A couple weeks ago, I was approached by Casper Sleep to share my favourite bedtime yoga poses. If you aren’t familiar with Casper, it’s an awesome mattress company based in New York City. I personally hadn’t heard of Casper before, but I was hooked as soon as I visited their website. As a company, they’re doing a lot of things right, like offering a great-looking product, free shipping, and awesome branding. They also have a really funny and informative blog that dives into all kinds of different facets of sleep – think eye masks, lucid dreaming, and of course bedtime yoga!
To me, “bedtime yoga” means a few simple, relaxing poses I can do in bed, mostly because a lot of the time I probably forgot to stretch before getting into bed and am now too lazy to get back up. They have to be able to be done comfortably in my (currently) single bed, without any unnecessary equipment, because the equipment would probably be halfway across my apartment, not in the bed where I plan on staying until morning.
All of the following poses can be done while half asleep in your cozy bed, and require only a wall.
Reclining pigeon pose with a wall: Lie on your back with your feet toward the wall. Put your left leg up against the wall, forming a triangle with your leg, the bed and the wall. Place the right foot across your left thigh, with your knee pointing out to the right side. If this is enough of a stretch, stay here and breathe into it. If you’d like more of a stretch, start to slowly bend your left leg with your left foot against the wall. It should look something like this, but with a wall against the left foot. Keep your right foot flexed the whole time to prevent strain on your knee. After a few minutes, switch sides. This is an awesome hip opening pose! Tip: each day, alternate which leg you start with. I always find that after doing the first hip, I have much less patience for the second hip and so I spend less time on it, so alternating helps me stay balanced.
Happy Baby pose: Lie on your back. Grab the outsides of your feet with your hands and spread your knees wider than the width of your torso. Keep your lower back flat on the bed and start to gently pull your feet towards your armpits. Breathe, and hold the pose for a few minutes.
Legs-up-the-wall pose: Sit sideways alongside the wall on your bed, with one of your shoulders touching the wall and your hip as close to the wall as you can manage. Swivel to lie down on your back and stretch your legs up the wall. If you have tight hamstrings, you can start lying down and scoot inwards until you feel a nice stretch in the backs of your legs. Stretch your arms out to the sides or in cactus arms and relax. This pose is very restorative, slows your heart rate and calms your mind. I like to do this one while trying to meditate or practice gratitude. You can watch an awesome video of how to do this pose from yoga guru Kathryn Budig here.
Gentle spinal twist: Lie on your back with both legs stretched out. Bend your left knee into your body, then gently twist so that the left knee goes across your body to the right. Keeping both your shoulders on the mattress, hold your knee in place with your right hand, and turn your head to look over your left shoulder. After a few minutes, switch sides. This pose is very relaxing, and always makes me feel ready to sleep.
I don’t always remember to stretch before bed, or even when I’m in bed, but I love having these poses in my back pocket to stretch out that hip tightness and back pain from sitting all day, and calm and quiet my mind before I doze off.Please note: this is not a sponsored post and it contains no affiliate links. All opinions are, as always, my own. Also, as I’m not a yoga teacher yet all of the above is a distillation of all the yoga classes I’ve taken and what I’ve learned myself in books or online. Be gentle, and make sure to ask your own yoga teacher if you have any trouble or pain!