Yoga Sequence for Better Sleep

Young people do yoga indoors

Yoga Sequence for Better Sleep

Do you sometimes have trouble falling asleep? Find it difficult to quiet the mind and calm the body following a busy, stress-filled day? You are not alone. Sleep challenges are extremely common among adults, and the majority of Americans get less sleep than they actually need for optimal health.

Next time you have trouble unwinding, try yoga. Slow, deep breaths will relax the body, engaging the “rest and digest” response, and moving away from “fight or flight”. Visualizations can be helpful, guided meditations, and gentle asanas are all great ways to calm and relax. Here is a 5-minute asana sequence to do prior to bedtime each night. Sweet dreams!

1. Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Legged Forward Bend): Stand with your legs about 3 to 4 feet apart, toes pointing straight ahead. Hands on your hips, stand tall lengthening through the spine. Press into the outer edges of the feet, soften the knees and activate your quads. Staying long in the torso, hinge at the hips to fold, with flat back. Release your hands to the ground or grab the backs of your legs and keep extended through the spine as you breathe into the backs of your legs. Hold for 5-10 breaths and gently release by slowly returning to standing.

2. Janusirsasana (Head to Knee Pose): From seated, extend both legs in front of you, to Staff Pose. Root your sitz bones into the mat and lengthen through the spine. Activate the legs by flexing the feet, toes reaching toward ceiling. To begin janusirsasana, bring your right heel toward your perineum, placing it on your inner left thigh. Inhale and twist slightly to the left, lining rib cage with left thigh, and extending spine. On the exhale gold forward over the left leg, reaching hands for your foot or the back of your leg (a modification for tight hamstrings). Take 5-10 deep breaths before gently returning to Staff Pose and switching to the other leg.

3. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana): begging on Staff Pose with legs extended in front of you. Inhale ground down into your sitz bones, and lengthen up through the spine. On the exhale, keep the torso long as you fold forward from the hip joints. Inhale find more length in the upper body; exhale fold a little deeper. Hands reach for backs of legs or for the feet. *For tight hamstrings bend the knees slightly and grab the backs of the legs, activating the arms to pull yourself forward from the hips. Avoid rounding the back, but rather continue extended through the spine with each breath. Take 5-10 breaths and gently return to Staff Pose.

4. Balasana (Child’s Pose): Beginnon your hands and knees in Tabletop Pose, with hands lined up underneath the shoulders and knees lined up under the hips. Take the knees wide and sink the hips back to the heels. Extend arms out in from of the body and relax the torso between the upper thighs, forehead on the mat or a block. If it feels more relaxing, take the hands back to the heels and relax the shoulders. Take 10 deep breaths here, before gently returning to Tabletop.

5. Jathara Parivartaranasana (Reclining Twist): Begin by lying on your back, hugging knees into the chest, giving yourself a hug. Roll a little from side to side, massaging the lower spine. Release the knees slightly, forming a 90 degree bend. Rotate the knees to the left, toward

the ground, and allow them to release to the mat. Arms reach out into a “T”, right shoulder reaching toward the mat. Take 5-10 deep breaths here and feel both the belly and the back expanding on each inhale. Gently draw the knees back to center and twist to the other side.

View our video of this sequence here, and keep those deep breaths going and get yourself to bed. After this yoga sequence for better sleep, you’re now ready for a restful night’s sleep!

 

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