The physical health benefits of a regular yoga practice are many:
- Strengthened muscles
- Better posture
- Protection of your spine, joints and cartilage
- A healthier heart
- Boosts to your immune and endocrine systems
- Improved balance and flexibility
And those are just a few of the positive effects you are likely to enjoy. Even better, you will probably also experience an improvement in your emotional well-being. Yoga has been proven to help reduce anxiety, depression, emotional stress, and the general... malaise that can make a productive, happy day difficult to come by. And once your mind is relaxed and calm, it’s far easier to drift off into a restorative, deep sleep. If you’ve been tossing and turning more than counting Z’s, why not try an easy, pre-bed yoga practice? The following 11 poses are simple enough for anyone to master and you can complete the entire routine in just a few minutes. By the end, your mind will be centered and calm, while your body will be tension-free, relaxed, and ready for bed. Simply work your way through the poses smoothly and slowly, holding each for several seconds. If you’d like, you can repeat the routine two or more times.
01 of 11
- Kneel with your legs folded underneath you, big toes touching and knees spread.
- Lean forward until your forehead touches the floor.
- Slide your arms forward to extend beyond your head.
- Breathe slowly while relaxing into the pose.
02 of 11
Downward Facing Dog
- Kneel on your hands and knees, with your palms just in front of your shoulders and your fingers splayed apart.
- While inhaling, rise up from your knees until your rear end is pointing towards the ceiling.
- Keep your arms and legs straight, but not locked. Your head and neck should be comfortably aligned with your arms, your gaze directed downwards.
03 of 11
Upward Facing Dog
- Lie on your stomach, hands next to your ribcage and fingers spread wide.
- As you inhale, lift your upper body off the floor until your hips are slightly lifted from the ground.
- Keep your neck straight, with your gaze directed upwards.
04 of 11
Reclined Spinal Twist
Continue to 5 of 11 below.
- While lying on your back, slowly bring your knees up towards your chest. Keep your legs pressed together.
- Spread your arms out fully to the sides.
- Slowly drop your bended knees towards your left side. Your knees should be aligned with your hips.
- Turn your head slightly to the right and rest comfortably for several seconds.
- Return to the starting position, and then repeat on the other side.
05 of 11
Head to Knee
- Sit on the floor with your left leg extended out straight in front of you.
- Bend your right leg so the bottom of your foot rests against the inside of your left thigh.
- Bend forward and grasp your extended left foot with both hands, keeping your head, chest, and stomach directly over the left leg. (If you cannot comfortably reach your foot, reach as far as you can without discomfort.)
- Hold several seconds, and then repeat on the other side.
06 of 11
- Start by sitting with your legs extended straight in front of you.
- Spread your knees outwards, bringing your feet up as close to your pelvis as you can without discomfort.
- Grasp your toes, and sit comfortably upright.
07 of 11
- Spread your legs as far as you can without feeling discomfort.
- Lean forward while sliding your fingers down your legs. Do not stretch to the point of discomfort, just until you feel a slight stretch.
- If you find it too difficult to maintain your balance with hands on your legs, you can rest your hands on the floor in front of you.
08 of 11
Continue to 9 of 11 below.
- Start in a standing position. As you exhale, bend forward, reaching your hands towards the ground.
- Bring your head as close to your knees as is comfortable without locking your knees or straining your neck.
- If you are able, grasp the back of your ankles with both hands. If not, simply relax while bending forward comfortably.
09 of 11
Legs Up the Wall
- Sit directly in front of an unobstructed stretch of wall.
- Bring your legs to the side, and then stretch them up the wall while slowly lowering your upper body until your back and head are flat on the floor.
- Spread your arms out to the sides and relax.
10 of 11
- Lie flat on your back, with your hands at your sides and your legs straight.
- Bend your knees until your feet are flat on the floor, with your knees aligned with your hips.
- Press your palms into the floor as you slowly raise your rear end upwards.
- Clasp your hands together while holding your body in alignment from chest to hips. Do not lift your rear end too high or arch your back to the point of discomfort.
11 of 11
- Lie flat on your back with your legs slightly spread and your heels on the floor.
- Rest your arms comfortably, palms facing upwards.
- Relax and breathe slowly and deeply for a minute or so.