Yoga is a great relaxation tool for people of all ages and physical ability. Remember to always go to your own body’s ability and never push beyond your comfort zone. Yoga should be comfortable with mild stretching but never reach the area of pain.
Try these poses before, they can even be done in bed! Put on some relaxing music of your choice and maybe spray or diffuse some soothing tension relieving essential oils such as lavender.
The first pose to try is called the pigeon pose. This pose will help to open up the hips and help with restful sleep.
Step by Step:
-Start from all fours, bring your right knee forward and place it more or less behind your right hand. Place your ankle somewhere in front of your left hip. The more your lower leg is parallel with the front of the mat, the more intense the hip opener.
-Slide your left leg back, straighten the knee and point the toes. Make sure your leg is behind your body and not drawing outwards.
-Draw your legs in towards eachother to help keep your hips square.
-Gently lower yourself down and use some support under your right buttock if needed, to keep your hips level.
-On an inhale lift your upper body, come on your fingertips, hands shoulder width apart, draw your navel in, tailbone down and open your chest.
-On an exhale walk your hands forward on the fingertips and lower your upper body to the floor. You can rest your forehead on the ground.
-Stay here for 5-10 slow breaths and on every exhale try to release the tension in your right hip.
-Balance your weight on both legs.
Ankle To Knee Pose
Ankle To Knee or Double Pigeon Pose is an intense hip opener with several benefits:
-Stretches and opens the hips
-Stretches the groins
-Relieves anxiety, tension and stress
Step By Step:
-Sit on your mat with your knees bent in front of you, feet flat on the floor and palms pressing into the earth behind you.
-Lean back in to your hands, releasing your shoulders down your back. Cross your right ankle over your left knee, until you make a figure four shape with your legs. Keep your right foot flexed and draw your right knee away from you until you feel a stretch in your right hip.
-Wiggle or heel-toe your left foot towards the right. Walk your hands slightly forward, so that you have enough room to sit up straight and stack your legs.
-Line up the ankle or side of your right foot over your left knee, and your right knee over your left ankle, or side of the foot. Try to make your shins parallel to each other, with the right stacked directly over the left.
-Breathe here, or walk your hands forwards and recline forwards. Hold for 1 minute or more, and then uncross your legs to come out of the pose. Repeat on the opposite side.
Lying twist offers the opportunity to feel the power of wringing out the body from its core. It can improve breathing, ease neck and back tension, and soothe those frazzled nerves!
Step By Step:
-To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet comfortably on the floor. If your neck and shoulders feel tense, or if your chin juts upward toward the sky instead of settling comfortably toward your chest, elevate your head a few inches with a folded blanket or pillow.
-Take a few moments to make sure the back body is long. Roll gently toward your left side and slip your right shoulder blade down toward the hips to create additional space between the ear and shoulder. Repeat this action on the other side.
-To relax the lower back, lift the hips off the ground and gently draw the tailbone toward the heels. Maintain this length as you set the pelvis back down. Let a few soft breaths ripple through your body as you surrender to gravity’s embrace.
-Consider the sensations in your back body. If you notice that you are at all kinked up or wrinkled, adjust your position until you feel as if you are resting atop a well-made bed rather than a tired and lumpy mattress.
-Invite the skin of the back body to spread and soften, settling with ease and relief into the earth. Try to let go as you rest quietly, breathing comfortably and drawing your awareness inward.
Hopefully this will help you calm those late night nerves and put yourself into a relaxation state for better sleep.