After a hectic day ticking off items on your to-do list, working, and caring for everyone around you it can be difficult to calm your mind and relax your body enough to fall into a deep and restful slumber. According to the American Osteopathic Association, one of yoga’s many benefits is an enhanced feeling of calm and relaxation.
Before Bed Poses
When yoga is done before bed it can serve as a trigger for the mind and body that it is time to bring the focus inward and prepare to rest. This series of poses can help you relax as part of your nighttime routine.
Ardha-Chakrasana – This pose is also known as Standing Backward Bend and will increase shoulder and spine flexibility. Lie on the floor with knees bent and feet on the floor. Press into your shoulders and feet and lift hips to the air, hands placed on the lower back to help support your weight. Hold for about five measured breaths.
Uttanasana – This pose is also known as Standing Forward Bend and will stretch the back and legs. Begin by standing with hands on hips and knees straight. Exhale and bend forward from the hips rather than the waist. Allow your palms or fingertips to touch the floor beside or in front of your feet or hold the back of your ankles gently. Alternatively, cross your forearms and hold your elbows while holding the pose for up to a minute.
Bhujangasana – This pose is also known as Cobra Pose and will help relieve stress in the abs, back and chest. Begin by laying on your tummy and placing forearms on the floor with elbows underneath shoulders. With hips against the floor, gently move your chest up and away from hands. Roll your shoulders back while elongating the neck. Maintain a forward gaze or gently lower your head backwards to deepen the stretch. Hold for five breaths and lower yourself gently down.
When you’ve completed your routine climb into bed.
Yoga in Bed
Sometimes all you want to do is climb into bed and beneath your favorite organic cotton sheets. Unfortunately, sometimes the stress of the day will make it impossible to turn off your mind and drift off to sleep. At these times, you probably won’t want to crawl out of bed to go through a series of yoga poses. Happily, there are several poses that are perfectly suited for the bed.
Baddha Konasana – This pose is also known as the Butterfly Pose or Bound Angel Pose and will help stretch your hips and lower back. Begin by sitting up in bed with knees bent and the soles of the feet together. Sitting with the spine straight, fold forward and rest your hands on your feet, the bed, or your knees. Remain in this position for five measured breaths and return to the seated position.
Apanasana – This pose is also known as the Knees to Chest Pose and it stretches the lower back and pelvis. Begin by laying on your back and bringing your knees to your chest. Then, clasp your hands around your shins and pull towards your chest gently. Gently move your head from side to side while you relax for a total of five measured breaths.
Bālāsana – This pose is also known as Child’s Pose and is designed to relieve tension in the lower back and is considered one of the most relaxing yoga poses. Begin by sitting on your heels with shins on the bed. Fold forward and rest your head on the bed with arms extended in front of you or to the sides of your legs. Hold as long as desired and gently move back to a sitting position when ready.
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