Unwind, clear your mind, and relax with these simple yoga poses. Whether you are a beginner or veteran, these exercises will help you fall asleep faster.
Work, traffic, bills, stress, obligations; there are a lot of things bouncing around in our heads by the end of the day. It’s no wonder so many have a hard time unwinding at night. For some people it can take hours of lying awake in bed, restless and thinking about the day, before falling asleep.
Fortunately, there are many simple yoga poses that help quiet the mind, relax the body, and ease you into a deeper sleep. Also, yoga poses that incorporate mediation have been shown to raise the level of melatonin in the blood, a crucial regulator of sleep. Regular exercise has also shown to be an effective method for treating sleep disorders.
The best news is that most of these poses can be done in your bed, so there is no lag time between reaching a relaxed state ready for sleep and getting into bed.
Deep Breathing for Relaxation
Start every nighttime yoga routine with some simple deep breathing techniques. You can do this pose while sitting comfortably cross-legged or lying flat on your back.
Breathe at a normal pace, in and out of your nose. Do not become distracted by the thoughts in your head, but rather concentrate on your breathing. If your mind wanders to your thoughts, just re-focus and think about each inhale and exhale.
While focusing on your breathing, relax every part of your body, starting at your toes, and working your way up. Slowly work up to deeper inhalations and exhalations, repeat this for ten breaths.
Stretch Your Hamstrings with the Upside Down Relaxation Pose
While on your bed, lie on your back with your upper body on the mattress and your legs extended up against the wall. Scoot your bottom closer to the wall to get a good stretch through your hamstrings. If the stretch is too intense, more a few inches away from the wall.
Let your arms rest beside you, with your palms facing up. Hold this pose while you breathe through your nose, and feel a gentle stretch through your hamstrings.
Relax Your Back with the Happy Baby Pose
Now to relax your back and hips, move smoothly into the Happy Baby pose. While lying on your back bring your knees into your chest. Separate your legs, bringing your knees towards your armpits. Be sure to keep your legs, from your knees to your feet, straight up and down, perpendicular to the floor. Flex your feet while holding on to the outer edges of your feet. Hold this pose and feel the stretch through your lower back and hips.
Align Your Spine Doing the Winding Down Twist
Next, bring your legs back down to the mattress, and slowly sit up, moving into a comfortable cross-legged position. Place your right hand on the mattress behind you, as you cross your left hand over and place it on your right knee, twisting gently as you gaze over your right shoulder. Hold this pose for one minute, and then switch sides.
Nighttime Goddess Stretch
From the Winding Down Twist, slowly lie back down on the mattress, resting your arms beside you, palms up. Press the bottoms of your feet together and then relax your legs and open your hips so your knees fall open to rest on the mattress. Hold this pose for two minutes.
Release Your Hips and Shoulders with Child’s Pose
Kneel on your bed with you feet tucked under you, and sit back on your heels. Then slowly roll forward, bringing your chest down to your knees, and placing your forehead on the mattress. Lie with your arms resting stretched out above your head, with your palms facing down. Relax through your shoulders and hips, and hold this pose for one minute.
Calm Your Mind with the Corpse Pose
End your nighttime yoga routine with Corpse Pose, the perfect end to the day. Lie on your back, arms resting beside you, palms facing up. Relax your entire body, letting your feet fall to the side slightly, let your head feel heavy against the bed. Focus on each part of the body, from your toes up to your head, relaxing each part one by one as you go.
Do not be distracted by your thoughts, stay focused by concentrating on your breathing and relaxing your muscles. Once you are done relaxing the body and releasing the mind, simply shut your eyes, and enjoy a deep sleep. Good night!