Some of the best times to do a little yoga is right when you get up in the morning or when you are going to bed at night. Fortunately, there are a variety of yoga poses that you can incorporate into your morning and nightly routines to ensure a good day ahead or a good night’s sleep. Here are some great poses that you can do right in the comfort of our own bed whether you’re looking for a morning pick-me-up or a nighttime sleep-starter.
Seated Side Stretch
After a good night’s sleep, your body might feel tight from being curled up in bed. To start your morning off, sit up in bed with your legs crossed. Put your right arm up high towards the ceiling and place your left hand on your right knee. Reach your right arm up and over your head to the left to have a nice, deep stretch along your right side. Make sure to keep your hips rooted to the bed. After a deep stretch on the right, switch sides and stretch your left.
Sit on your bed with your feet straight out in a pike position. Reach your arms up towards the ceiling and slowly lower by bending at the waist. Try to reach for your toes and stretch in this position for up to 30 seconds. You will feel a nice, deep stretch in your hamstrings. This will be a great way to wake up those legs.
As we age, it seems like our hips get tighter and tighter. This pose will open up your hips and even hit your hamstrings, which is another area of discomfort in many. Start off at the foot of your bed facing outwards on your hands and your knees. Take your left foot and slide it back to the head of your bed as you sink your hips down into the mattress. For a deep stretch in the hips, slide your right foot inwards towards your pelvic, making a figure four. You can stretch with your upper body straight up, supporting yourself with your hands on the mattress or lower your chest by going down onto your elbows. As you adjust your positioning, you will feel different stretches throughout your hamstrings and hips. Be sure to switch sides to even out your legs.
The final stretch of the morning will target your abs, back, quads, arms and chest. Really, this is an all-in-one stretch to wake up your muscles! Start on your stomach and reach your arms back towards your feet. Bend at your knees so you can try to grab each ankle with your hands. Drive your feet up towards the ceiling as you arch your back, lift up your chest and draw your shoulder blades close together. Hold onto your ankles as you get in that good stretch for about 20 seconds. Slowly release and get your day started!
Cat and Cow Pose
The cat and cow pose are two simple poses that will calm your mind and help you relieve stress from your neck and back that may have built up during the day. Start on your hands and knees and slowly round your spine by pulling in your stomach and lowering your head to the mattress. This is the cat pose. Stay here for a beat and then slowly release from the hunched position to lower your belly, arch your back and lift your head back up, eventually looking towards the ceiling. This move is called the cow pose. Alternate between the poses, holding them each for a few seconds to release tension in your back and neck.
A personal favorite is the spinal twist. This pose certainly helps you unwind from a long day and release the tension in your back from sitting at a desk all day or walking around. Lie flat on your back and pull your left knee up to your chest and slowly drop it over to your right side. You can use your right arm to pull your knee further if you so choose; your left arm should be stretched out to its side and your neck should be turned to the left. Try to relax into this position, letting your body melt into the floor. Stay in this position for at least 10-20 seconds then switch to your right.
Child’s pose will help you relieve tight hips and back and also help you relax your mind. Start on your hands and knees and slowly sink your hips back by resting your bum on your heels. Lower your chest to your thighs and see if you can rest your forehead on the floor. Take some deep breaths to deepen the stretch. If you would like a bigger stretch in your hips, widen your knees to lower your chest to the floor instead of your thighs. Spend as much time in this stretch as you’d like. You should feel rested and ready for bed after this one!
This should be the last pose you do before falling asleep. In fact, you may even fall asleep while in this pose. Lie flat on your back with your legs slightly spread out (each foot pointed towards the corner of the bed) and your arms spread just a few inches away from your hips. Have your palms face towards the ceiling and close your eyes. Take slow, deep breaths as you let your mind relax and let your muscles feel like they are just sinking into the bed. Stay in this pose as long as you like and enjoy your night’s sleep.