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Relax and Unwind: The Best Stretches to Do Before Bed. Advice from Instructors

As yoga instructors, we understand the importance of winding down and preparing our bodies for a restful night's sleep. That's why we want to share with you the best stretches to do before bed. These gentle and soothing postures will help you release tension, promote relaxation, and prepare your body and mind for a night of deep sleep. So, let's dive in and explore these bedtime stretches.

Child's Pose (Balasana)

What is it? Child's Pose is a calming and grounding posture where you kneel on the floor, sit back on your heels, and fold your torso forward, resting your forehead on the mat or a pillow.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the lower back, hips, and thighs.
  • Relieves tension in the back, shoulders, and neck.
  • Calms the nervous system and promotes relaxation.
  • Encourages deep breathing, aiding in stress relief.

Hold: 1-3 minutes

Modification: To make it more challenging, you can bring your knees wider apart or extend your arms forward. To make it less challenging, you can place a bolster or folded blanket under your torso for support.

Common Mistakes to Avoid: Avoid sinking into the shoulders or rounding the spine excessively. Keep the hips resting on the heels and find a comfortable position for your forehead.

Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

What is it? Standing Forward Fold is a gentle forward bending posture where you stand with your feet hip-width apart, hinge at the hips, and fold your upper body forward, reaching towards your feet or resting your hands on the shins or blocks.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips.
  • Relieves tension in the back and neck.
  • Calms the mind and releases stress and anxiety.
  • Improves digestion and blood circulation.

Hold: 1-2 minutes

Modification: To make it more challenging, you can interlace your fingers behind your back and lift your arms overhead. To make it less challenging, you can bend your knees slightly or use props, such as blocks, to bring the ground closer.

Common Mistakes to Avoid: Avoid rounding the spine too much or locking the knees. Keep a slight bend in the knees if needed, and focus on lengthening the spine and relaxing the neck.

 

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Supine Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

What is it? Supine Twist is a gentle spinal twist where you lie on your back, bend your knees, and drop them to one side while keeping your upper body grounded.

Benefits:

  • Releases tension in the back, hips, and shoulders.
  • Stretches the spine, chest, and shoulders.
  • Massages the internal organs and aids digestion.
  • Promotes relaxation and calms the nervous system.

Hold: 1-2 minutes per side

Modification: To make it more challenging, you can extend the top leg straight or place a block between your knees. To make it less challenging, you can place a bolster or folded blanket under your knees for support.

Common Mistakes to Avoid: Avoid forcing the twist and straining the neck or shoulders. Allow the twist to come from the core and keep the shoulders relaxed.

Legs-Up-The-Wall (Viparita Karani)

What is it? Legs-Up-The-Wall is a restorative inversion where you lie on your back and extend your legs vertically up against a wall or a supported surface.

Benefits:

  • Relieves tired and swollen legs.
  • Improves circulation and lymphatic drainage.
  • Calms the nervous system and reduces anxiety.
  • Helps alleviate lower back pain and promotes relaxation.

Hold: 5-15 minutes

Modification: To make it more challenging, you can add a slight shoulder or chest opening by placing a rolled-up blanket or bolster under your upper back. To make it less challenging, you can place a folded blanket or bolster under your hips for support.

Common Mistakes to Avoid: Avoid tensing the legs or straining the neck. Allow the weight of your legs to be supported by the wall, and relax your whole body.


These are just a few of the best stretches to do before bed. Remember, it's essential to listen to your body and find what works best for you. As with any exercise or yoga practice, consult with your healthcare provider if you have any specific medical conditions or concerns.

Sources:

  1. Yoga Journal: https://www.yogajournal.com/
  2. Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/

We hope these stretches help you create a calming bedtime routine and improve the quality of your sleep. Remember to breathe deeply, stay present, and let go of the day's stresses. Wishing you peaceful nights and rejuvenating rest.

If you have any more questions or need further guidance, feel free to reach out. Sleep well and namaste!

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