More than just a workout, the benefits of yoga range from stretching stiff muscles, improving mobility, strengthening your core, and helping you to sleep better. If you’re stressed or your body feels tense, it can be hard to naturally get into the state of relaxation required to drift off to sleep. Yoga, with its focus on relaxing the mind and taking slow, considered movements, can help to ease and speed up this process – and the best part is, you don’t need to head out to your nearest gym to do it – you can do it right from your bedroom.
We tapped certified yogi Liv Le-Moine for her top tips, and some simple yoga poses that you can do from the comfort of your own bed. These nourishing positions are perfect for releasing tension around the body, so you can melt into your deepest, dreamiest sleep.
*Please consult a doctor if you have any underlining injuries before attempting any of these poses. If any of the poses are causing pain, please carefully come out.
Firstly, give yourself time...
“Having a bedtime ritual is key and you can make yoga part of it!” says Liv. “That wind-down time is what you need to process your day.” Liv recommends lighting a candle, turning on your diffuser, and making a cup of peppermint tea to create a sensory sanctuary. “It’s important that you have no distractions, so that’s goodnight phone!”
Secondly, let it go (or let it be)...
“It’s common for us to overthink before we sleep and we all know that doesn’t do us any favours, so start by acknowledging if you’re holding on to something, mentally, emotionally or physically.” advises Liv. “Journaling is a great way to release any unwanted thoughts from the day, but yoga is also a great healer too. You can use this grounding time to let anything go that doesn’t serve you, channelling it visually as it washes out of your body and back into the earth. Just let your muscles melt, let go of any tension, and take deeper exhales to release any stagnant energy.”
Finally, breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth
“For a good night’s rest, you want to be tapping into the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) which stimulates relaxation.” Liv explains. “According to breath experts, many PNS nerves are located in the lower lobes of the lungs which is one reason why long and slow breaths are so relaxing.” With each of these yoga poses bring your awareness back to your breath.
Pose 1: Sukhasana
What is it? A side neck stretch in a comfortable seated position
Benefits? Can help with stiffness around the neck and shoulder area, so you can sink into your pillow
Take any comfortable seated position, cross-legged or legs in front, so your spine is long. If you have tight hip flexors, place a cushion under your sitting bones to help elevate your hips. Take a breath in. As you exhale, softly guide your right ear to your right shoulder. If this feels accessible, maybe lower the left shoulder a little further away from your left ear. You should feel a slight stretch on your left side. Take 3-6 breaths each side.
Counter pose: Come back to a straight spine after in between and after both sides. Take some slow shoulder rotations.
Pose 2: Supta Matsyendrasana
What is it? A supine twist
Benefits: This is great for digestion and can open tight shoulders.
Lie on your back and hug in your right knee into your chest, give a little loving first and take a slow breath in. With your next exhale guide the bent knee over to the left-hand side. If you find it comfortable, you can rest your left hand on the top of your knee. If you have the space, take your right arm in line with your right shoulder, feel free to cactus the arm to open your heart space a little more. Now close your eyes, tap into your breath. Take between 5-10 cycles of breath, then take the opposite side.
Counter pose: Lie flat on your back in between and after both sides.
Pose 3: Upavistha Konasana
What is it? A restorative wide-legged forward fold
Benefits: Soothes lower back pain
Ground your sitting bones down evenly. Bring your legs to a sustainable widened position. You want your legs to relax here, so it you have tight hamstrings, maybe bend the knees a little. Now for the fun part, pile up your pillows, blankets, duvet and create a soft foundation in between your legs. When you’re ready take a deep inhale to prepare, extending your arms above your head. On your exhale, melt your chest forward as you pore over your comfy support. Take between 6-12 breaths in this pose, just completely let go, unwind & relax.
Counter pose: Slowly unravel your spine to seated. Take your arms nice and wide behind you. Plant your feet on the floor, wider than hip-width. Knock your knees together and just take a gentle sway left to right. Take any final movements before rolling gently back into sleep.