you.

3. Supine Bound Angle (Baddha Konasana)

Often called reclined cobbler pose and reclined butterfly pose, this asana can renew energy, calm the nervous system, and improve blood circulation. Reclined bound angle allows the lower back and hips to rest while inducing restfulness and relaxation especially for those experiencing insomnia. This pose is categorized as a restorative yoga asanas. Other benefits include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Stretches the inner thighs and groin.

  2. Tightens the lower abdomen and burns fat.

  3. Soothes the internal organs.

  4. Can relieve symptoms of P.M.S. and menstruation.

  5. Increases flexibility in the legs.

  6. Can be relaxing for those who are pregnant.

  7. Can help prevent hernia by making the hips and groin more supple.

  8. Can help relieve pain associated with sciatica.

  9. Can reduce pain from hemorrhoids.

Variations:

Like child pose, supine bound angle pose has as many variations as it does benefits. You can use a bolster, blanket, and/or blocks in just about any location to make the body more comfortable. Just play around and see what feels best. Don't be surprised that what feels great one time might feel completely different the next time depending on the state of your mind or condition of your body.

  • Place a rolled blanket or bolster vertically along the spine allowing the hips to drop.

  • If you want a gentler stretch in the groin, place blocks, rolled yoga mat, or blanket under the knees.

  • Do this pose in feet up the wall position to reverse the flow of blood through the body.

4. Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)

Happy baby is typically done with a gentle rocking motion, which gives the spine and back muscles a gentle massage. Because this pose is supine (on the back) it helps bring down the heart rate therefore calming the mind and body making it a perfect asana for sleep. This pose is also known as dead bug, specifically if one chooses not to rock back and forth. Other benefits include:

  1. Lengthens and re-aligns the spine.

  2. Relieves lower back pain.

  3. Full relaxation while stretching the glutes, hamstrings, and groin.

Variations:

  • Release one leg to the floor which will deep the stretch in the inner thighs.

  • Wrap your arms and legs around a pillow or bolster. The weight of the pillow or bolster will have a calming feeling on your body much like a weighted blanket.



5. Supine Spinal Twist II (supta matsyendrasana II)

Often called reclined spinal twist, this pose calms the body and the mind. The twisting of the hips relaxes the spine. In general, twisting the abdomen massages the internal organs and improves digestive function. Other benefits include:

  1. Improves flexibility in the spine, hips, shoulders, and neck.

  2. Releases tension in the back while improving strength.

  3. Increases relaxation while calming the mind.

  4. Can treat back pain issues.

  5. Great to end the day after sitting for hours in a chair.

Variations:

  • For a deeper stretch, cross one leg over the other.

  • For those with less flexibility, place legs on a folded blanket or bolster.

Conclusion

All of the poses listed above fall into the restorative category of yoga. These poses are all easy and there is little danger in hurting yourself if you don't practice often. If you have any questions or comments about any of the poses in this blog, don't hesitate to contact me using the form on the main page of the website.


September 19, 2021 Warrior Yoga will be hosting a restorative yoga event where we will be practicing many of these poses and more. Class time 8:00 PM.








66 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All