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.

Yoga poses to help you fall asleep

This yoga routine focuses on yoga nidra, also known as a yogic sleeping state. This state of being focuses on reducing cluttered thoughts, focusing on the breath and maintaining the state between sleeping and being awake.

You may want to prep the area you’re completing yoga in prior to starting your yoga for sleep routine. Easy ways to increase the relaxing aura of the area is to light candles, drink magnesium or use lavender essential oils

Downward facing dog

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 the pose for one minute.

Thread the needle

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

Pigeon pose 

Imagine your breath could move through your hips like water and circle your breath in figure-eights within your pelvis.

Hold for one minute on each side.

Reclined hero’s pose

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 over a minute.

Seated forward fold

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 for more than a minute.

One leg seated forward fold with ½ hero’s pose 

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

Supported bridge pose

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 two to three minutes.

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