How often do you find yourself laying in bed, well past your bedtime, with a brain that’s decided it’s time to party? I don’t know about you but my brain doesn’t like to power down at night, which can be frustrating AF. But I found that these yoga poses are perfect for helping me relax before bed.
I wouldn’t exactly call myself an insomniac, but something really annoying happens in my head most nights. Exhausted from a busy day, I crawl under the covers, snuggle my head into the pillow, and slowly drift into slee-
My brain has decided it’s now the perfect time to imagine every possible outcome of that conversation I have planned with a friend tomorrow. Or it starts noticing how bland my wall is and comes up with ideas on how to redecorate. Or an Eminem song is suddenly stuck on repeat in my head.
Yep. I’ve tried writing it all down. That helps.
There are a bunch of different practicing, like reading until my eyes close, that seems to do the trick, but none are as helpful as a quick evening yoga practice.
To be honest, I don’t even do this as often as I’d like, but when I give myself just 10-15 minutes to wind down with gentle yoga before sleeping, it makes a world of difference.
Yoga to Relax Before Bed
These nine poses are some of my favorites for getting sleepy and relaxed. I really enjoy doing them in bed, but you can absolutely do these on your yoga mat.
I would suggest keeping some pillows handy in case you want extra support in any of the poses.
This isn’t a set sequence. Maybe pick and choose a few each day and see which ones help you feel the most relaxed. It’s up to you on how long you hold each pose, but I like to give myself a minimum of 1-2 minutes to help slow things down.
Slow Down in Easy Pose
I like to help “transition my mind” into relaxation while enjoy easy pose. Super simple; just sit comfortably and focus attention on slowing down the breath.
This is a basic seated pose with crossed legs. Sit comfortably with the spine long, pressing the tailbone into the floor and lifting the top of your head towards the ceiling. Hands can rest palms down or palms up on the knees.
For extra support, add some pillows under your seat.
Ahhh… One of my favorite stretches to do in bed, in the mornings too! This is such a nice release on the spine, especially after sitting at a computer all day.
From table top (hands and knees), walk the hands towards the front of the mat while keeping your tailbone lifted towards the ceiling. Lower your chest and forehead to the floor, continuing to arch your tailbone towards the sky.
Sometimes, when a bed is really squishy, it’s uncomfortable to keep the forehead straight down. In this case, just look to one side for half the time and then switch.
Thread the Needle
Super similar to Puppy pose, but we add a delicious twist to stretch out the spine even more. So yummy!
From a table top position (or hands and knees), bring your right hand onto the mat/bed in the center of the shoulders. Reach your left arm through the gap created between your right arm and thighs. Reach as far as you can as the left shoulder and your head relax onto the bed/mat. Stay here for as long as you’d like and switch sides.
You can also gently move into this twist from your puppy pose position.
Extended Child’s Pose
This is one of the ultimate resting poses in yoga and it acts as a nice surrender to the end of the day.
From hands and knees, bring the big toes together and take the knees out as wide as the mat (or picture a yoga mat width on your bed). Sit back onto the heels and walk the hands forward, bringing the forehead down onto the mat. Allow the belly to drop between the thighs and sink into the hips. Reach through the fingertips, but allow the shoulder blades to stay in place.
Just like puppy pose, it may be hard to breathe with your forehead/nose pressed into a squishy bed. If this is the case, simply look one way, then the other. You can also place a pillow under your chest and belly if you’re unable to connect your body with the bed.
Gentle Seated Forward Fold
Unlike traditional forward fold, we keep this one super gentle with a heavy bend in the knees and an added focus on dropping the head between the knees. So nice!
Start seated with both legs out in front of you, making sure to be seated up on the tailbone. Bend into the knees and walk your feet a bit closer to your hips. On an inhale, reach both hands overhead and fold forward on the exhale. As you fall forward, release the hands, shoulders, and head, allowing yourself to simply hinge forward and hang there.
The point isn’t to get a stretch, it’s to surrender to rest. I do this by bending my knees deep enough that I can relax my belly onto my thighs.
Reclined Cobbler Pose
This can also be called Reclined Bound Angle Pose or Butterfly Pose, depending on the style of yoga you’re practicing.
Start lying on your back. Bend into the knees and bring the souls of the feet together, allowing the knees to fall out to each side. Pull the heels as close to the pelvis as feels comfortable. Allow the arms to rest out to the side or onto the belly.
For added support, try placing pillows underneath your knees or thighs. This is one of my favorite poses to hold for up to ten minutes as I do an evening meditation.
Supine Pigeon Pose
This is also called Dead Pigeon pose and is a gentler version of this deep hip-opener.
Lying on your back, bend the knees and place the feet on the floor, close to the tailbone and about hip distance apart. Lift your right foot off the ground and place the outside of the ankle on top of the left thigh, opening the right knee out and away from the chest. For a gentle version, stay here and press your right hand into the right knee to increase the stretch.
For a deeper stretch, reach the right hand between the inside of the legs and the left hand around the outside of the left leg. Bring the hands together behind the left thigh or on top of the left shin and pull both knees towards the chest, continuing to press the right knee away from the body.
Ahhh… I do this pose or a similar twist every single night before I go to bed. I like to imagine squeezing out anything from my day so I can relax my mind for sleeping.
Start laying on your back and gently draw both knees into your chest. Gently drop both knees over to right side. You can choose to reach out your arms like a big T or gently drop your hands onto your belly. Your gaze can be to the right or, for a deeper twist, glance back to the left. Hold for as long as you’d like and then switch sides.
This is another pose where you can use pillows for a little extra support. Maybe placing a pillow under the knees if they’re not connecting with the mat/bed.
Legs Up the Wall
Start laying on your back, bring your legs up onto the wall and scoot your tailbone as close to the wall as is comfortable. Allow the arms to rest out to the side, palms up. This allows the shoulders to rest back.
Relax into this posture. Allow the weight of the body to be fully supported by the ground and wall. Release control of the mind, the breath, and the body. Enjoy this pose for as long as feels good (suggest more than 10 minutes).
I’ll often read in this position until my eyes or legs become tired. Then, I’m ready for a solid night’s sleep.
I’m curious, what’s your favorite yoga pose before bed?
Rest easy, my friend.