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Bedtime yoga poses for a better night's sleep

Maggie Giuffrida is a graduate of The University of Arizona where she earned a degree in journalism. She is a contributing writer for SheKnows, specializing in health and fitness. Maggie is a certified yoga instructor and health and well...

Sweet dreams and savasana

Tired of counting sheep, but not tired enough to fall asleep? Rest easy, my little yogis, I've got a sweet goodnight treat for you!

Performing a balancing act or busting out a series of warrior poses may not seem like the ideal remedy for a restful night's sleep, but there's so much more to yoga than just what meets the mat.

As you've probably noticed, yoga poses come in many different styles, shapes and forms, each of which serves its own purpose. There are poses to relieve stress, ease soreness, build muscle, lengthen the body, calm the mind and yes, you guessed it — there are even poses for bedtime!

"A restorative or gentle yoga practice combined with breathing, relaxation and meditation techniques can be practiced at night to relax the body, calm the mind and prepare you for a better night's rest," says Jennifer Cavalieri, certified yoga instructor and owner of Tula Yoga studio.

How so, you ask? Well, since yoga connects our mind, body and spirit, we're able to use the practice of postures (or asanas) to relax the body by relieving physical tension and we can use pranayama, the formal practice of controlling the breath, to relax and calm the mind.

"As we bring our attention inward, focusing on the breath or a mantra, we are able to calm and clear our mind from thoughts and quiet the nervous system, which helps relieve stress," Cavalieri adds.

And the best part about bedtime yoga? You get to practice it right in the comfort of your own home (and pajamas)!

Check out Jennifer's top poses for a better night's sleep below!

1. Seated meditation

Sweet dreams and savasana

2. Legs up the wall

Sweet dreams and savasana

3. Bound angle pose

Sweet dreams and savasana

4. Seated forward fold

Sweet dreams and savasana

Sweet dreams and savasana

5. Seated twist pose

Sweet dreams and savasana

Sweet dreams and savasana

6. Happy baby

Sweet dreams and savasana

7. Knees to chest (rocking left to right)

Sweet dreams and savasana

8. Knee down twist

Sweet dreams and savasana

Sweet dreams and savasana

9. Fish pose (soles of feet together, arms overhead)

Sweet dreams and savasana

Sweet dreams and savasana

10. Savasana

Sweet dreams and savasana

Still awake? Try using this mindful meditation technique. Imagine the number 10. See it coming toward you, getting bigger and brighter, like a huge billboard. Then, imagine it floating away. As it floats away, it is taking all your cares and concerns with it. See yourself becoming more relaxed and at ease. Continue with number nine, all the way down to number one, seeing each number first getting bigger and coming toward you, and then imagine the number floating away and taking any tension you may have with it. When you get to the number one, take a deep breath and watch it float away as you exhale and completely let go.

Sweet dreams and savasana

More on yoga

The health benefits of practicing hot yoga
The yoga butt-lift
5 Weirdest forms of yoga

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