Good quality sleep is essential for our overall health, but some nights it can be hard to get. Sometimes it can seem impossible to shut our brain off. Use these yoga poses to passively stretch your body and release tension. Connecting with your breath will help to calm your mind as well.
Easy Pose / Sukhasana
Begin by finding a comfortable seat while sitting on a pillow, making sure to keep a long spine. Close your eyes and relax your body. Let your legs and seat become heavy, melt your shoulders away from your ears, and release any tension in your face. Place one hand across your stomach, and one hand on your chest. Feel the rise and fall of your stomach and chest. Take a deep inhale through the nose, and exhale through the mouth – repeating this for three breath cycles.
Bring your right hand to the left side of your head, directly above the left ear. Gently bring your right ear towards your right shoulder. Hold for 5 breaths. Inhale to release your hand and bring your head to center. Repeat on the left side.
Place your right hand beside your right hip, lifting your left hand over towards the right side – stretching your left side body. Hold for 5 breaths. Inhale back to center and repeat on the other side.
Place your left hand on your right knee, and your right hand behind you for support. Inhale to lengthen the spine, drawing the crown of the head towards the ceiling. Exhale to gently twist to the right. Hold for 5 breaths. Inhale to return to center and repeat on other side.
Seated Straddle Pose / Upavistha Konasana
Gently extend both legs out to the side and place as many pillows as is comfortable in front of you. Flex your feet and keep a slight bend in the knees. You want this pose to be passive to gently release any tension in the hamstrings and lower back. Slowly start to walk your hands in front on you, on the pillows. You can keep yourself upright, or place a cheek or your forehead on the pillow. Hold for 5 breaths. Inhale to slowly bring yourself back up to seated.
Childs Pose / Balasana
Place a pillow in front of you, length-wise. Bring your big toes to touch, and your knees out wide beyond the pillow. Slowly bring your chest down on the pillow and hands on either side of the pillow. Place one cheek on the pillow. Hold for 5 breaths. Switch sides of your cheek and hold for an additional 5 breaths. Inhale to slowly come back up to seated.
Reclined Half Pigeon / Sucirandhrasana
Slowly recline back so you are laying on your back with your knees bent and soles of the feet on the bed. Flex you right foot and place your right ankle over your left thigh. Stay here, or lift your left foot off the bed and reach around either the back of your thigh or your shin for a deeper stretch. Keep both feet flexed. Hold for 5 breaths. Exhale to release and repeat on the left side.
Wind Release Pose / Pawanmuktasana
Bring your knees into your chest, placing your hands around your shins. Hold for 5 breaths.
Releasing your left leg out in front of you, bring just your right knee into your chest. Hold for 5 breaths. Exhale to release. Bring your left knee into your chest and hold for 5 breaths. Exhale to release.
Supine Twist / Supta Matsyendrasana
Bring a pillow to be parallel to your right side, in front of your knees. Bring your knees into your chest and slowly lower your knees to the right, placing them on the pillow. Gaze over your left shoulder if that feels comfortable in your neck. Hold for 10 breaths. Inhale to bring your knees back to your chest and repeat on the left side.
Reclined Bound Angle / Supta Baddha Konasana
Lying on your back, bring the soles of your feet together and knees out wide. Place a pillow under each knee. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Hold for 10 breaths.
Legs Up The Wall / Viparita Karani
Lying on one side with hips and legs along the base of the wall or headboard, roll onto your back and bring legs up the wall. Breath deeply and stay here for 2 minutes.
Final Resting Pose / Savasana
Lying on your back, bring your legs out straight in front of you and place a pillow perpendicularly underneath your knees. Bring your arms out by your side. Close your eyes and take a deep inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Repeat this for 3 breath cycles. Let your breath return to normal and let your entire body feel heavy. Lie here for as long you would like, but try for at least 3 minutes.
*You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs. This site offers health, fitness and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.*