In our fast-paced, always-on-the-go world, unwinding before bed can be difficult and a restful night’s sleep escapes many of us. Yoga lowers stress levels, calms the mind, relieves tension and can help lull us to sleep. So forget counting sheep and try these yoga moves — all of which can be done in bed.
1. EASY POSE
As children, we came into Easy Pose, well, easily. Sitting in chairs for years tightens our groin muscles and rounds our backs, making this simple cross-legged position tough on our hips, knees and lower back. With regular practice, you can help your body adjust to this pose again. It’s worth it: It’s a popular pose for meditation and breathwork, and it helps strengthen the back, stretch the knees, open the hips and calm the mind.
The move: Cross one leg in front of the other so you’ve created a triangle in the space between. Now sit tall and broaden your chest as if you were wearing a medal. Relax your shoulders and place your hands on your thighs.
Add an end-of-day breathing exercise to let go of the day. Close your eyes and call to mind something positive that happened during the day. As you inhale, let that warm-and-fuzzy thought fill your entire body. As you exhale, open your mouth and sigh, releasing any of the tension or junk from the day. After a few breaths, bring your hands to your belly and focus on just the breath, letting any thoughts from the day float away.
2. SEATED TWIST
Twists wring out your body like a sponge. They squeeze the organs, eliminating toxins and encouraging oxygenated blood to flow to them once the twist is released. They help the spine maintain mobility and increase flexibility through the oblique, abdominal and back muscles. They also help the chest and shoulder muscles relax, releasing tension throughout the body.
The move: From easy pose, inhale and sweep your arms overhead. Exhale and twist to the right, resting your left hand on the outside of the right thigh. Take five breaths here, sitting taller with each inhale and twisting a little deeper with each exhale. Repeat on the other side.