Bedtime Stretches Sometimes after a long day at work or being on the go, we feel stiff and tight at night before sleeping. Or maybe our mind is racing and we just can’t fall asleep. How many of us experience this? Well, say ‘Goodbye’ to those sleeping pills or sleepless nights of tossing and turning by practicing some bedtime yoga stretches to stabilize the body and the mind. Let us take a look at some simple, yet effective stretches that we can do for a good night sleep. 1. Full back stretch • Begin in Sukhasana. • Relax your spine and head. Breathe normally. • Interlock your fingers in front of you and as you inhale slowly stretch your arms up above your head. • While exhaling slowly bend forward placing your hands comfortably on the floor in front of you. Take a couple of breaths here and relax your back entirely. • As you get more comfortable bring your elbows down to the floor and slowly grab the opposite elbows with your hands. • Inhale and as you exhale place your head down giving a nice stretch to the spine and relaxing your mind. You can keep your eyes closed and take three breaths here. • Inhale and raise your body up and as you exhale, relax your whole body from head to toe. 2. Sleeping Goddess Stretch Settle yourself into a resting position through this asana, which will make you fall asleep like a goddess at night, hence the sleeping goddess stretch. • From Sukhasana, unfold your legs and make the soles of your feet touch almost like the butterfly pose, but here we will keep our feet further away from our body. • Exhale and lie down on the back making sure your heels are touching while lying down on the floor. This stretch will open up your hips and relax your back. • Stay in this position for 6-8 breaths. • Inhale and as you exhale release your legs straight onto the floor. 3. Full Leg Stretch Next we will do some leg stretches while we are on our backs. a. Supta Padangustasana • Inhale and lift your right leg straight up into the air without bending your knee. You can hold your thighs with your hands for support. Here we can flex our feet up and down and feel a stretch in the entire leg. For a deeper stretch, grab the right big toe with you right hand and try to straighten the leg and experience a good hamstring stretch. • Take a deep breath in and as you exhale pull your leg closer to your body as much as you can without bending the knee. Stay in this position for 6-8 breaths. • Slowly bend your knee and hug your leg tight in your arms. Hold for 2 breaths. • Repeat the same with the other leg. b. Figure four stretch. • Bend the left knee and place the foot close to your hips while placing the right foot on the left thigh. • Support your left leg by your hands and lift the left leg off the ground bringing the legs closer to your body. In this way we stretch our hips and glutes. Stay here for 6-8 breaths. • Release the right leg first then the left leg back onto the ground. • Repeat on the left side. 4. Happy Baby Pose This is a really simple and joyful pose that any one can do at anytime. • Still lying on your back, with an exhalation bend your knees and bring them into your belly. • Inhale, grip the outside of your feet with your hands. Separate the knees slightly wider than the torso. • Make sure that the ankles are directly over the knees so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. • Push your feet into your hands as you pull your hands towards you. • Enjoy this stretch and relax in this position for 10 breaths. • If you want you can gently rock back and forth, side to side on your back. Then come back to the center. • Slowly take a deep breath in and out and relax your body, going into Shavasana. You can do this corpse pose in your bed and slowly fall asleep while you relax your whole body head to toe. Let these relaxing poses take the load off and calm your mind for a good night sleep. It doesn’t matter what type of day you have had, practicing these bedtime stretches will ensure that you get the sleep you need each night. So let’s make the effort and take out only 10 minutes everyday to practice bedtime yoga and experience its various benefits!