If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try these 5 restorative yoga poses to calm your mind, relax your body, and establish a bedtime routine.
Namast(ay) in bed. This is not a joke. Repeat: This is not a joke.
Have you ever had the kind of day that leaves you feeling a little extra tired and drained? Or the kind of morning where you wake up and your feet just aren’t ready to touch the ground? We’ve got the remedy—stay in bed and practice restorative yoga. You can practice from the comfort of your own fluffy sheets.
Lay Back & Breathe
Whether you’re crawling in bed after a long day or waiting to get out of bed for the day ahead, start by checking in. Place your hands wherever they feel called to travel on the body and feel the rise and fall of breath. Take about 10 rounds of breath. Explore the texture of the breath, the pace at which you are breathing, and the depths your breath is reaching in the body. Start to elongate the breath, creating a smooth and steady pattern of inhale to exhale.
Here is a short sequence of 5 restorative yoga poses, perfect to wind down or wind up the body.
Twist to Start
To practice Reclined Spinal Twist, Draw your right leg into your chest, hugging the thigh towards your torso, deepening the crease of your hip flexor. From here, take your right leg across the body to your left. Extending your right arm out any amount, let your gaze fall over your right shoulder. Breathe here. Expand as you inhale and let the body open to and sink into the twist on your exhale.
After at least five rounds of breath, untwist. Practice the same posture on your left side. Twists are amazing restorative yoga postures and are known for their detoxifying effects, increasing circulation as well as your spines range of motion.
Pro Tip: Placing a pillow under your right knee can create a restorative posture and add support to your twist.
Neutralize the Pelvis
To practice Constructive Rest or Active Rest, begin with your shoulders and the back of your head grounded, bend your knees and draw your heels towards your hips. Keeping your knees bent, take your feet wider than hip width distance apart. Let your knees drop into one another to touch, supporting each other. This position is known to relieve the back as well as the neck and help to release your psoas muscle.
The psoas muscle is located in the low lumbar region of the spine, connecting through the pelvis to your femur (or your thigh bone). We use this muscle when we walk, as it helps flex the hip, drawing your upper leg towards the body. The psoas is a major muscle in the body, as mentioned, key to both walking and standing.
Take about five to 10 breaths in this shape for a restorative yoga pose that will relax both mind and body.
To practice Reclined Bound Angle Pose, heel-toe your feet together until the soles of your feet touch and drop your knees out wide, in their respective directions. Adjust the distance between your pelvis and your heels to your comfort. Your hands and arms can move intuitively to a place where they can settle—possibly hands resting on the body to create a sense of grounding or arms extended out to your sides or overhead to create a heart or chest opener.
Pro Tip: Scrunch up your comforter underneath your thighs or your knees for support. This is beneficial if you feel tight or too open in this shape.
Rock Like a Baby
To practice Happy Baby Pose, let your hands travel to your shins, ankles, or the outer edges of your feet as you bring your knees to your armpits. Shine the soles of your flexed feet up towards your ceiling. Your legs should be at a 90 degree angle with your head, shoulders, and sacrum grounded and heavy on your bed.
Maybe you rock side to side or extend one leg followed by the other. Breath deeply during this opening and restorative yoga posture.
Final Moment of Rest
End your practice in savasana or corpse pose. Slowly extend your legs out long. The heels of the feet can rest wider than hips width distance apart and toes can hang heavy in the respective directions of the feet. Adjust so that your shoulders feel evenly grounded and your arms are extended, palms facing the ceiling.
Soften. Let the muscles of the face melt, unfurl the brow, unhinge the jaw. Let the eyes sink in their sockets. Let the belly fill and empty with each round of breath. Feel the contact of your body against your bed—head, hips, and heels heavy. Let yourself rest.
Warning: You may fall asleep here!
We hope these 5 restorative yoga poses have helped you relax and get ready for bed. For more about stress relieving yoga, check out this article!
Article by Sofia Frasca. Sofia is a certified yoga teacher, reiki practitioner, and Megaformer instructor. She calls the Tetons home along with her two dogs. If not at the thrift store or on the trails, she’s a total homebody.