Bedtime is the nightly vacation from the mental and physical chaos the day brings after a busy day occupied with school, work, children, family, friends, and unfinished to-do lists. Good news! The relaxation, space, and clarity you feel during and after practice does not have to end at the studio, you can bring that serenity to the bed- where it belongs. Before going to bed, try these five yoga asanas in bed to induce better mood and better sleep. The poses are restorative allowing sanction time to calm the mind, focus on the body, and repeat positive affirmations before drifting sound asleep. Surrender into each pose for 2 minutes for an easy 10-minute bedtime routine.
1. Wide Leg Childs Pose, Balasana
Start with knees wider than hips with toes touching behind you. Bend forward at the waist with arms extended reaching towards the opposite wall. Lengthen torso and extend tailbone towards opposite wall. Rest forehead and shoulders into the mattress. Close eyes and start to deepen your breaths. With each inhale reach a little further and sink deeper into the pose with each exhale. Embrace the smell of your sheets and release tension in your body.
2. Legs up the wall, Viparita Karani
Place pillow at the wall and scoot legs completely against the wall with sit bones rooted onto the wall. Straighten legs with heels, ankles, and hips in alignment. Extend arms to the side or rest on your stomach to feel the movement of each breath. Relax shoulder, neck, and head onto the mattress. Close eyes and feel the difference in your heart rate, chest expansion, and the overall movement of energy in your body.
This pose is proven to lower heart rate. It gives your heart a break from actively fighting gravity to circulate blood to your legs and back to your heart. Continue deep breaths and enjoy surrendering into the pose while meditating on the breath.
3. Knees to chest, Apanasana
Start to transition into this relaxing pose by gently bending your knees and bringing them towards your chest. Embrace your legs, smile, and tell yourself how much you love you! Roll shoulders down and away from the ears. Slightly move chin towards the chest to remain alignment in the cervical spine. Take these two minutes to hug your body and repeat positive affirmations.
I repeat these simple statements with each affirmation corresponding to a chakra energy center:
I love how safe and grounded I am.
I love and enjoy my body.
I love and accept myself.
I am love.
I love to speak my truth.
I love to listen to my intuition.
I love to honor the Divine within me.
Repeating mantras and affirmations make them a reality because we believe what we tell ourselves. By showering yourself in love, you begin to radiate its essence, and it carries over to everyday life.
4. Happy Baby, Ananda Balasana
Now that you’ve made your spirit happy, transition into happy baby pose. Open legs slightly wider than torso and bend knees toward chest. Grab outside of feet and pull knees down towards armpits. Focus on breath and clearing the mind of mental chatter. Deeper breaths as you feel your body becoming more and more relaxed. Gently maintain resistance while keeping shoulders, neck, and head resting on the mattress. Feel the release in your hips as you continue to relax your mind and body.
5. Corpse Pose, Savasana
Finally! Savasana you can fall asleep in! Position yourself where you comfortably can fall asleep. Pull blankets over your body. Take one last body stretch and extend legs with arms gently resting at sides, palms facing up. Let feet and hands relax and fall naturally limp. Release muscles in the face and unclench jaw. Do a complete body scan from head to toe breathing into every muscle that feels tense. With every exhale, visualize releasing the tension. Close your eyes, feel all of your muscles loosen, and continue to go deeper into relaxation with every breath. Feel your body get heavier and sink deeper into the mattress as you gently drift off to sleep.
After a goods night rest, when asked if you’re ready to get up in the morning you won’t sluggishly respond “Namaste in bed,” but you’ll rejoice with “NAMASTE ALL DAY!”