Next to exercise, sleep is one of the best things you can do to improve your health. Having trouble sleeping? Try these restoring poses to calm and prepare your body for some of the best rest you’ve had in a while.
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
- Take a deep breath in, then exhale as you bend forward from the hips.
- Reach for your knees, shins, toes or floor.
- Aim to press your chest against your thighs.
- Shake your head “yes” and “no” to relax the muscles in your head and neck.
- Hold the pose for 10 deep breaths.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend your arms along the floor, palms flat.
- Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor. Exhale as you lift your hips toward the ceiling.
- Draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone, holding your buttocks off the floor. Do not squeeze your glutes or flex your buttocks.
- Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body. Clasp your hands and extend your arms along the floor beneath your pelvis. Straighten your arms as much as possible, pressing your forearms into the mat. Reach your knuckles toward your heels.
- Keep your thighs and feet parallel — do not roll to the outer edges of your feet or let your knees drop together. Press your weight evenly across all four corners of both feet. Lengthen your tailbone toward the backs of your knees.
- Hold for up to one minute. To release, unclasp your hands and place them palms-down alongside your body. Exhale as you slowly roll your spine along the floor, vertebrae by vertebrae. Allow your knees to drop together.
(WARNING: Do not perform bridge pose if you have a neck or shoulder injury.)
- Kneel on your hands and knees, looking straight ahead.
- Place your knees hip width apart with your hands below your shoulders. Keep the elbows slightly bent.
- Inhale while arching your back up like a cat. Your head should be facing down, chin to chest.
- Exhale while sloping your back in reverse. Your head should look upwards. Turn the head from left to right looking over the shoulders, getting a deep stretch in the neck.
- Kneel on your hands and knees with your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips. Your hands should be spread wide apart. Your feet should be flat and hip width apart.
- Inhale as you lift your body up, keeping your shoulders back and pushing backwards into your hips. Push your buttocks upwards. Keep your heels down as much as possible. Keep your knees bent as needed, ultimately straightening the legs and bringing the chest to the thighs. Lift one foot then another back and forward (peddling to get the effect of the feet being flat, which is the goal). You are forming a V with your body.
- Exhale relaxing slowly lowering the body, relaxing the arms and legs.
Legs Up the Wall
- Perform this pose near a wall. Lie on your back.
- Raise the legs up and lie the back of your legs flat against the wall. Position your buttocks as close to the wall as possible.
- Lay the arms along the sides of the body.
- Relax and breathe deeply for 5-20 minutes.
- Lay down on your mat. Allow your legs to relax wide and your arms to fall to the sides and away from your body.
- Scan your body mentally. Relax and release all tension from the body. Breathe easily, inhaling and exhaling slowly.
- Lay in corpse pose for as long as you desire.