I find it hard to function without a good night’s sleep. But sleep can evade me sometimes, whether it’s due to a full moon or hot flashes or a snoring husband.
But, there’s a way to help ensure that I fall asleep deeply and and stay asleep: yoga!
Here are five of my favorite poses to do for a deep sleep:
1. Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
This pose, like so many yoga poses, looks too simple to be effective but it really is incredibly relaxing. Lie on your back with your butt as close to the wall as possible. Ideally you want your rear-end touching the wall so your legs go straight up and rest against the wall. Let your arms hang out at your sides. Breathe. Stay in this pose for at least a couple of minutes.
Variation: keep your legs against the wall but criss-cross them, like your sitting cross-legged but on the wall instead of on the floor or your yoga mat. Bonus, this pose is credited with helping to lower blood pressure because your legs are above your head, which gives your heart muscle a bit of a break.
Here’s my attempt at a rough sketch of Legs Up the Wall
“2. Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)
I really love this pose, especially when I’m using a bunch of props because then it is totally effortless and I can really relax. Lie on your back and bend your legs so that the bottoms of your feet touch. Put a block or a pillow under each knee to support them. Let your arms rest at a 45 degree angle.
` 3. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Kneel about mid-way on your yoga mat or bed and lay down with your chest and head resting on the mat and your arms outstretched. Your knees can be together or spread wide, which is my favorite. Rest for a minute or two while you’re breathing deeply.
4. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
This one is trickier than it looks so read the Yoga Journal’s description of how to get into the pose. You’re basically seated on your mat with legs straight in front of you. Bend at the waist and reach forward with your arms and head. Your goal, according to my youtube yoga teacher Candace, is to rest your belly on your legs so you’re not stretching your back but rather your hamstrings.
5. Corpse pose (Savasana)
Lay on your back on your mat with your legs spread wide and your arms outstretched. Close your eyes and breathe, allowing thoughts to drift in and out of your mind for at least five minutes, preferably longer.
All five of these poses help me fall into a deep sleep because they help my brain and body slow down.
Your turn: what helps you sleep? What’s your favorite yoga pose to help you sleep?