3 Yoga Poses For When You Just Can’t Get To Sleep

While a morning yoga practice brings you invigorating energy and joy to carry through your day, a bedtime practice lets you get back in touch with your breath, turn your attention inwards, and reconnect your mind, body, and spirit.

There’s nothing worse than the anxious tossing and turning in bed when you’re unable to sleep! Perhaps you’ve had a day where you dealt with some big news and are struggling to calm yourself down. Maybe you’ve overindulged on coffee or other sources of caffeine… or maybe you’re just too tense in the neck and shoulders to properly relax your mind.

Next time you find yourself tossing and turning in the wee hours of night, try hopping out of bed, washing your face, and giving these three yoga poses a try. These positions will give you a chance to escape the business of your mind and calmly re-enter the realm of your tired body. Feel free to stay in these poses for as long as you feel comfortable; once you’re feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, hop back into bed and enjoy the quietness of your still mind.

1. Shoulder stand (sarvangasana)

3 Yoga Poses For When You Just Can’t Get To Sleep

This is the ultimate relaxation pose! Practice this pose every night before bed to lengthen your spine and relax your body – you will not regret it! Sarvangasana is known as the mother of yoga, and for good reason. It’s a great way to give your whole body the wonderful therapeutic benefits of yoga in one go.

Sarva means ‘everything’ and anga  means ‘limbs’ in Sanskrit, and you can be rest assured that a daily sarvangasana will help to nourish every limb before you head off to your healing and regenerating sleep. This pose has many benefits for your thyroid gland, is a wonderful way to unravel tension in your neck you may have built up over the day, and strengthens your heart and lungs at the same time. Raising your feet towards the sky flushes your lymph fluids down the entire body, calming the nervous system and soothing both your body and soul. Sarvangasana is a favourite of yogis around the world for encouraging calmer, restorative, and peaceful sleep.

2. Child’s pose (balasana)

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Resting your forehead on the ground brings awareness to your third eye. The pineal gland lies just behind this area, which is why this pose is renowned for bringing calm and clarity to the mind. A beautiful release for both the mind and the lower back, child’s pose allows you to lengthen your spine and bring awareness to your whole body through your breath.

This restorative pose can be done in several ways. You can play around with the width of your knees, and can either stretch your hands forwards or rest them on the ground beside you. It’s all about what feels the most comfortable for you, and what brings you the greatest sense of peace. Personalising child’s pose to correct the issues you’re currently feeling will help make this pose more effective at calming both the mind and body before bed.

3. Standing forward bend (uttanasana)

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The standing forward bend melts away your worries and gets you in the right frame of mind for falling asleep. This pose releases the back of your hamstrings and lower back, and as your head is placed below your heart, blood rushes to the head and flushes the body with rejuvenating oxygen. One of the most calming parts of this pose is when you release and pull yourself back up to standing. This movement really allows you to feel a sense of groundedness as you bring awareness to the unraveling of the whole spine. It is for this reason that uttanasana is often used to treat anxiety and fatigue; it lets you feel solid and strong while completely at ease. It’s the perfect pose for before bedtime! It’s restorative, strengthening, and refreshing.

There you have it! While these poses are simple, their effects are far reaching and powerful. Try them next time you need to go to bed early but find yourself still full of energy, or when you just can’t seem to quieten the chatter in your mind before bedtime. Regardless of the reason, these three poses will immediately bring calm and clarity to your mind, and restful relaxation to your body.

Sweet dreams!

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Annie Au
Annie Au

Annie is an international yoga teacher, educator and writer. Specializes in yoga anatomy, she infuses anatomy knowledge in her yoga classes to help students practice more intelligently and avoid injuries. Annie has the ability to lead a dynamic class filled with inversions with a duality of restorative and healing sequences. She is grateful to learn from various genuine masterful teachers. Eternal gratitude and thanks to teachers: Dharma Mittra, Boonchu Tanti & Ganesh Mohan.Before yoga, she was a professional contemporary dancer and founder of Au Dance School in Vancouver. Her decade long dance career has taken her around the world including some fond memories touring in India, Egypt, Brazil and Germany. Annie teaches Dharma and Yin Yoga and is currently studying Tibetan Buddhism. Follow her on Website, Facebook and Instagram.

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