Is falling asleep a regular struggle? Try incorporating this restorative and relaxing 20-minute yoga routine into your bedtime ritual. It will calm your mind and ease you into a restful night's sleep. Best of all? There's no activewear required, you can do this routine in your pyjamas.
Set the scene
Dim the lights and power down. While you can have soft instrumental music playing in the background, it's preferable to switch off all electronic devices. Grab a pillow to use for some of the poses – it helps support your spine and sends signals to your body that it's time to sleep.
Start by sitting comfortably on your mat, with your hands in your lap and your palms facing up. Complete 10 rounds of deep inhalations and exhalations.
Seated Wide Angle Pose l Upavistha Konasana
Stretches the inner thighs, hamstrings and back muscles
Sitting with your legs spread wide apart, place a pillow (or two) horizontally in front of your torso. Inhale, sit up as tall as possible. Exhale, begin to fold forward from the hips, walking your hands out in front of you until your upper body comes to rest on the pillow. If sitting up tall or folding forward causes you to round your spine at all, place a cushion or block under your bottom. Rest and breathe deeply on the pillow for 2–3 minutes. Inhale to rise back up to seated.
Prone Chest Stretch
Stretches the chest
Lie on your stomach on the mat. Place your right palm on the floor at your chest. Take your left arm out to the side, bending the elbow to 90 degrees and lining the elbow joint up with the shoulder joint. Your left palm is flat on the floor. Lift your right leg and bend the knee, reaching the foot for the floor on your left. Breathe deeply for 1 minute. Gently roll onto your belly and repeat on the opposite side.
Legs Up The Wall l Viparita Karani
Improves circulation and relieves tired legs
Start by sitting sideways, knees bent, as close to the wall as possible. Gently lower your torso down to the floor, and at the same time lift your legs up the wall, with your sit bones at the base of the wall. Extend your legs up towards the ceiling, keeping the heels stacked over the hips, and rest your head and shoulders on the floor. The arms can extend by your side, palms facing up. Stay here and breathe deeply for 2–3 minutes. To come out, bend your knees and roll onto one side.
Sleeping Butterfly l Supta Baddha Konasana
Stretches the inner thighs and groin, and opens the chest
With your bottom on the floor and your back lying on the pillow lengthwise, bring the soles of your feet together as the knees naturally drop out towards the side. Gently recline onto the pillow. Rest and breathe deeply for 2–3 minutes.
Supine Spine Twist l Jathara Parivartanasana
Realigns the spine, stretches the back and the outer hip muscle groups
Remove the pillow and lie on your back. Using your hands, gently bring your right knee towards your chest. Guide your knee over to the left, keeping your right arm out by your side, palm facing up and your shoulders heavy to the mat. Hold and breathe for 1 minute before switching to the other side.
Corpse Pose l Savasana
Deep relaxation and mindfulness
Lie on the floor and extend both legs out in front of you, and let the toes drop out to the side. You may want to place a pillow under your knees for additional support. Arms are long beside you with the palms facing up. Let the body be heavy and relaxed. Close your eyes, rest and breathe for 2–3 minutes.
Breath meditation to finish
Relaxation, mindfulness and helps to settle the nervous system
Remain in corpse pose and take your left hand to your heart and your right hand to your belly. Begin by inhaling to the count of four, hold the breath for the count of four, then exhale to the count of four. Repeat four times.
A qualified Pilates instructor and yoga teacher, Bree began her Pilates journey 10 years ago when her disciplined practice saw her successfully rehabilitate a back injury. She later undertook and completed her professional training with Elixr School of Pilates. If you would like to attend Bree's pilates classes at Elixr have a look at our timetable here, or if you are interested in one-on-ones with Bree, let us know here.