Ten Yoga Poses That Will Help You Get To Sleep Faster and Better

There are many reasons that you may be struggling to get to sleep. These reasons can be physical such as aches, pain, and stiffness, or related to your thoughts, such as stress or inability to stop a busy mind. Perhaps you are simply unable to find a way to wind down at the end of the day. Then there are the unfortunate who have both physical and psychological reasons for struggling to sleep.

Yoga can help you with both the physical and thought blocks that are not allowing you to wind down and sleep at night.Yoga is not simply stretching. It is a system that incorporates physical movement, breathing practices, and mindful elements that brings all parts of yourself together to create a place where your body is relaxed, and your breathing regulates your mood. Your mind is taught to be in the moment, allowing you to be calm and peaceful, promoting a faster path to sleep and a deeper, more concentrated sleep pattern.

Learning these Poses and incorporating a ten to fifteen-minute yoga practice regularly before bed will, with time, allow you to relax faster, feel sleepy and release tension and stress. All these poses promote deep relaxation and improve the body's function to decrease tension and aches within the most common places in the body. Each of these poses is beginner-friendly and can be practiced on a mat or on your bed.

How To Create a Relaxing Environment For Your Nightime Yoga Practice

Decide if you are going to create a space outside your room, near your bed, or on your bed to do your night time yoga routine. Then set the scene for a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. You don't need to go overboard; these simple steps are all you need to do.

1.Place your yoga mat, fluffy towel, or blanket on the floor in a large enough space to lay full length with each arm out at your sides like wings. Or place a non-slip blanket or towel on your bed if your bedding is slippery.

2.Make sure you are in comfortable clothing that will not rub, pull or restrict you.

3.You may want to use soothing essential oils in a vapouriser, like lavender, frankincense, gentle vanilla. Light a scented candle, or rub essential oil on your wrists and ankles.

4.Lower the lighting to a gentle glow, and you may also want to play some relaxing music with a gentle continuous flow. 

Practice These Yoga Poses Immediately Before slipping into bed

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Forward Fold ( Uttanasana )

Begin your nighttime yoga practice by Standing in mountain pose ( tadasana ) with feet together, spine aligned, shoulders back, and arms by your side with your palms forward.

Inhale through your nose deeply and raise your arms as you inhale so your palms touch above your head.

Exhale slowly out your mouth and turn your palms down to the floor as you bend from the hips and soften your knees to a comfortable bend. If you can touch the floor comfortably with your fingertips, then do this. If you cannot touch the floor, place your palms on the shins. Inhale slowly through the nose, hold for two seconds, and exhale for four through the mouth. Then, take four more slow deep breaths.

Allow your hips to hinge more until you feel a gentle stretch in your hamstrings. This stretch will release tension in your neck, lower and upper back, massage the core and internal organs and elongate the spine to relax the core and release tension from improper posture.

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Cat Cow Pose ( Bitilasana Marjaryasana )

From the Forward fold, release your hands to the floor while you bend your knees and lower yourself slowly to be on your hands and knees so that your hands are stacked under your shoulders, and your knees are stacked under your hips.

Starting with a straight back, inhale through your nose and tilt your pelvis forward while drawing your belly button to your spine and dropping your head to gaze between your thighs to form cat pose. Feel the stretch through your back, hips, and shoulders as you slowly exhale through your mouth.

Inhale and lift the head to gaze out in front of you, lifting the chest as you arch your back. Appreciate the gentle stretch through the abdomen, lower back, glutes and chest as you exhale out your mouth, slowly holding the pose.

Repeat this four times. Release back to all fours with a straight back.

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Childs Pose ( Balasana ) 

Inhale, leave your palms on the mat or blanket as they are, and slowly lower your buttock so that it is on your heels. Slide your hands out before you until your forehead is on the mat or blanket. Exhale and either bend the elbows so that your arms are rested and are comfortable in front, or draw them into your sides, placing your hands and palms up next to your feet.

Exhale and relax into this position, melt the spine, elongate the neck and close your eyes.

Take four slow relaxing breaths in this position. 

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Seated Forward Fold ( Paschimottanasana)

Inhale and gently raise your upper body so that you are sitting on your heels. Exhale. Inhale and Gently unfold your legs so that they are straight out in front of you as you are sitting straight, your shoulder stacked above your hips and your gaze gently forward. Inhale and gently bend the knees if needed.

Hinge at the hips and stretch the hands forward to reach for the feet. Only lean forward slightly until you feel a gentle stretch, keeping your back straight. Exhale and reach forward slightly, intensifying the stretch. Exhale and release the intensity. Inhale and gently reach forward again. Repeat this three more times. Exhale and return to sitting upright with your back straight, slightly bent knees, and hands by your side.

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Easy Pose (sukhasana) 

Inhale and draw the feet in, crossing in front of the pelvis. Lift your hands up to be palms facing up and resting on your knees with relaxed arms. Exhale and Roll your shoulders back and relax them down, away from your ears.

Inhale and lift the chest while straightening the back, pulling the belly button to the spine, and gently pushing the knees to the ground opening the hips and groin. Exhale and close your eyes. Take four slow, deep, and deliberate breaths in this position enjoying the stretch and release of tension from the hips, groin, and lower back. Exhale and slowly lower yourself to lay on your back, placing your legs straight out below the hips. 

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Supine Easy Twist ( Supta Matsyendrasana)

Inhale and spread your arms on either side of you so that a straight line runs from your left palm to your right palm through your shoulders. Press your palms to the floor. Exhale and bring your legs and feet together.

Slowly draw the knees up to the chest, and gently lower your legs to the left side while turning your gaze to the right. Exhale slowly, holding this stretch. Next, inhale and lift the legs to the center bringing the gaze to the center, then lower the legs to the right side while moving your gaze to the left. Take two breaths holding the twist, exhale and swap to the legs to the left side, the gaze to the right, also taking two slow breaths here. Repeat as you wish. On the final exhale, release back to laying with arms by your side and legs stretched out below you.

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Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)

Inhale and bend your knees while you draw them to your chest, reaching out your hands to the inner sole of your feet. Exhale and open your hips, allowing your knees to fall to either side of your rib cage, lifting your pelvis off the floor.

Take Four slow deep breaths in this position. If you are menstruating and suffering from cramping and lower back pain, gently rock side to side or back and forward in a controlled and slow manner to massage the lower back and the core. Exhale once you have finished in this pose. 

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Legs Up The Wall ( Viparita Karani)

Slowly scoot over to the wall, headboard, or wall at the end or top of the bed.

Lay down and scoot your buttocks against the wall with your legs pointing up the wall with your feet pointing to the roof. You may point your feet or just hold them in a position that is comfortable.

Inhale and lay your arms by your siderolling the shoulders to ensure your chest is open, and your rib cage extended.

Exhale and release the tension in your core, allowing your shoulders and arms to sink to the floor or bed. Take a few long, deep breaths in this position or as long as you enjoy the position. To release from the legs up the wall, Inhale and pull your knees to the chest and either roll to the side or shuffle your hips from the wall and lower your legs until your feet are able to touch the floor with your knees bent. Once released from leg up the wall, lay down on the bed with your head on a pillow and legs out straight behind you. 

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Reclined Butterfly Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Lay on your back, placing your hands out next to you with relaxed arms either next to you, or inhale and bring your hands to rest on your belly. Whichever is more comfortable. This is a restorative (resting and relaxing) pose to comfort is the aim.

Exhale and bring the sole of your feet togetheropening your knees and allowing them to fall to each side. Inhale and draw the feet up to a comfortable distance from your groin, allowing your knees to open and fall to each side, and feeling the hips open and lower spine relax and stretch. Take a slow deep breath in counting to four.

Hold the breath for two seconds, then release the breath slowly from the mouth for six seconds. Repeat this breath pattern four to six more times, counting each second and allowing your mind to only concentrate on the counting, feeling your body relax and lower to the ground. Let your breath return to a natural pattern and remain here for 45 seconds to a minute minimum.

You may stay in this position as long as you are enjoying or want to. However, if you start to feel tension in your legs or groin, take your feet a slighter distance from your groin to release the tension of the stretch to keep it a restorative and relaxing pose for you.

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Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Before you enter this pose, if you have a meditation tape, guided meditation for sleep, or specific sleep sounds you want to listen to, press play on this music or sounds now.

Called the corpse pose, it is a foundation pose used regularly to rest during yoga flow or to induce a deep restorative or meditative state. This pose is excellent to finish a yoga flow if you wish to fall asleep, enter deep relaxation that will invite sleep once you get into bed, and remove tension from the spine.

Lay on your back with your feet slightly apart and your arms lying by your side. Rest a pillow under your head, place a warm blanket or your bedding over you and assume this position in bed to relax further and focus on your breathing. Once again, inhale through your nose deeply for four seconds, hold for two, and then release for six through your mount. Repeat this five more times. Then allow your breathing to fall into a natural pattern.

By this point, you should feel relaxed, sleepy, and completely calm. However, if you are not use to yoga, are not used to relaxing, and are used to a rushed and stressed lifestyle. This relaxed, calm, mindful state will not start on the first day you practice yoga. It may take a number of nights, or even a week or two, or persistent practice to start to feel the benefits.

Research shows that if you establish a yoga nighttime routine and stay committed, you will improve your sleep, productivity, energy, and mood during the day.

Sleep is one of the fundamental needs of human beings, and yoga can assist you to sleep better, sooner, and deeper and allow you to be a happy, more energetic, and happier human during the day.

So lower the lights, grab your favorite oils or candle, and establish a nightie yoga routine to improve your sleep and overall health.