Ever lay in bed at night, only to find that you’re wide awake? You may count sheep, or toss and turn while your mind keeps churning away about your day, to-do list, and all the shut-eye you’re missing as each second ticks by. But there’s a more productive way to snuggle into bedtime and sleep better: These 5 simple yoga poses will relax your body and mind so that you can slip into a peaceful and well-deserved slumber
1. Reclined Spinal Twist
Begin lying on your back with both legs straight. Bend your left knee into your chest and give it a good squeeze with your arms as you lengthen your lower back. Keeping the knee bent, drop it over to the right and extend your left arm flat onto the ground in line with the shoulder. Place your right hand above your left knee and give gentle pressure as you keep the lower back lengthening. Try your best to drop the left shoulder completely to the ground. Hold for 8 breaths then come back to center and switch sides.
2. Reclined Big Toe Pose A + B
(a.) Place a yoga strap or towel over the ball of your foot and extend that leg up into the air working towards a straight leg. Press the ball of your foot into the strap as you pull the strap into the ball of the foot. Relax your shoulders and take 8 breaths.
(b.) Rotate your lifted heel in and toes out. Hold onto the the strap with the same hand as the extended leg and release your other arm out to your side. Let your lifted leg rotate open to the side hovering it above the ground. Try to keep both sides of your pelvis heavy and shoulders relaxed. Hold for 8 breaths. Bring the leg back up to center and switch legs.
3. Supported Bridge Pose
Have a yoga block handy and bend both of your knees on your back so that the soles of the feet are flat and hip width apart. Lift your hips up (maybe even come onto the balls of your feet, if you’re comfortable) and slide the block in the tall and skinny way to rest directly under your lower back. You might have to adjust the block a bit until you find a comfortable location. Rest your hips on the block and interlace your fingers in front of it. Hug your upper outer arms in to open up your chest. Keep a slight lift of your chin. Stay here for 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Double Pigeon
Roll up to sit with your knees bent and shin bones crossed. Stack your left shin bone on top of your right so that the top heel rests on the thigh directly above the knee while the left knee stacks over the flexed right foot. Sit tall or walk your arms forward and bring your head to the ground. Take a pillow or bolster into your lap and wrap your arms around it so you can rest your head and chest. Hold for 3 to 5 minutes and switch sides.
5. Reclined Bound Angle
Sit in front of a bolster or pillow with it set up the long way. If you have extra blankets, try folding 1 or 2 on top of the bolster for extra height. Take a yoga strap and make a lasso the large way placing it over your entire body. Take the back of the lasso to your pant line. Bend both of your knees and take the soles of the feet together and slide the front part of the lasso underneath your pinky toes so that the strap holds your hips open. Play around with how tight you want the lasso to be then lie back onto your bolster. Let your arms dangle next to your sides and close your eyes. Stay here 5 to 10 minutes then slide directly into bed! Sweet dreams.