Yoga for Sleep

Blame it on the full moon, restless leg syndrome or your Netflix addiction. Not being able to fall asleep or to sleep well is a drag. Here is a 7-pose yoga sequence that will put you in the mood to rest and restore the whole night through.

Pose 1: Downward Facing Dog
Focus: Hug the muscles of the arms and and legs onto the bone. By engaging significantly in your limbs so that you are using up excess energy and your body and mind will be more willing to relax when you release the pose.
Hold: for 1 minute

Pose 2: Thread the Needle
Focus: Use your abdominal muscles to emphasize the twist. If you have threaded your right arm under, spin your belly to the left. Even if you can’t get your belly to turn, visualizing it twisting will increase the benefit of of the pose. This gentle twist will relieve your spine and send fresh blood flow to your organs.
Hold: each side for 45 seconds

Pose 3: Pigeon Pose 
Focus: Imagine your breath could move through your hips like water and circle your breath in figure-eights within your pelvis.
Hold: for 1 minute each side

Pose 4: Reclined Hero’s Pose
Focus: Set this pose up to be restoring, you do not want to be at your stretching edge. Place a bolster under your back and roll up a blanket to lift your head a little higher than your shoulders. If you don’t have a bolster you can use a combination of blankets and pillows.
Hold: for 1+ minute

Pose 5: Seated Forward Fold
Focus: Rest your head on a bolster, pillow or block. Relax the muscles around your eyes. Soften the base of your skull. Roll your forehead side to side on the head support where the ‘third eye’ is.
Hold: 1+ minute

Pose 6: One Leg Seated Forward Fold with ½ Hero’s Pose 
Focus: Place a blanket under one sit-bone to level your hips. Prop up a bolster or other props to rest your head on. Lightly engage your extended leg by pressing the heel down and engaging the upper thigh. Imagine your bones sinking down into thick clay-like mud.
Hold: each side for 45 seconds

Pose 7: Supported Bridge Pose 
Focus: Place a block at a height you are comfortable with underneath your sacrum. Take your arms away from your sides, palms face up. Relax the weight of your hips into the block. Relax your tongue, drop it down – away from the roof of your mouth. Soften your eyes, allow the eyeballs to sink further down into the eye sockets. Relax your jaw, let your teeth separate a little bit.
Hold: 2-3 minutes

Caitlin Rose Kenney is a yoga teacher, beekeeper and writer.