Which yoga postures to sleep well?

Verified on 14/12/2022 by PasseportSanté

Yoga promotes physical, mental and emotional security: this is essential for getting to sleep. The practice of certain yoga postures, such as the posture of the candle or that of the cobra, makes it possible to release the tension. It is even possible to do yoga at night, in bed.

Nitra yoga, in particular, also called sleep yoga, is close to meditation: it is accomplished by being under a blanket, closing your eyes and concentrating, in particular, on your breathing. These various postures, practiced just before bedtime, will probably help you get back to good sleep!

Body practice like yoga: real benefits on sleep

The practice of a physical activity promotes slow waves and allows a deep dive into sleep. And among these activities that are particularly beneficial for sleeping: yoga. In fact, to have access to deep sleep, some people need to feel good, to be physically, mentally and emotionally secure at bedtime. However, yoga promotes such security.

Indeed, the benevolent link that we establish with corporeality is a factor of lasting balance: in Asia, this dimension has always been fundamental, and thousand-year-old techniques, of which yoga is an illustration, have made bodily benefits l one of the bases of existence. As Darcie Clark, a yoga teacher in Toronto, indicates for Reader’s Digest, “yoga puts you in particular in connection with your breathing”.

Today, yoga is also practiced in Western countries, and a yoga session before sleep can help you fall asleep. Indeed, when you slow down the pace and maintain a posture, it is possible to feel the parts of the body that are tense and resist the stress of the day: it then becomes possible to release the tension simply by breathing in the posture. Stretching, especially when practiced before going to bed, also has a calming power.

There are, in particular, at least three to four postures recommended for their benefits on sleep. It is indicated to practice a sequence of each posture, held for one to five minutes. Finally, three pieces of advice: don’t abuse your body and listen to it; stay in your comfort zone; do nothing that causes pain. It is also recommended to use a yoga teacher who will adapt the postures to your body by modifying them if necessary.

Online courses can make it possible to learn these different postures: OLY be, for example, is a company that wants to make the practice of yoga accessible to everyone, with the help of selected and certified teachers. Their idea? “Yoga is a force, an energy. It liberates, enlightens and makes you grow”. And so, on its website, OLY be presents four yoga postures that allow you to sleep well. It is even possible to practice yoga in the evening in bed!

The candle pose

Candlelight, also known as “Sarvangasana”, helps calm the mind when going to sleep. The literal translation would rather be “the whole body pose” rather than the overhead stand, it is also called the shoulder pose. It is relatively well known to the general public, because it is practiced in gymnastics classes in schools. As it is an exercise head down, it generates relaxation and well-being, because the current of emotions is then reversed. The candle is therefore ideal for circulating energies. It helps to transform negative waves into positive energy.

You must therefore lie down, keep your back and head glued to the ground, and lift both your legs and your hips. The arms and hands can be used to keep the balance, the goal being to achieve the most vertical position possible. At the same time, breathing plays a fundamental role: it will take long, deep inspirations, then exhale very slowly, first through the chest and then through the stomach.

If you ever have difficulty keeping your balance, you can also try the half-stand, by raising your legs and leaning against a wall. The back, the head and the shoulders are kept on the ground, the arms well relaxed all along the body. It is possible, to improve comfort, to place a blanket or a cushion under the coccyx. You should never turn your head during the posture of the candle.

Coming out of this posture is also important: you must first lower your legs slowly, your hands slide gently behind your back, your pelvis then gently rolls down towards the ground. The vertebrae should unfold one by one. The legs thus naturally find the ground, and one can remain a few minutes in this position of relaxation.

Ultimately, the action of the Sarvangasana has many benefits, in particular because it is an inverted posture: it would act mainly on the thyroid system, and therefore on the whole body. The heart is at rest, being less called upon to feed the brain, and can bring blood from the legs to the lungs; this relieves the cardiovascular system.

At the body level, the posture of the candle is thus excellent for blood circulation or that of the lymph, it improves the oxygenation of the body and the blood, it promotes intestinal transit, it stimulates the thyroid, works the abdominals and deep muscles back. This posture also brings benefits to the mind, strengthening self-confidence and letting go, thus, it reduces stress, and promotes creativity and sensitivity.

The cobra posture

The cobra posture is also called “Bhujangâsana”. This is, for the record, the seventh posture of the sun salutation. It helps to let go and thus find a certain balance at the emotional level. This position of the body perfectly represents the posture of the cobra: one of the rare snakes to stand up in the face of danger.

First of all, you have to lie flat on your stomach on your yoga mat, with your forehead on the ground. Then you will need to spread your legs slightly before placing your hands under the shoulders. The feet remain stretched and aligned with the rest of the body.

It is then possible to raise the bust: you must push your pelvis against the ground, and help you with your arms in order to open the chest. Once in this position, you can breathe several times, remaining as still as possible. It is indeed necessary to concentrate on the inspirations as well as the expirations, and to make them deeper. Although simple in appearance, the cobra posture requires great concentration, as well as the ability to feel your body with precision.

The benefits of the cobra posture are numerous, among which we find, in addition to the benefits on sleep:

  • strengthening the abdominal muscles;
  • a positive effect on the functioning of the kidneys, intestines and lungs;
  • spinal alignment;
  • strengthening the joints from the hands to the shoulders;
  • strengthening the lungs by facilitating deeper breathing;
  • the fluidification of the circulation of blood as well as that of energy;
  • strengthening the mind and self-confidence.

child’s posture

Child’s pose is also known as “Balâsana”. It is perfect both for evacuating tensions and for refocusing on oneself. It is also very beneficial for the back. By relaxing all of your muscles, child’s pose will clear your mind at the same time. Indeed, it allows you to let go, to find yourself, and to forget the world around you in order to disconnect from the outside, while reconnecting to yourself. This posture is also called swan pose. It is in fact one of the most effective yoga postures for relaxing, not outwards, but inwards.

You must first position yourself on your knees on your yoga mat, before tilting your bust forward while exhaling. The head remains on the ground and the arms and hands are stretched along the body or in front of you. Again, all attention must be focused on breathing, especially by closing your eyes: you can feel your lungs and your stomach, they fill and then empty of air with each inspiration and expiration. It is possible to stay in this stature for a long time, as long as the need arises!

You should know that the symbolism of the child is very important in Hinduism: the wise behave like children. “The innocent, curious child, freed from myths and dogmas in search of the truth and the reality of which he never prejudges”, is it written on the website of Chin Mudra, which was at the beginning an association which gave yoga classes in Paris, which has now become a company specializing in yoga. And Chin Mudra to quote Nietzsche, who makes childhood the supreme stage of wisdom: “Childhood is innocence and oblivion, a new beginning and a game, a wheel that rolls on itself, a first movement, a “yes” holy.”

Thus, Balsana is the return to the original child, the one that philosophers and religious talk about, not the child king, capricious and egocentric that we can meet in the West. So it’s really comfort, self-surrender. Finally, this posture is reminiscent of the fetal position, which evokes absolute security. “It is a reconnection to oneself that should not be confused with withdrawal into oneself”, according to the Chin Mudra website.

Its benefits, besides obviously the benefits are sleep, are also numerous:

  • the child’s pose stretches the back, shoulders, neck and ankles;
  • it releases back and abdominal tension;
  • it has a beneficial role for digestion;
  • it helped fight both stress and fatigue;
  • finally, it calms brain activity.

Yoga nidra promotes deep sleep

Yoga nidra is also called sleep yoga, it is close to meditation, and releases muscular and emotional tensions. It consists of lying down comfortably under a blanket, closing your eyes and concentrating on your breathing. Then, attention is brought back to the environment around you: each sound is then listened to, from the closest to the most distant. You must then, after a few minutes, refocus on your bodily sensations.

It is after this that each part of the body is reviewed: heads, shoulders, hands, spine, knees and legs, down to the toes! All the muscles gradually relax. Then comes the time to focus on your body as a whole, first feeling its heaviness, then its lightness. The state of relaxation is deep, between waking and sleeping. Yoga nidra is more than a state of physical relaxation: it appeals to the subconscious. Because during this practice, it will be necessary to visualize positive mental images and to repeat personal resolutions.

Yoga nidra is in fact particularly recommended for those who have difficulty falling asleep at night, but is also very effective when a person is faced with a stressful situation. Now, all you have to do now is test these postures, and see if your sleep is improved! Finally, be aware that the list of these postures is not exhaustive here and that there are still others: all will facilitate your dive into the arms of Morpheus…

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Which yoga postures to sleep well?

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