I know we’ve all been there, trying to get to sleep at night but your mind just wont let it happen! Restless legs, tossing and turning is probably one of the most annoying things, especially at a time when our body should be calming down ready to reboot. Following this short bedtime yoga flow, either on a mat or in bed, will help you relax, and get a good nights sleep.
Lotus Pose – Begin in a comfortable position, crossed legs, maybe a pillow under your hips for extra length. Imagine drawing up, opening through your chest as your inhale, and gliding your shoulders down your back as you exhale. You can keep your hands palms down on your legs, or bring them to heart centre. Close your eyes, and focus on your breath.
From here, inhale, reaching the arms above the head, creating space. As we exhale, bend the elbows and place the palms on the back of the head. Gently tuck your chin into your chest to get a good neck stretch. If this feels good, feel free to follow this down your spine, rounding off any tension.
On your next inhale, come to back to centre, and reach the arms above once more. This time, use your left hand to grab your right wrist, and slowly pull to the left, allowing a side stretch down the right side of the body. After a few deep breaths here, switch to the other side and take a few big breaths here.
The next asana will be a forward fold: Paschimottanasana, make sure you bend your knees and don’t push yourself, it’s about being comfortable, not how far you get, or being in pain. Take a few deep breaths here, inhale and reach the arms above the head, exhale and bring the palms to the knees to prepare for:
Prasarita Padottanasana – Open straddle forward fold – Open up the legs, as far as is comfortable for your hips. Inhale, reach the arms above the head, exhale and slowly lower towards the ground. Bend your knees if this helps, keep the back/neck straight and allow yourself to hang, releasing any tension as your breathe through the stretch.
Apanasana – From our forward fold, bring your legs together, and slowly rock onto your back, hug your knees into the chest and breathe into this pose for at least 5 deep breathes.
Bring your left leg up and rest your heel on your right knee for an IT Band Stretch, as your breathe, lower your legs towards your abdominal to get a stretch in the hamstrings. Repeat on the other side once a round of 5 breaths is completed.
Slowly release, hugging your knees to your chest once more; Make your way to Viparita Karani, resting our legs up the wall. This Asana helps improve our circulation, easing restless legs, lower back/menstruation pain. Stay here as long as you feel comfortable and practice deep breathing. This is also a good spot to practice gratitude for the day, and let go of any worries or stresses. From here, if it’s in your practice, you may open the hips up and stretch the legs down either side of the body.
Baddha Konasana – Bring the knees into the chest, open up the hips and breathe into the hip flexors/lower back. This asana is commonly known as an inverted Butterfly stretch.
Our penultimate asana is Bālāsana – the common child’s pose. For my bed time flows, i like to use a pillow as a prop, underneath my pelvis and abdomen. It helps me get into a deep stretch, whilst also being extremely comfortable and cosy. You can reach your arms out, or release them down behind your shoulders, resting by your legs. If it helps, you could even grab a blanket and spray your pillows with a Lavender essential oil to assist in bringing about sleep.
Our finishing asana, my personal favourite is… You guessed it! Savasana (Corpse pose.) From childs pose, slowly roll onto your back, rest all four limbs on the ground, palms facing up. Close off your eyes, and focus on deep yoic breath. My favourite pranayama teqniche to use here is the 2,4,6 method. Increasing with each round. Use blankets, turn off the lights, do whatever you feel to get comfy and tired. This Practice is all about you, and allowing your mind and body to calm down ready for a restful nights sleep.