stephanie mansourpresenter of “Step It Up With Steph” on PBSa health and wellness journalist and weight loss consultant and coach for women, designed a five-minute yoga routine to help you sleep better each night.
The regular practice of yoga, according to the National Sleep Foundationhelps people with insomnia sleep longer, faster, and get back to sleep more quickly in the middle of the night.
Above that, stretching the large muscles in the lower body, such as the hamstrings and hips that may be causing pain, is one of the goals of this yoga practice.
While doing this routine, take a deep breath in and out through your nose, as slower breathing helps your body rest and digest, as well as your central nervous system.
Breathe in slowly through your nose as you fill your stomach with air, and then exhale slowly as your stomach deflates. In each yoga posture, focus on your breath and the sensations you feel in your body.
Reclined Big Toe Pose
This pose stretches the hamstrings, hips, and calves in a relaxing and calming way due to the reclined position.
Lie on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you. Then bring your right knee in toward your chest and place your hands behind your right thigh. Stretch your right leg toward the ceiling. If you feel a stretch in your hamstring, stay there. If not, bring your hands up to your calf.
For an even deeper stretch, reach your right hand toward your right foot and grasp your right big toe with your thumb, index, and middle fingers.
Flex your foot and feel the stretch behind the back of your leg. Relax the shoulder of your right arm and make sure your lower back stays on the bed. Hold three breaths and then the other side.
This pose is especially helpful for loosening up those hip flexors that get tight from sitting at a desk or in cramped positions all day.
Step your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Keep your right knee bent above your right ankle. If you are more flexible, you can step your right foot a little further to the right and open your foot to that side. Place your hands on the inside of your right foot and keep them there.
For a deeper stretch, you can prop yourself up on your forearms or a pillow. Relax your shoulders and feel the stretch in the front of your left hip. Hold for three breaths and repeat on the other side.
closed angle posture
Release tension with this pose that helps stretch and relax your inner thighs, groin, and hips.
Sit up straight and bring the soles of your feet together. I spread my knees wide. Place your hands on your ankles and sit up straight. Take a deep breath in and exhale as you bend forward. Relax your shoulders and feel the stretch on the inside of your legs. Stay like this for five breaths.
This pose really isolates the muscles in your hips and ultimately softens tightness, making you feel lighter and more relaxed.
Using your hands and knees, bring your right knee forward and align your right shin so it’s parallel or nearly parallel to the foot of the bed. Stretch your left leg behind you.
Move your hands forward in front of your right shin. Hold there or, if you want to deepen the stretch, reach further forward with your hands and allow your chest to bend forward over your right shin. Hold for five breaths and then repeat on the left side.
legs up the wall
This pose helps recirculate blood flow in your feet and legs and calms the nervous system.
Lie on your back so that your feet are toward the head of the bed. Move your tail as close to the headboard as possible (if it rests on pillows at the head of the bed, that’s fine!).