Slow down, take some deep breaths and release the tension from your body with these stretches to sleep better tonight!
Finally, the day is done and we make our way towards the bed, we crawl in… but no sleep comes. Sometimes the mind-body has trouble fully relaxing, the excitement (or stressors!) and memories of the day are still alive in our minds and active through our muscles.
This yoga series provides a simple and calm way to release the stored up energy of the day, slow down and prepare us for sleep (total time 20-25 minutes).
Start in a seated position, bring the soles of your feet together with the knees falling outwards. Inhale: open your arms; exhale: give yourself a hug and fold forward. Let your skull hang heavy and breathe into your back body. Stay for 2-3 minutes.
Paravrtta Janu Sirsasana
Extend the left leg out and bring the sole of the right foot to the left inner thigh. Sit up tall, inhale: right arm up; exhale: reach your right arm outside your left thigh, calf, ankle or foot. Hold on with your hand, but relax everything else. Let your skull hang and breath into your low back. Stay for 2 minutes and then switch sides.
Extend your legs outwards with the toes straight up. Sit upright and inhale: lengthen your spine. Exhale: fold forward as much as you can and then relax totally. Breathe easy. Stay for 2-3 minutes.
Bring the right leg forward with the knee at 90 degrees (or a little less), the left leg is extended back. Even your weight so your hips are pointed forwards and your weight is not falling to one side. Stay upright for 1 minute, this is to open the left hip flexor. Inhale slowly then exhale: fold forward laying over your right leg; this is for the right outer hip and glute muscles. Stay here for 2 minutes and then switch sides.
Start lying on your back, bring the right knee in and inhale. Exhale: take your knee across your body and open your right arm out. Bring your left hand onto your right thigh and gaze over your right shoulder. Breathe slowly, down into your belly and allow your breath to unlock the twist. Stay for 2 minutes and then switch sides.
Press your hands down by your hips and then swing your legs up and over head (they may touch the ground, but maybe not). Hands can be on the spine for support, lazy by the sides, or reaching back towards the feet (as the photo shows). Keep your neck long and soft, breathe into your back body. Stay here for 2-5 minutes and then roll out.
** If this is too much on your neck, bring your knees into your chest and hug around your shins instead.
Lay flat on your mat for a few minutes or crawl right into bed and rest!
You may also enjoy Best Self Yoga Flow for Flexibility and Relaxation with Carter Miles