People practice yoga for a variety of reasons. Some love the peace it affords them. Others find the physical fitness and stability that can be achieved makes their lives so much better on a daily basis. While others look to yoga to address pains they have, be them physical, spiritual, or mental. The fact of the matter is that most people practice yoga for a combination of these reasons.

As we stare into our phones as a means to wake up, throughout the day, and then right before we sleep, the body and mind can find it difficult to cope with modern stimuli and its side-effects. We are excited to highlight some poses you can try in your independent yoga fitness sessions that will hopefully help you achieve a more restful and deep sleep. Yoga is an organic way to relax yourself and reduce muscle tension that has built up throughout the day. Both relaxation and the reduction of muscle tension contribute to getting a better night’s sleep. Read on if you are interested in achieving a better night’s sleep, whether you are someone who has never been to a yoga class in your life, or is a yoga instructor yourself!

Head-To-Knee Pose

Also known as Janu Sirsasana, the head-to-knee pose can help you get better sleep.

  • First, sit on the floor, and be sure to not slouch. Extend your legs straight and directly in front of you. If you need to go ahead and bend your knees slightly, as to keep the spine from rounding.
  • Bend your right knee, and open up your hip. Take the sole of your right foot, and nestle it into your inner left thigh, with the right knee facing the ground. If necessary, you can support your right-hand knee with a cushion.
  • Inhale. Lengthen your spine.
  • Rest as the last bit of breath leaves your lungs. Then exhale while bending from the hips, extending over the left leg. Keep the neck and spine as long as you can, and then take your hands on either side of the left leg. Make sure your eyes are fixed on the big toe of your left foot while you pay attention to your breath.
  • Repeat the same exercise on the other side.

Legs Up The Wall

Known as Viparita Karani, this pose is one of our person favorites when it comes to relieving lower back pain and relaxing the mind. This pose, in particular, is ideal for home use, outside of yoga class. It will improve your circulation which has positive effects on every system in the body.

  • Place your pillow up against a wall or headboard at the top of your bed.
  • Support your lower back by laying down on the pillow, with your sitting bones flush against the wall or headboard.
  • Raise your legs up as far as you can towards the ceiling, being sure to keep your sitting bones snug against the wall.
  • Stack your heals above the hips, resting your head and shoulders against your bed. Feel free to let your arms extend, or keep them by your side; whichever is more comfortable. But be sure to place your palms facing up to let the restorative energy flow through your body.

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Corpse Pose

Referred to as savasana, you’ve probably practiced corpse pose in a yoga course or class once or twice before. It feels amazing after an intense session, and can be a great way to calm your busy mind down from the day’s worries.

  • Keep the pillow under your spine if you feel like it, and extend your legs out in front of you.
  • Bring your left hand to the heart, and place the right hand on your belly.
  • Breathe with a deep inhalation and full exhalation three times.
  • Inhale to the count of four, hold your breath until seven, and finally exhale to the count of eight. Repeat this circuit four times for best effects. Remove the pillow from underneath your spine if you experience no pain while doing so.

Child’s Pose

The fundamental resting pose found in many yoga courses today, balasana helps relax your mind and relieve tension.

  • Fold your torso over your legs with the arms fully extended or by your side.
  • Keep your spine as extended as possible while extending the forehead all the way down to the ground.
  • Take long and deep breaths. Massage your forehead from left to right, in order to ease tension housed in the temple and brow point.

Bound Angle Pose

Please note that if you find sitting in this pose is a bit too difficult or painful at all, you can skip the forward bend. Feel free to use a blanket or cushion which can help a tight body effectively open up.

  • Sit on the floor with a focused mind and an intention to lengthen the spine. Bring the soles of the feet together in front of you, while you hold your hands at the feet or ankles.
  • If you are feeling comfortable at this point and are sitting without having to round the lower back, bring your feet as close as you can to the groin, accomplishing what some call the “butterfly stretch.”
  • Inhale, and lengthen the spine.
  • Exhale while bending forward from hips. Be sure to keep your spine as extended as possible. As you feel your muscles begin to relax, don’t lose track of your breath.

Thread-The-Needle

A word of advice for those of you less familiar with yoga practice; go as deep as you need to in order to experience a gentle stretch. Don’t over-exert yourself.

  • Laying with your back on the mat and head flat on the mat as well, bend your knees and put the soles of your feet on the mat.
  • With your hands, bring the knee to your chest while keeping the hips as even as possible.
  • You’ll want to place your right ankle below the left knee with the right knee pointing to your right-hand-side. Flex your foot in order to maintain muscle engagement and reduce pressure and strain on the knee.
  • Now lift your left foot completely off of the floor while bringing that knee to your sternum, placing your hands on both sides of the left thigh to support yourself.
  • Keep your hips parallel while concentrating on your breathing patterns.
  • Repeat on the other side.

By no means exhaustive, these soothing yoga poses are recommended for supplementary practice outside of your regular yoga classes. If you are able to incorporate these poses into your personal practice and achieve better sleep because of it, please share your story with us! We would love to hear from you. Serving Jacksonville, Fleming Island, Mandarin, Southside, Avondale, and World Golf Village, we at Yoga Den offer a wide variety of yoga related services. If you are looking for yoga teacher training or perhaps are ready to attend your first yoga class, get started today!