How exactly does sleep influence our health? In a nutshell, enough quality sleep helps our brain work properly, keeps us alert, heals and repairs our blood vessels and heart, rejuvenates the whole body. How we feel during the day depends on how well we sleep during the night, and sleeping disorders can put you at risk for some serious health problems. There are some simple tricks that can help improve your sleep, such as practicing yoga for health and wellness, paying attention to what you drink and eat throughout the day, or certain foods that can help you sleep better.

Doing yoga every day is one of the best ways to combat sleep disorders. In this article, we share six restorative yoga poses that you should try to get better sleep at night.

 

1. Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Twist Pose)

 

yoga-good-sleep

 

Jathara Parivartanasana, aka belly twist or abdominal twist pose, stretches the back muscles, realigns and lengthens the spine, and hydrates the spinal disks.

Steps:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended.
  2. Draw your knees up into your chest one at a time and wrap your arms around your legs, hugging them. Rock side to side to massage the back.
  3. Continue holding onto your right knee with both hands and extend your left leg all the way out onto the bed.
  4. With your left hand on the right knee, draw the right knee across the left side of the body towards the bed. Keep both shoulders down and extend the left arm straight away from the body.
  5. Hold for a few breaths or until the back releases, (or relax and enjoy for a few minutes). Inhale, bring both knees and head back to center, and repeat on the other side.

This asana may seem difficult at first, but in reality it’s pretty simple.

Watch this video to master Jathara Parivartanasana:

 

2.  Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

 

standing-forward-bend

Courtesy of YogaDestiny.com

Ut means intense, tan means stretch, and asana, as you know, means pose. Uttanasana is called standing forward bend. In addition to helping you sleep better, standing forward bend improves digestion, soothes the nerves, and calms the mind.

Steps:

  1. Begin in tadasana (mountain pose). Stand with your feet about six inches apart.
  2. Fold the torso to the ground.
  3. Draw your belly slightly in and focus on lengthening your front torso.
  4. To help tone your thighs, press your heels into the floor, lift your sit bones toward the sky, and turn the tops of your thighs slightly inward. Let your head hang loose, releasing all tension in your back and shoulder blades.
  5. Try lengthening the front torso a little bit more on each inhale. On each exhale, release fully into the bend. Stay in this posture for 30 seconds to 1 minute. To come out of Uttanasana, bring your hands back to your hips and rotate the hip joints until you stand strong and tall. Do not simply roll your spine up.

Watch this video to master Uttanasana:

 

3. Savasana (Corpse Pose)

 

yoga-good-sleep

Courtesy of Yoga.com

Savasana is the most restorative of all yoga poses. This pose brings in a deep state of rest and helps relieve stress and anxiety. It’s also the perfect pose to end a yoga session.

Steps:

  1. Lie flat on the back. Keep the hands a little away from the thighs, palms facing up.
  2. Close the eyes. Keep the heels together and the toes apart.
  3. Now take a couple of deep breaths. Later, the breathing should be fine and normal with no jerky movements to disturb the spine or the body.
  4. Keep the lower jaw loose. Relax completely and breathe slowly.
  5. If the mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to the breath.
  6. Stay in this pose for 15-20 minutes.

Watch this video to master Savasana:

 

4. Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall-Pose)

 

yoga-good-sleep

Courtesy of BeYogy.com

Viparita means inverted and karani means doing. In addition to helping you sleep better, this asana is good for the immune system and is known to reduce anxiety and stress.

Steps:

  1. Lie flat on the back. Keep the hands a little away from the thighs, palms facing up.
  2. Close the eyes. Keep the heels together and the toes apart.
  3. Now take a couple of deep breaths. Later, the breathing should be fine and normal with no jerky movements to disturb the spine or the body.
  4. Keep the lower jaw loose. Relax completely and breathe slowly.
  5. If the mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to the breath.
  6. Stay in this pose for 15-20 minutes.

Watch this video to master Viparita Karani:

 

5. Salabhasana (Locust Pose)

 

locust-pose-yoga

Courtesy of LoveMyYoga.com

Salabha means locust. The pose resembles that of a locust resting on the ground, hence the name.

Steps:

  1. Lie full length on the floor on the stomach, face downwards. Stretch the arms back.
  2. Exhale, lift the head, chest and legs off the floor simultaneously as high as you can. The hands should not be placed on the floor, nor should the ribs. Only the abdominal portion of the body rests on the floor and bears the weight of the body.
  3. Contract the buttocks and stretch the thigh muscles. Keep both legs fully extended and straight, touching at the thighs, knees and ankles.
  4. Stay in the position for as long as you can. This completes one round. Complete 3-5 rounds.

Watch this video to master the Locust Pose:

 

6. Balasana (Child’s Pose)

 

balasana-yoga

Photo by Anne Wu

Balasana is incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating. It’s one of the easiest yoga asanas, which offers myriad benefits to the practitioner.

Steps:

  1. Sit on the floor on a yoga mat.
  2. Begin the session in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose), keep your spine erect and gently close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths.
  3. Now slowly bend your body forwards toward your thighs and let your forehead touch the ground.
  4. Place your arms adjacent to your feet with palms facing upwards. Relax completely. Make sure you’re comfortable in this pose before moving ahead.
  5. Now take long, deep breaths. Inhale deeply and exhale completely. If it helps, when you’re inhaling, count to 4, and count to 6 when you’re exhaling.
  6. Continue to practice for 5, 10, or 15 minutes as per your convenience.

Watch this video to master Balasana:

 

If you have trouble falling asleep, these six restorative yoga poses are perfect to help you get into a relaxed, meditative state of mind.

 


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