Yoga is a many-splendored thing. Along with increasing flexibility and improving your posture, it turns out that certain yoga poses can actually help you sleep more soundly at night. In addition to relaxing both your mind and body before bed, research shows that yoga is a healthy—and foolproof—way to beat insomnia.
Since Brooklinen is all about ensuring the best sleep possible, we’ve rounded up a few relaxing stretches to help take you from Zen to REM, real quick. Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or a beginner, read ahead for six soothing stretches that’ll have you catching ZZZ’s in no time.
Marjaryasana and Bitilasana
Also known as - The Cat & Cow pose. There’s nothing like a well-stretched back to help you unwind before you fall asleep. For the cat pose, start on your hands and knees. Hands in line with your shoulders and knees in line with your hips. Tilt the crown of your head and tailbone towards the ground, while arching your spine into a C-curve.
Pull shoulder blades apart and exhale. Inhale into the cow pose by bringing the crown of your head and tailbone up toward the ceiling, hollowing out the lower part of your back. Alternate slowly between these two poses for 15 breaths, inhaling and exhaling with the rhythm of each stretch to loosen up your spine and prepare your body for bedtime.
Also known as - Child's Pose pose. Considered the ultimate resting pose by most yogis, the child’s pose can help calm your brain and relieve tension in the body. Start on your hands and knees and let your big toes touch and knees fall wide apart. Fold your torso over your legs with your arms extended on your sides. Rest your forehead on the ground and take 10-15 deep, long breaths. Gently move your forehead from left to right to ease brow point tension as you stretch, and get ready for a blissful night of sleep.
Also known as - The Reclined Spinal Twist pose. Looking for an easy way to stretch out your frustrations of the day? The reclined spinal twist has you covered. Simply lie on your back and bring your right knee into your chest. Extend your left leg along the floor and move your right arm out along the floor at shoulder-height with your palm facing down. While placing your left hand on the outside of your right knee, exhale and drop your right knee over the left side of your body. Keep your eyes locked upwards towards the ceiling and hold for 20 breaths. Repeat on the other side as needed.
Also known as - Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bed. Great for relieving lower back tension and opening your hips, the wide-angle seated forward bend is a foolproof way to unwind before bed. Start by sitting upright on the floor with your legs extended in a V-shape in front of you.
Also known as - Legs Up The Wall Pose. Few things guarantee a quality night of sleep like the stress-combating legs up the wall pose. Lie down on your back and scoot your glutes as close to the wall as possible. While extending your legs up against the wall (and perpendicular to the floor), extend your arms to shoulder-level (palms up). Flex your feet while taking deep breaths for thirty seconds and you’ll sleep like a baby all night long.
Also known as - Left Nostril Breathing. You can always count on a calming breathing exercise to help you drift off into slumber. Either sit up crossed-legged or lie down on your right side. Cover your right nostril with your thumb and extend your fingers out. Take five to ten deep breaths out of your left nostril and voila: you’ll be on your way to dreamland in no time.
Not only is yoga great for strengthening your muscles and releasing stress, it’s also a healthy way to prepare your mind and body for a restful night of sleep. Next time you find yourself tossing and turning in bed, try a few of these relaxing poses to help you fall asleep instead.