Yoga Poses for Relaxation and Better Sleep


re·lax – rəˈlaks/ – verb – make or become less tense or anxious


The word relax sometimes feels loaded because it conjures up reasons you need to relax. These are usually hectic, uncontrolled, anxiety-driven states of being. Yet, just thinking of the word relax, can make you more relaxed and sometimes more unrelaxed!


How many of you find yourself up late at night not able to sleep, still in front of the TV? Or tossing and turning in bed because either your mind is still racing and needs a bed-time story, or your body is achy from your day? If you can you place yourself mentally in a relaxing environment where everything is calm and you can hear yourself breathe, these Yoga poses will help you get comfy and cozy in bed and drift off to happy dream land, really quickly.


Create Your Own Bubble of Calm


Taking time to try and create a calm environment while doing these poses will help tremendously. If you are in a place where you have no control of your environment, you must learn to focus on quieting your mind and letting go of all the matters of life giving you stress. Create your own calm bubble in a room of static. I would also like you to visit and read the different types of Yoga that exist. Just as we all have different personalities, each style of yoga has a different energy and flow. Try experimenting with styles that call to you and challenge you. Don’t go for the ones that you will dread doing, it defeats the whole purpose—relax.


Yoga poses are here to help you find your bubble of calm by:

  • Desensitizing the nervous system to getting your lymphatic system flowing,
  • Giving your heart some much needed stress release, to
  • Relieving muscle tension, and
  • Clearing the mind and finding a center with your breath.

So remember to move with care and intent. Take a shower, do these poses and you will have a great night’s sleep.



Try to hold each pose for at least 5 to 8 long breaths (equal inhales to exhales)

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

  • Stand at the front of your matt, legs parallel hip width distance.
  • Inhale, exhale as you draw your lower abs in and start rolling down (head, chest, ribs, hips).
  • Place your hands on the floor and breath, if needed bend knees.

Down Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

  • Place your hands on the floor with a full flat palm.
  • Walk your legs back until you resemble an upside down V.
  • Arms shoulder width apart and shoulder blades down your back.
  • Neck is long and ribs are softly knitted, reach the back of your legs to the wall behind you and your heels to the floor.
  • Be careful not to hyper extend in the shoulders, grow through your arms.
  • Keep your lower abdominals in.

Up Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

  • Start rolling through your spine from your tailbone, bellybutton, ribcage, chest and head until you look like the letter J lying on its back.
  • Crown of head reaching for the ceiling and hips to the floor.
  • Legs either up off the floor as you press the tops of your feet into the floor, or legs on floor, or bend your elbows in cobra pose (these are all a modification).
  • Press the floor away from you with strong arms, shoulders down and neck long.

Childs Pose (Balasana)

  • Roll through your spine, sit back.
  • Knees are wide and feet together as you bend forward (allow your belly to hang and relax between your legs).
  • Arms are long on the floor in front of you, if this is too much on your shoulders then simply wrap your arms around the side of your body and relax your shoulders.
  • Rest the middle of your forehead on the matt.

Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

  • Place yourself on all fours.
  • Slide your left leg forward bending at the knee and placing it slightly outside your body (try to line up with the edge of the matt) the heel of your foot should be up away from your pelvis.
  • Slide your opposite leg out behind you.
  • Square your hips and forward bend as far as you can. Place a pillow under you if needed. Be careful with your knees. If it hurts omit the pose.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)

  • Lie supine and pull both knees into your belly.
  • Inhale, exhale. Bend knees to where the souls of your feet are facing the ceiling.
  • As you grab either the sides of your feet or place the first two fingers between the big toes, inhale and on your exhale, pull your legs apart.
  • Knees to armpits, legs 90 degree, feet over knees, long neck.
  • Gently rock side to side.

Belly Twist (Jathara Parivritti)

  • Lie supine bending both knees into your chest
  • Extend your right leg down and long onto the floor and hold onto you left leg.
  • Place your right hand on your left knee and your left arm out to the side.
  • Gently pull your left leg across your body until you have twisted enough so that your left shoulder is still on the ground.
  • Bring both knees back in and repeat on the other side.

Banana Pose (Supine Side Bend)

  • Lie supine with legs and arms reaching away from each other.
  • Cross your left ankle over your right ankle hooking your foot.
  • Grab your left wrist with your right hand.
  • Inhale, exhale and gently go into a side bend pulling your arm and leg until you look like a banana.
  • Repeat other side.

Legs up the wall lying down

  • Lie down with your up against the wall, feet reaching to the ceiling.
  • Finger tips touching the wall so that your legs can slightly recline away from you.
  • Modify by softly bending your knees, or bending your legs all the way and bringing the souls of

the feet together.

Corpse Pose (Savasasana)

  • Lie down on your mat (supine)
  • Palms facing up, shoulders down, long neck, legs hip width apart, feet relaxed.
  • Tail bone slightly tucked under.
  • Relax your entire body.
  • If your lower back is tense place a pillow, blanket or exercise ball under your legs

Sweet Dreams…

Melissa Muñiz

Melissa L. Muniz is a certified Pilates Instructor, Dance teacher, Choreographer, Actor, Model and full time Mom! She has spent over a decade traveling the world studying traditional dance such as Flamenco in Spain and cultural dance in Indonesia to name but a few. She has toured with Nickelodeon as a dance performer and actor and starred in several music videos and movies. Melissa had the opportunity to train teachers for the opening of the first Pilates Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and has been working with Total Gym as a Gravity Master Trainer since 2002. She has loved the inspiration and support that Total Gym gives and lives by. Melissa now resides with her family in Atlanta GA, teaching at a Wellness Center where she infuses life, happiness and understanding of the body, to those with an open heart and mind.

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