Bedtime yoga that helps you relax and fall asleep
Sometimes when we think about yoga, we think about rolling our mat out and getting all sweaty. Certainly yoga is so much more than a physical exercise, and it can be an amazing way to wind down and relax at the end of a busy day.
When bedtime rolls around, it’t tempting to get down in to bed with a cell phone, an iPad or a laptop and just scroll away. But we all know by now that it is not ideal for sleep. Your mind craves and needs proper relaxation, especially if you are one of those people who have a hard time falling asleep at night.
These four simple yoga poses is the perfect addition to your bedtime routine. You may choose to do them for however long you wish, but we suggest staying in each pose for at least 10 deep breaths. In that way your body will get a chance to fully relax and prepare for sleep.
So leave your phone in another room, and try out these simple yoga poses instead. They will help you unwind, relax your mind and prepare your body for sleep in a gentle yet efficient way.
These are poses anyone can do — whether you are a seasoned yogi or a complete novice.
1. Legs up the wall (Viparita Karani)
This is an amazing way to land in your body and give your feet and legs some much needed rest at the end of the day. You need to be next to a wall and have something comfortable to lay down on, like a rug or a yoga mat. Nothing too soft!
How: Lay down on your back with your bottom as close to the wall as possible, and then place your legs straight up, resting your heels on the wall. You can keep your arms by your sides, or by your head (this position will stretch your shoulders). Close you eyes and allow your entire body to relax, feeling gravity pulling you down. Try to stay here for 2 minutes, or longer if you need.
2. Childs Pose (Balasana)
This effective resting pose will gently straighten your back and calm your mind. Childs pose mimics the way a small child likes to sleep — comfortably curled up and supported. You can either stay on the floor for this one, or get in to bed and do the remaining poses there.
How: Rest your chest and belly on one or two stacked pillows with knees wide apart and big toes touching. Rest an ear on the pillow, eyes closed, and jaw and belly relaxed. Your arms can rest on the sides of the pillow or underneath. Focus your attention on the nostrils and enjoy the sensation of breath flowing in and out.
3. Reclining Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Supta Baddha Konasana releases tension and helps your body relax even deeper as it encourages the blood flow in your legs and back.
How: Lie flat on your back. Bring the soles of your feet together with legs bent. Place a pillow under both thighs and an optional pillow behind the head, folding the pillows if needed for more support. Place hands on stomach. With eyes closed and jaw relaxed, bring your awareness to your hands resting on your belly. Breath deeply and focus on feeling the rise and fall of your torso with each slow breath.
4. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
The ultimate resting pose. Aim to stay in Savasana for as long as possible, you might fall asleep here—or you might not. Either way is fine. Let your limbs be heavy and enjoy the feeling of sinking in to your bed.
How: Lay down on your back. Allow your body to rest with hands by your sides. You can place pillows under your upper thighs or behind knees for more support if desired. With eyes closed and jaw and torso relaxed, feel your breath filling up your belly, expanding your ribs, and flowing up into the chest on an inhalation. Exhale by relaxing your chest, ribs, then belly. Allow this wave-like rhythm to lull you to sleep.