We probably all know the feeling of not being able to fall asleep after a long day. Taking time to unwind and disconnect before turning in is important, and it can help you relax both physically and mentally. Creating a calming evening routine can help you with this.
A calming evening routine can include a number of rituals, but doing a few grounding yoga poses before bedtime is a wonderful way of uwinding. Combine the yoga poses with a candle and some relaxing music, and you will be well on your way to dreamland.
We suggest you hold each pose for a couple of minutes while taking deep, long, nourishing breaths to help calm and balance your nervous system. Remember to always listen to your body: come out of a pose if you feel any pain, modify if needed, and respect your body’s signals.
4 grounding yoga poses for winding down
Wide Legged Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Start on your hands and knees. Allow your big toes to touch and separate your knees. Your knees should be about mat-width apart (try finding your sweet spot). Exhale and fold forward so your torso is between your thighs. Allow your arms to reach forward and rest your forehead (or chin if your flexibility and neck allow it) on the mat.
You can modify Balasana by placing a bolster under your belly, by placing a blanket under knees or between your knees and calf muscles, or by placing a blanket under your ankles.
Dragonfly or Straddle Pose (Upavistha Konasana)
Dragonfly is a wonderful pose for stretching your hamstrings and opening your hips. From a seated position spread your legs apart. You should feel a stretch but it should not be too intense. If it’s too intense, allow your legs to come a little closer together. Fold forward from the hips and let the neck rest. Let your hands rest in front of you, palms can either face up or down.
If your lower back prevents you from folding forward you may wish to sit on a folded blanket or a cushion to elevate your hips a little.
Reclined Butterfly on a bolster (Reclined Baddha Konasana)
Start in a seated position. Place the bolster behind you as close to your lower back as possible. Now place the soles of your feet together in Butterfly pose. Allow your feet to open up like a book. You may wish to place your feet closer to or further away from your groin. Do what feels the best. Slowly lean back so your back is supported by the bolster. Allow your arms to open up to the sides so you feel a lovely opening of the heart center.
If you don’t have a bolster you can either use a pillow or a folded blanket. It is also possible to do the pose without a bolster, blanket or pillow.
Legs up the wall (Viparita Karani)
Legs up the wall is said to help improve sleep. Sit with your side against the wall with bent knees. Now crawl your legs up against the wall as you turn to lie flat on your back. You can either place your hips slightly away from the wall or against the wall, depending on what feels good to you. Place your arms in any comfortable position.
If it creates more comfort for you, feel free to bend your knees. You may also wish to place a blanket, bolster, or a cushion under your hips. Using a folded blanket or a cushion under your head and neck can also be nice.
If this post has inspired you to take a deeper dive into the world of yoga, we suggest you check out our blog post about living the yogi life.
Let us know in the comments which yoga pose is your favorite for winding down at night.