Sleep is objectively good. So why are more than one-third of Americans not getting enough of it? Residual anxiety and stress from the day (or the dread of more to come tomorrow) can keep us awake and ruminating into the wee hours of the night. And the next morning (when we’ve become the Walking Dead), we’re less productive, more irritable, and more stressed out. It can quickly become a vicious cycle, taking a toll on our physical and mental health.
So how do you get some good shut-eye when your mind just won’t shut off?
For Strala Yoga founder Tara Stiles, moving through a few slow, simple poses helps her detach from the day’s chaos and focus on the body and breath. “We’re busy all day with computers and screens, right up to the last minute, so it’s a great way to come back to your breath and your body.”
Her bedtime yoga sequence includes four easy poses you can do from your bed (we’re not kidding!), designed to help drop tension in the lower back and hips. And while your weekly studio classes probably encourage you to focus on form, Stiles’s flow is all about getting your body to a place that feels most comfortable to you.
Get comfy: The more you enjoy your flow, the more likely you are to stick with it. Swap out leggings for your favorite PJ pants (we won’t judge) and throw an extra thick blanket on the bed to really ramp up the fuzz-factor. Do these poses in order, holding the pose on each side for 30 seconds, or however long feels right for your body.
1. Seated Meditation
Sit with your back straight and your legs out in front of you. Bend your knees inward, placing each foot underneath the opposite knee. Sit tall to create length in your torso, placing your hands on your knees with palms facing down. Close your eyes and breathe into your belly.
2. Seated Side Stretch
Extend both legs in front of you, wide. Fold your right leg at the knee, and bring your foot toward your groin. Bring your left arm to touch the bed, so that it’s parallel to your left leg, with your palm facing up. Reach up with your right arm to open up the right side of your body. Repeat on the left side.
Start in tabletop position, placing your hands and knees flat on the bed, hips-width apart. Bring your right knee between your hands, and inch your right foot closer to your left hand. Extend your left leg fully behind you so that your left knee and foot are touching the bed. Try to square your hips, and lift up through your torso to lengthen and stretch.
4. Lying Down Twist
Lie on your back with your arms extended outward. Bend your knees and bring your feet to your hips. Slowly twist your legs and hips to the right side, so that your right knee is touching the bed. Place your right hand gently on your left knee to stretch and open up your left side. Repeat on the opposite side.