Can't sleep? Or maybe you have trouble falling asleep. Whether you have trouble calming your mind or getting into a comfortable position, doing some yoga before bed can help ease your way into dreamland. While you might think that yoga before bed is just another waste of time after a busy day, these poses are designed to be super easy and restorative. They take as long as you want to hold them and can even be done in bed. Try holding these poses for anywhere from 30 seconds each to a full five minutes, depending on your own comfort level. If you find that anything causes you discomfort, move on to another pose. Whenever you have trouble sleeping, whether you do yoga on a regular basis, try adding these poses to your wind down routine as a final step before turning out the light.
1. Child's Pose
For child's pose, get into a comfortable kneeling position. If you have issues with your knees, tuck a towel, cushion or blanket beneath them. Slowly lower your torso onto your knees as you aim your forehead toward the floor. Extend your arms in front of you for an added extension, or leave them beside your legs. Breathe deeply as you try to reach your seat away from your head. Hold the pose for as long as you want, remembering to breathe.
2. Legs Up a Wall
For an upside relaxation pose, lie on your bed or on the floor, close to a wall. Move your rear end so that it is about six inches from the wall, with your back on the floor and your legs up the wall. If the stretch is too much for you, back away from the wall. If you want to stretch a little deeper, move closer to the wall until you find the sensation that you are looking for. Rest your hands comfortably on your stomach, breathing deeply. You can also keep your hands at your sides, with the palms facing up. Hold the pose for as long as you need it, breathing deeply.
3. Lying Spinal Twist
This posture is a good way to stretch the lower back and hips after a long day. To begin, lie on your back and pull your knees close into your chest. Slowly, lower both knees to the right while turning your head to the left. Extend your arms so that they reach out to both sides, straight from your shoulders. You can also bend your arms so that they look like a cactus or goal post. Stay breathing on this side for at least five breaths. Slowly raise your knees back into the center. Lower them to the opposite side, turning your head to face the right. Breathe on this side for the same amount of time.
4. Head to Knee Pose
Sit on the floor and make your legs as straight as possible, while maintaining a flat back -- you can bend your knees if you need to. Bend one leg so that your foot touches your thigh and your hip opens up. On your inhale, raise your arms over your head. On the exhale, reach out and try to grab your foot on the extended leg, keeping your spine straight and your foot flexed toward you. If you can't reach your foot, don't force it. Instead, stretch your hands as far as they can reach on your extended leg. Continue to breathe in and out for as long as you wish before repeating the pose on the other side.
5. Nighttime Goddess Stretch
Lie down on your back, with your knees bent. Slowly lower your knees so that the bottoms of your feet touch and you form a diamond shape with your legs. If the stretch is too intense, use pillows, blocks or a blanket to support your knees. Rest your arms beside you, palms facing up and practice deep breathing. Close your eyes and stay in the pose for as long as you wish.
Try these poses out the next time that you experience trouble sleeping. They can be incorporated into a longer yoga flow, or performed in any order, for a good night's sleep.