8 Yoga Poses You Should Be Doing Before Bed

Yoga can be an awesome form of exercise or even just a way to unwind and de-stress after a long day. While yoga definitely does the mind and body good, it also can do a lot more than just tone your body or quell your inner thoughts. Doing certain yoga poses is a great way to help you unwind before going to sleep at night.

After sitting at a desk all day or going through the hustle and bustle of daily life, a relaxing sequence might be just what you need before hitting the sack. With the help of Los Angeles-based yoga teacher Sarah Ezrin, we’ve come up with eight yoga poses to do before bed. 

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Supported Child's Pose

“After a long day, we are often are operating from the Sympathetic Nervous System, which is responsible for the body’s stress response,” says Ezrin. “This pose helps us stop running and grounds us as we come onto the floor.”

Photo: Sarah Ezrin

Supported Child's Pose

Holding supported child’s pose with your head rested on a yoga block or even some pillows will help your brain and body to rest after a long day. Repeat as many times as necessary, as child’s pose is always an option for rest and relaxation. 

Supported Downward-Facing Dog

Downward facing dog is an especially great pose for people who have been sitting at a desk all day. “This pose stretches out the back body, particularly the hamstring group, [which are] the muscles at the backs of the thighs,” says Ezrin.

Image: Sarah Ezrin

Supported Downward-Facing Dog

The option to place a block or pillows beneath the head makes this pose even more restorative. As one of yoga’s most well-known poses, downward facing dog is a great stretch for yogis of all levels.

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Triangle Pose (with wall support)

At the end of the day, the discs between the vertebrae literally deflate,” says Ezrin. “This posture creates blood flow and space in the spine.” This gentle twist is easy enough on the body that you won’t be working too hard before attempting to sleep.

Image: Sarah Ezrin

Triangle Pose (with wall support)

“This standing pose releases the hamstrings, while also allowing for extension in the spine,” says Ezrin. Using a wall will help you hold the pose for a longer period of time, maximizing your stretch. 


Wide-legged Forward Fold

Forward bends are a great way to calm the body and the nervous system after a long day. Doing a wide-legged forward fold will help open and stretch the back body. 

Image: Sarah Estrin

Wide-legged Forward Fold

Placing the head on a block helps to rest the brain and can relieve tension headaches. “This posture is also great for backaches,” adds Ezrin.

Low-Lunge

“Once you have released the back body, balance out and open the front body with a low lunge,” suggests Ezrin. “This pose stretches out the hip flexor group, which tend to get tight from long periods of sitting.”

Image: Sarah Ezrin

Low-Lunge

To help open the upper back and improve your breath flow, work on extending the spine within the pose. This pose can typically be done with your arms up, but reaching your arms to the floor will help ground your energy before bed.

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Supine Bound Angle Pose

Supine Bound Angle Pose helps open the upper back, chest, and shoulders through a mild backbend. Lying on a pillow or bolster will help with increasing openness.

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Supine Bound Angle Pose

The restorative version of this hip opener requires a yoga belt wrapped around the back of the pelvis, thread through the inner legs and then strung around the feet. Lying on the ground in this pose will help prepare you for sleep to come.

Image: Sarah Ezrin

Legs Up the Wall

“Legend has it that hospitals in India have people do this pose when they are having a panic attack,” says Ezrin. “It tones and settles the nervous system, while reducing gravitational pressure on the heart and the legs.

Image: Sarah Ezrin

Legs Up the Wall

Use a bolster or pillows under the lumbar curve to release the low back, and try to let all your thoughts go during this relaxing and restorative pose.

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Savasana

To wrap up your yoga practice and take that next step towards bed, finish your sequence with a traditional savasana. “Students often mistake savasana for naptime, but it actually exists in the plane between wakefulness and sleep,” says Ezrin.

Image: Sarah Ezrin

Savasana

“A great meditative technique is to move your attention throughout the body systematically and relax each section,” says Ezrin. This is known as a body scan, and it can help with relaxing the mind and body before falling asleep.

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