Show your joints some love with this before-bed yoga sequence.
This past fall, I started adding hour-long Yin yoga classes to my evening fitness routine. On the nights I practiced, my body felt looser, my joints less achy,
Missing my post-Yin mood, I reached out to certified yoga instructorFrantz Hallfor a Yin yoga sequence that can be done at home before bed.According to Hall, in order to take part in a more restorative Yin yoga practice, allow yourself to get into a more meditative state by focusing on your breath or your favorite type or meditation. You should also support your posture with blocks, pillows, towels, or blankets.
ADVERTISEMENTEach pose in the sequence below should be held between 3-5 minutes. However, Hall urges you to remember that this isyourpractice, so come out of each posture as you need — slowly and safely. It can even be completed in bed if you so please.
Supported FishHall says this pose is not only good for digestion, but can help with anxiety and opening up the chest and hips — if completed with the soles of the feet together and knees to the side.Coming Into the PosturePlace your two blocks behind you — one to support your back, the other to support your head. They should be at the same height, or the one you use under your head can be set higher. The block supporting your back can either be placed long ways along your spine or across your back, right around the low edge of your shoulder blades.
Sit about 4-6 inches in front of the block, which is meant to support your back.Place the soles of your feet on your mat with your heels close to your bottom, knees toward the ceiling.Place your hands behind you and behind to roll down toward the blocks. You may need to adjust the blocks on the way down or once you get into the posture. Make yourself as comfortable as you can.
Bring the soles of your feet together and open your knees to the side.Open your arms to either side of your body, palms facing up.You can also do this pose lying on a couple of pillows. If placing your knees to the side is too intense, you can either place pillows, rolled up towels, or books under your thighs for support.
Coming Out of the PostureSlightly engage your lower belly, place your hands on either side of your thighs, and draw thighs together.Roll onto either the right or left side of your body with your knees curled up toward your chest — like a baby lying on its side.
Take a few moments in this position to allow your body to soften out of the pose.Related:This Yoga Sequence Is Even Better Than a Before-Bed MassageBananasanaHall explains that this pose aids in the mobility of the spine, is beneficial for the lungs and heart, opens up the side body, and stretches the IT bands.
Coming Into the PostureRemove any blocks that may be in the way and lay on your back.Reach your arms over your head and make yourself really long. Reach your fingers and toes in opposite directions without lifting your shoulders to your ears too much.
Start to wiggle your shoulders to the right keeping your hips where they are. Keep your arms overhead. If your shoulders are uncomfortable, you can place blocks or pillows under them for support.Begin to walk your feet to the same side as your shoulders. Per the name, you should find yourself in the shape of a banana.
Allow your arms to soften.Try to avoid lifting the left side of your body off your mat. Imagine it's a little heavier, so both sides of your body are on your mat.Come back to the center and go to the other side.Coming Out of the PoseAlign your body back to center, bring both knees to your chest, and give a gentle squeeze.
Come onto your right or left side and roll up gently.CaterpillarSleep, stress, and anxiety are all addressed with this post. Hall says it's also beneficial for opening and stretching the hamstrings and back, as well as aiding in digestion.Coming Into the Pose
Come to a seated position with your legs stretched out in front of you — about hip-width apart. If you find this uncomfortable, sit on some books, blocks, or pillows, and bend your knees as much as you need.Reach your arms overhead and draw your lower belly in.
Start to tilt forward from your pelvis with a long back instead of rounding over. Your tailbone will start to point further behind you.Once you've reached where you can't fold forward anymore, allow your arms to land wherever they may (preferably in front of you) and your head to soften down.
You're welcome to place blocks or books between your legs and place your forehead on them. Your can even use pillows on your legs to lay over. Use as many as you need to feel comfortable.Coming Out of the PosePlace your hands under your shoulders and roll up very slowly.
Place the soles of your feet on your mat or bed, bring your hands behind you for support, and roll down very slowly.Once you're on your back, make sure nothing is under your head, bring your feet as close to your bottom as you can, press down into your feet, and lift your hips up to open the front of your hips.
Do this for just a few breaths. Come down with your hips being the last to touch your mat or bed.Related:Do This Relaxing Yoga Sequence in Bed, Then Drift Off to SleepTwistTry this pose for a stretch in the glutes and abdominals. Hall also mentions it helps to balance the nervous system, as well as release tension in the spine and muscles around it.
Coming Into the PoseLaying on your back, place the soles of your feet on your mat.Scoot your hips slightly to the right.Engage your lower belly and lower your knees to the left.Draw your thighs up so they are in line with your hips. Torso and thighs should be at 90 degrees, or as far as is comfortable.
Adjust your shins until they are at a 90-degree angle to your thighs.Try to keep your right shoulder on your mat as much as you can. You may need to put something either between or under your knees for support.Open your arms to either side.Gaze up or to the right, whichever feels right in your body at this moment. Placing a block or pillow under your head is also an option.
Come back to the starting position to go to the other side.Coming Out of the PoseDraw your lower belly in and bring your knees back to the starting position.Windshield wiper your knees from right to left if that feels good, or draw your knees to your chest for a quick squeeze.
SavasanaYour last pose in this sequence, Hall says Savasana helps the body to absorb the benefits of your practice, boosting deep relaxation and aiding in sleep.Coming Into the PoseLie on your back with legs long — at least mat-width apart or wider if you have the space. Placing pillows or blocks under your thighs can feel very relaxing and can create space in your lower back.
Place arms by your side away from your body — palms facing up.Take up as much space as you feel you need.Find some length in the back of your neck. If you like to place a pillow or some other kind of support, that may be helpful.Bring your shoulder blades underneath you to open your chest, but with no effort.
Breath naturally. Close eyes and bring your attention inward and connect with your breath. Stay here as long as you need. Read more: POPSUGAR Fitness »
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