Forward Bend Yoga Poses

15 Poses to Help You Sleep Better

Ease into a restful night with this practice to try at home.

Ease into a restful night with a quiet yoga practice focused on deep breathing to calm your mind and release physical tension. This combination of breath and movement activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps counteract stress. Many of the restorative versions of the poses shown here use a prop underneath your forehead to encourage relaxation around the eyes and additional soothing of your nervous system.

Props
Bolster, block, blanket

Practice Tips
Breathe with long, full, deep inhalations and exhalations

Warm-up
Begin in Balasana (Child’s Pose) for 1 minute (10–15 breaths)

If you have 10 minutes try this practice.

Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard Pose)

1 minute
[10–15 breaths]
each side

From Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), bring your left foot forward between your hands and lower your right knee to the floor. Walk your left foot to the outer edge of your mat and place your elbows on a block or the floor. Repeat practice on the second side.

Salabhasana (Locust Pose)

1 minute
[10–15 breaths]

Inhale to Plank Pose and lower to your belly. Clasp your hands behind your back. Exhale and root the tops of your feet into the floor. Inhale as you lift your chest and arms. Gaze forward. To come out of the pose, release your hands and exhale, pushing back to Downward-Facing Dog.

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

1 minute
[10–15 breaths]

Walk your feet to your hands. With feet hip-width apart and a slight bend in the knees, hold your elbows. Exhale and lengthen down through the crown of your head. To come up, release your arms, root through your feet, and slowly rise.

wide legged standing forward bend with a block

Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend)

1 minute
[10–15 breaths]

Stand with your legs 4 to 5 feet apart. Inhale and lift your chest. Exhaling, fold forward from the hips. Spread your arms wide, coming onto your fingertips, with elbows bent. Place your forehead on a block. To come up, root down through your feet. Inhale and slowly rise.

Janu Sirsasana (Head-of-the-Knee Pose)

1 minute
[10–15 breaths]
each side

Sit with extended legs. Place the sole of your left foot against your right inner thigh, right hand by your hip. Lift your left arm, exhale, and fold over the right leg, reaching for your foot or shin. Rest your head on a block. Switch sides.

Savasana (Corpse Pose)

End this sequence here with Savasana for 3 minutes.

Or, have 10 more minutes? Keep going!

If you have 20 minutes, add these poses to your sequence.

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

1 minute
[10–15 breaths]

Sit tall on the edge of a folded blanket with your legs extended. Exhale and stretch your spine
long as you fold forward. Keeping your spine lengthened, hold onto your feet or shins, with your elbows bent and arms relaxed. Rest your forehead on a block.

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)

2 minutes
[20–30 breaths]

Place a bolster at the base of your sacrum. Bend your knees and place the soles of your feet together. Lie back on your bolster and support your head with a blanket, so that your head is above your heart. Allow the knees to open and relax into the props.

Parsva Upavistha Konasana (Side Seated Wide Angle Pose)

1 minute
[10–15 breaths]
each side

Sit with your legs spread wide. Place a block on the inside of your right shin. Press your fingertips into the floor. Inhale and lengthen your spine. Exhale, come forward, and twist your torso over your right leg, resting your forehead on the block. After 5 breaths, come up and switch sides.

Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose)

3 minutes
[30–45 breaths]

Sit on your shins and place a bolster against the base of your sacrum. Separate your ankles and sit between them. If needed, bring your knees as wide as your hips. Rest back onto your bolster, supporting your head with a blanket.

Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Big Toe Pose)

1 minute
[10–15 breaths]
each side

Lie on your back with your big toes together. Inhale and bring your right leg vertical, clasping the back of your thigh. Push your thigh into your hands until you have a tight muscle-to-bone connection. Hold for 5 breaths and switch sides.

Savasana (Corpse Pose)

End this sequence here with Savasana 3 minutes

Or, have 10 more minutes? Keep going!

If you have 30 minutes, add these poses to your sequence.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

1 minute
[10–15 breaths]

Start by lying on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet hip-width apart and parallel, directly below your knees. Inhale and lift your pelvis. Place a block under your sacrum. Open your arms onto the floor in a cactus shape, then lift your heart.

Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose)

3 minutes
[30–45 breaths]

Fold a blanket into a narrow stack that’s the length of your spine. Sit close to a wall and place the blanket behind you, perpendicular to the wall. Lie back onto the blanket, then scoot your buttocks as close to the wall as possible and send your legs up. Rest with your arms by your sides.

Siddhasana, variation (Adept’s Pose, variation)

1 minute
[10–15 breaths]
each side

Sit tall on a blanket and cross your ankles. Inhale and lift your spine, and exhale as you take your left hand to your outer right knee. Place your right hand to the floor behind you for support. Inhale and lengthen; exhale and twist deeper. Switch sides and repeat the sequence.

Siddhasana (Adept’s Pose)

3 minutes
[30–45 breaths]

Sit with your ankles lined up. Softly close your eyes, tuning into the rhythm of your breath and becoming aware of your heartbeat. Inhale and lengthen your spine; exhale and root down through your seat. Rest your hands on your knees, with index fingertips touching thumbs.

Savasana (Corpse Pose)

4 minutes

Lie back, letting your legs and arms relax. Bring your attention to your breath and notice which nostril is clearer. To come out of the pose, draw your knees in toward your chest. Instead of automatically rolling to your right side, roll onto whichever side has the clearer nostril. Stay there until both nostrils feel equally clear.

See alsoDiscover the Peaceful Practice of Yoga Nidra

Love Yoga Journal? Get rich asana content — master classes, in-depth anatomy instruction, pose and alignment cues, and interviews with all of your favorite teachers — right here in our brand new YJ Library. Study up and enrich your practice with timeless yoga articles.