Enjoy a better night sleep with these yoga poses.
Sleep better by including these six yoga poses into your practice.
1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Kneel on the floor with big toes touching and knees nice and wide. Ensure your buttocks is sitting on your heels. Inhale to lift and lengthen through the spine and as you exhale slowly walk yourself forward as you lower your chest and forward towards the floor. Keep your buttocks on your heels and relax your shoulder blades down your back. if your forehead doesn’t reach the floor, stack your hands and rest your forward on them.
2. Intense Forward Bend (Uttansasana)
Stand with your big toes touching. Inhale and sweep your hands up over your head. As you exhale, bend your knees and fold forward from the hips. Rest your chest on your thighs and relax your neck. Let your hands fall towards the floor. If you are feeling tight at the back of the legs, rest your elbows on your thighs. Shift the weight towards your toes and keep your knees soft. To come out of the pose, draw your belly button to spine, chin to chest and slowly roll yourself back up to standing.
3. Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
Stand with your feet about one and half legs lengths apart with feet parallel to the edges of the mat and toes slightly turned in. Keep your knees soft. With your hands on your hips, inhale and lift and lengthen through the chest. As you exhale, lean forward from the hips and maintain the length through the torso. Stop at hip height and on the next exhalation take your hands down to the mat, placing your palms flat of the mat at shoulder-distance apart. Your fingers should be facing forward and your elbows pointing behind. Relax through the neck. If you are too tight in the back of the thighs and your hands can’t reach the floor while maintaining length through the chest, place your hands onto a block. To come out of the pose, bring your hands to your hip, engage the thighs and slowly roll back up to standing.
4. Reclining Hero’s Pose (Supta Virasana)
Kneel on the floor with your knees touching. Slide your feet apart and roll out your calves towards your heels with your hands. Sit back placing your buttocks on the mat between your heels. If this is too strong or your buttock doesn’t comfortably sit on the floor, place a block underneath your buttock. If this position is enough, you can sit with your hands on your thighs with the palms facing up. To come into the reclining version as shown in the above pic, as you exhale lower your back toward the floor. To do this, first lean onto your hands, then onto your forearms and elbows. Once on your elbows, recline to the floor (or a bolster if you need some support). Inhale the hands above your head and hold onto opposite elbows. Make sure your knees stay together and there isn’t any pressure through the lower back. To come out of the pose, bring your hands back by pressing your forearms into the floor and coming onto your hands. Then with your hands push yourself back into virasana and rest with your hands on your thighs with the palms facing up.
5. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-distance apart. Work to touch the backs of your heels with your hands, making sure the knees are stacked over the ankles. With your hands by your side, pull your belly button into your spine and press your feet into the floor. Slowly start to take your hips towards the ceiling. Interlace your fingers behind the back with the palms touching, and come up onto your shoulders. Press the chest towards your chin and take your chin away from your chest. On an exhalation, release the hands and lower your hips back down to the mat one vertebra at a time.
6. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
Sit on your mat with your legs outstretched and toes touching. Remove the flesh from underneath your sitting bones so that the pelvis tilts forward. Inhale, lift your hands above your head and lengthen through the spine. As you exhale, hinge forward from the hips and take hold of the soles of your feet, ankles or calves. If this is uncomfortable, use a strap around the feet. The lower belly should touch the thighs first, then the upper belly, then the ribs and the head last. To come out of the pose, inhale and lift the torso away from the thighs and pull the tailbone down and into the pelvis.
Photo Credits: Scott Ehler
Model: Ashleigh Woodlands
About the author
Caitlin Reid is a unique health professional with qualifications as an accredited nutritionist, accredited exercise physiologist and yoga teacher. Caitlin is passionate about all things health and wellness, and keeps up-to-date with the latest health research, which she uses when contributing expert advice to health, fitness, lifestyle and food companies. She is also the nutrition expert for the Women’s Fitness magazine, the dietitian for the South Sydney Rabbitohs and ambassador for Papaya Australia. Follow Caitlin on Instagram @caitlinareid or visit her website.