Finding it hard to wind down and relax your mind and body before going to sleep? Today’s guest writer Adrienne Erin outlines some simple yoga moves that will help you relax and get to sleep more easily.
3 Yoga Poses to Do Before Bed
Yoga is a relaxing exercise no matter what the time of day. But with the exercise’s focus on breathing, it’s the perfect way to lower stress and even reduce the amount of night-time restlessness right before you go to bed. Try these three yoga poses before turning out the light at night and focus on your breath; you might be surprised at how easy sleep comes to you. Since you are doing these yoga moves right before bed, be sure to be gentle with your stretching at every step.
Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend
Start by standing up with your feet about hip width apart (approximately six inches). Then, slowly bend over to hang your head and your arms down. Instead of touching the ground, you may also reach each hand to the opposite elbow. Be sure not to hyperextend your knees, even if that requires bending your knees slightly.
Relax into this pose and take 10 deep breaths in and out of the nostrils. Then, sway side to side. Not only will Uttanasana help you relieve tension, particularly in your hips and legs, but it will also help alleviate any headaches you have. Of course, it’s also good for sleep as it begins to relax the body and promote blood flow from head to toe.
Dragonfly or Wide-Legged Seated Straddle
Next, get into a seated pose. Spread your legs wide (but not if you have any knee or sciatica issues). If comfortable, allow about three to four feet between your feet. Flex your feet so that your toes are pointing straight up in the air, and then look at your knees. Your kneecaps should align with, approximately, the second toe on each foot.
Now, sit straight up, as if someone was pulling your spine up by a string, and then slowly bend forward while keeping your back straight. Put your hands out and rest them on your legs or feet; alternatively, you may place your hands out in front of you on the floor, whatever feels best. Hold this seated straddle position for about 10 breaths.
This Dragonfly yoga pose is another way to open your hips. But it also helps open the groin area as well as the back of your thighs. It even allows the knees to open a bit. All of this promotes relaxation, which is exactly what you need to feel before getting into bed.
To get out of this position, slowly roll up, as if stacking your spinal cord. Bring your legs together and shake them out. Since you will feel much more relaxed, feel free to let out a groan!
Apanasana or Knee to Chest
For this last pose, it’s time to climb into your cozy bed and lay down with your head on a pillow. Take one knee up toward your chest, and hold your shin. Take a few deep breaths while in this position. After bringing your leg back down to the bed, switch sides and bring your other knee to chest. Again, take a few breaths. This pose will not only help lengthen the leg that is still straight, but it will relieve more tension in the hips. It’s also known for relieving any tension in the digestive system.
An alternative to this Apanasana pose is to bring both knees to the chest at the same time, and sway. This will further the stretch, particularly in your lower back. Both versions of this pose make your body slightly more compact, which draws your energy inward and helps balance the mind.
Now, with a relaxed body, it’s time for sleep. Lay down in a yoga corpse pose. Relax each limb and each muscle, and just focus on your breaths as you release the day’s worries. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying a peaceful, restful slumber.
Adrienne is a health enthusiast who loves writing about ways to live a better life. Besides writing about wellness, she enjoys analyzing social media and design on her blog Design Roast.