Can you fall asleep easily or are you a vivid sheep counter? You know when you are tired from a busy day and fall asleep during dinner but as soon as you lie down your brain starts to ask you the weirdest questions or starts singing and dancing. Falling asleep can be a struggle, but incorporating yoga into your pre-bedtime routine, with its relaxing postures and meditative nature, can make a world of difference in your slumber.
If you don’t want to roll out your mat for this one, no problem. You can do all of the poses right in your bed (with your PJs on).
If you want to start a regular Yoga practice, sign up for our free Blissful@Work challenge with daily yoga, meditation and mindfulness exercises.
Virasana – Hero’s Pose
Hero’s Pose gently stretches the quads, lengthens the spine and promotes groundedness and inner calmness. It is a great resting or meditation pose.
Come to a seated position on the floor by bringing your knees together on the mat. Your feet should be hip distance apart. Slowly sit back on your heels. In the full expression of the pose your heels are touching the outside of the hips, but for this warm-up, we will sit on the heels or on a block. Press your shins into the mat and lengthen the spine. Your head should be in one line with your hips. Drop the shoulders down and back and gently reach the chest forward. Relax every muscle in your face and release the belly. Stay here for 5 deep belly breaths.
If you have knee problems, use a block under your buttocks or choose Easy Pose instead of Virasana.
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama – Alternate nostril breathing
Alternate nostril breathing relaxes your body and mind. It improves the cardiovascular function, respiratory endurance and lowers the heart rate. It can help with stress and anxiety and promotes overall well-being.
- Come to a comfortable seated position (stay in hero’s pose or come to easy pose).
- Bring your left hand to your left knee and your right hand up towards your noses. Rest your index finger and middle finger between your eyebrows. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out through your nose.
- Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril slowly and steadily.
- Close the left nostril with your ring finger so both nostrils are closed and retain your breath at the top of the inhale.
- Open your right nostril and slowly release the breath through the right nostril. Pause briefly at the bottom of the exhale.
- Inhale through the right side slowly.
- Close both nostrils with your ring finger and thumb.
- Open your left nostril and release your breath slowly through the left side. Pause briefly at the bottom.
- Repeat 10 cycles – don’t rush things, try to focus on your breath and let your mind relax.
Bitilasana – Cow Pose & Marjariasana – Cat Pose
Cat and cow pose stretches can lengthen your back and spine. They are a great warmup for the back and shoulders and can stimulate the kidneys and adrenal glands.
Come to a tabletop position. Your shoulders should directly over your wrists, your hips directly over your knees. Spread your fingers wide and press the palms into the mat. With your next inhale open your chest and reach the tailbone up towards the sky. Let the belly drop down and arch your spine. Your shoulders should be away from the ears and reach the crown of your head to the sky – Cow Pose.
Exhale and tuck the tailbone under and round the spine. Let your head drop down heavy. Firmly press into your palms and reach your upper and middle back towards the sky – your shoulders should be away from the ears – Cat Pose. With your next inhale come back to cow pose and repeat 10 times.
Ardha Matsyendrasana B – Half Lord of the Fishes B (Seated Twist B)
Seated Twist pose lengthens the back muscles and the spine, it stretches the outer hips and thighs, opens the shoulders and chest. It stimulates the liver, the kidneys as well as the digestion.
You sit with both legs straight in front of you and cross your left foot over your right thigh. Fold your right leg in, with your foot outside your left hip. Inhale and lift your arms high. Exhale twist to the left and bring your right elbow to the outside of the right knee. You can extend your right arm long or even come to a bind version. Make sure that both sitting bones stay on the mat. Relax your shoulders down. With your inhale lift the torso up and with your exhale twist a little deeper.
Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle
Bound Angle opens the chest and the hips. It lengthens your spine and can stimulate the nervous and respiratory systems.
Come to a seated position and bring the feet together to touch with your knees bent out to the sides. Use blocks or blankets under your knees if it feels uncomfortable without. Interlace your fingers around your toes. Your feet can be either close to your sitting bones or further out – whatever feels better today. With your next inhale, press the hips down and open your chest. Your head should reach towards the sky and your spine is long. Relax the shoulders down. Exhale and fold your upper body over your feet. You can make this an active pose with a long straight spine or a restorative pose with a round spine. In the restorative version, you can bring a pillow under your upper body and fully relax. Stay here for 10 long breath.
Janu Sirsasana – Seated head to knee
Seated Head to Knee Pose stretches your hamstrings, calves and lower back muscles. It can help you calm your mind and your emotions.
From a seated position, extend one leg straight out in front of you and place the sole of the other foot against the other thigh. Inhale, reach your arms up, lengthen the spine, flex the top feet. Exhale and fold forward, keeping the length of your spine. You can place a strap around your extended foot or place the hands anywhere on your shin. This can be an active pose with long spine or a relaxing/yin pose with a round spine.
Setu Bandhasana – Bridge
Bridge pose builds core and lower body strength. It lengthens and strengthens your spine, energizes the body, and can stimulate your endocrine and nervous systems.
Come to lay down on your back. Bend both or your knees and place the feet flat on the floor – hip distance apart. Bring your arms alongside your body with the palms facing down – your fingertips should be able to touch your heels. With your next inhale, press the feet into the mat and lift your hips up. Engage the legs and buttocks while trying to keep the knees hip-width apart.
You can interlace the fingers to increase the leverage or bring the arms over your head and stretch your whole upper body. Stay here for minimum 5 breath. To release, slowly roll your spine back on the mat.
Savasana – Corpse Pose
Savasana reduces stress and releases tension at the end of a practice. It improves your senses and brings mind, body, and soul in balance.
Lie on your back and let the arms and legs drop open. Extend your arms to the sides, your palms face up. Gently tuck in your shoulder blades and center your head. Your neck is long. Close your eye, take a deep and slow breath in through the nose. Exhale and let your whole body become soft and heavy. Everything in your body should be relaxed: from your pinky toe, over your hips, your abdomen, your shoulders, your face to your tongue. Remain here for a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes. Take time when you come out of the pose.
You might also love our 15 minutes Stress Relief Yoga Flow.