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Bedtime Yoga Routine for Better Sleep

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You know… getting to sleep sometimes can be a royal pain in the rear.

There are all these different things you can try, different scents that are supposed to be soothing, and so on. Sometimes it’s not enough.

Seriously…

I’ve tried lots of things:

  • diffusing lavender in the diffuser
  • keeping off the electronic devices an hour before bed
  • soothing bath
  • drinking a warm cup of tea (chamomile or otherwise)
  • self-massage
  • dimming all bright lights
  • blue light-blocking eyeglasses

And, yet, I still can freaking get to sleep or stay asleep. But, then I kind of, sort of, fell onto an idea that helped.

Call me crazy, silly, weird, a placebo effect or whatever you want. It worked.

Maybe not in the sense that I was “sleeping as sound as a baby” (which, is a stupid saying by the way), but my mind wandered less and I slept for more hours than normal.

What was the cure?

I started doing yoga at bedtime, but not in the traditional sense that I would do Sun Salutation A or anything like that. By definition, Sun Salutation A is a warming and energizing sequence.

No, what I did instead was just did some floor poses that were more relaxing and I held them for longer than a breath.

Sleep Better With Bedtime Yoga

What have you got to lose though, really?

Give this sequence a shot and see if it helps you sleep better at night.

Also, even if you incorporate this into your routine I would suggest you also take other steps to try to help you sleep well.

What kind of steps? Well, you know the things I mentioned above that I was doing to try to get more sleep?

Here… I’ll give you a recap again:

  • diffusing lavender in the diffuser
  • keeping off the electronic devices an hour before bed
  • soothing bath
  • drinking a warm cup of tea (chamomile or otherwise)
  • self-massage
  • dimming all bright lights
  • blue light-blocking eyeglasses

Do these things too.

You don’t have to do all of them, but adding in extras definitely will help.

How Can Yoga Help at Bedtime

It helps by relaxing your body and unwinding your mind. You breathe deeper than normal causing your mind to quiet and the chatter to slow down.

This allows you to come to a more peaceful state that allows you to fall into a nice and deep sleep.

Adding even just a few of these poses into your evening routine will help you start sleeping better.

Here’s the flow of this sequence. Try to move slowly from pose to pose so you don’t overexcite your body.

  1. Child’s Pose (2 minutes)
  2. Cat & Cow Pose (2 minutes)
  3. Reclining Bound Angle Pose (2 minutes)
  4. Happy Baby Pose (2 minutes)
  5. Legs Up the Wall (2 minutes)
  6. Reclining Spinal Twist (2 minutes per side)
  7. Savasana (6 minutes)

20-Minute Bedtime Yoga Routine

1 Child’s Pose

Come down on to your mat with your knees hip distance apart or wider and sink your buttocks down onto your knees. Slowly fold over your knees and reach your hands out in front of you as you place your forehead down onto the mat.

Since this is more for relaxing, I want you to try to relax the muscles in your body as you’re laying over your legs. Breathe deeply into your belly and focus on elongating your breath.

The deep breathing allows your body and mind to relax as you prepare for bed.

Remain here for 2 minutes or as long as feels good.

2 Cat & Cow Pose

Slowly come out of Child’s Pose and up onto your hands and knees into tabletop position. Make sure that you’re shoulders are in line over your wrists and your hips are in line with your knees.

From here begin moving with your breath between Cat and Cow Pose.

Inhale and let your belly drop towards the ground. Exhale and round your back feeling the stretch in as much of your back as you can. Release more and more tension with each round.

Remain here for 2 minutes or as long as feels good.

3 Reclining Bound Angle Pose

Slowly come down in a seated position and swing your legs in front of you.

For this position, you can roll up a blanket, find a long pillow, or just lay back on the ground. You want to bring the soles of your feet together as if you were going to do Butterfly Pose, but you’re going to let you legs gently fold out to the sides.

If it’s uncomfortable letting them rest like this you can use two yoga blocks or pillows or whatever you can fold up to place under your knees for support. This is a very supportive pose and is amazing for relaxation.

Try to release all pent-up tension in your body as you melt into this pose.

Remain here for 2 minutes or as long as feels good.

4 Happy Baby Pose

Once you come out fo Reclined Bound Angle Pose draw your knees into your chest and hug them for a second.

Lift your feet towards the ceiling and reach to grab the outside of your feet with your hands. Take your knees out a little wider than your hips and try to draw your knees towards the ground. Don’t force this position, but allow your legs to relax.

Slowly and gently rock back and forth here to help relieve tension in the lower back.

Remain here for 2 minutes or as long as feels good.

5 Legs Up the Wall Pose

For this pose, you can either slide your buttocks up to a wall or remain in the middle of the room. Personally, I like the wall because it allows you to relax a lot more.

So, to get into Legs Up the Wall Pose the easiest way you’ll want to sit sideways at first and press your hip to the wall. From there you’ll twist to come down onto your back. Try to keep your butt as close to the wall as possible as you slide your legs up the wall.

The first few times might be a bit awkward, but soon you’ll slide into Legs Up the Wall Pose with ease.

You can use a blanket under your hips for more support or lie there as you are. Relax and let the sensations run through you. This is great for leg circulation and relaxation.

Remain here for 2 minutes or as long as feels good.

6 Reclining Spinal Twist

Slide your legs down the wall and come back to your mat. Lie flat on your back with your arms out in a T shape.

Draw your right knee up into your chest and give it a squeeze. Slowly allow it to relax over towards the side of your body creating a twist.

If possible, keep your shoulder on the ground as you take your left hand to draw your right knee down to the ground. If your shoulder doesn’t stay on the ground don’t fret, it’s a goal that we will aim for as you move further in your yoga practice.

After two minutes come back to center and repeat with your left leg.

Remain here for 2 minutes on each side or as long as feels good.

7 Savasana

Once you’ve finished both sides of your twist come back to center and keep your legs and heels hip distance apart. Allow your feet to relax out to the sides. Your arms should be by your sides but not clinging to your sides.

Relax everything as you lay there. Start from the top of your head and do a body scan and release any tension you find as you move down your body.

Remain here for 6 minutes or as long as feels good.

Practice Bedtime Yoga When You Need It

You don’t have to practice yoga before bedtime every night. Don’t feel like it has to be an obligatory thing that you add to your to-do list.

Practice when you feel called to practice or when you feel yourself a little too wired before bed.

If it feels good to practice every night, then by all means, practice every night. I want you to enjoy this rather than dread it.

Remember there are more things you can do like:

  • have warm tea
  • turn the lights down
  • create a warm bath with soothing scents
  • do some deep breathing

I hope this helps you to relax and sleep better.

Things You Might Need for A Home Yoga Practice:

  • Yoga Mat – because using just a blanket or the floor proves a bit more difficult in the beginning
  • Yoga block – these are super helpful if you can’t quite reach the ground OR if you want to get a deeper stretch in some poses
  • Blanket – yoga blankets are great for those relaxing poses that I’ll talk about in another post (stay tuned)
  • Yoga Strap – if you can’t quite do a pose (like reach your feet in seated forward fold) a strap comes in mighty handy to help you still do the pose properly without sacrificing your alignment
  • Meditation cushion – meditation has been proven to lower stress levels, so having a meditation cushion makes it a bit comfier and helps to elevate your hips
  • Bolster – same as the blanket, but this allows you to relax back onto the bolster so you can relax deeper into the poses you’re doing that might need or warrant a bolster

 Don’t forget to pin this for later!

image of a bed with a backpack beside it

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