I love to sleep. My life encourages me to burn bright most of the time, so I fully embrace rest whenever I can take it. Though sleep isn't the only good thing your bed is for — you can do yoga in bed, too. Performing a few basic exercises before you power down may lead to a better night's sleep.
There's one caveat to keep in mind for bedtime yoga: you need a firm mattress. I’ve been nesting in the same bed for the past eight years and knew my sweet little cloud was getting a bit soggy. I did some research and ended up going with an organic Essentia mattress which is made out of natural memory foam. I’ve been sleeping like a baby, waking up refreshed and my new mattress is firm, which makes it perfect for nighttime yoga poses!
I’ve compiled my favorite bedtime postures to help you unwind, or for those days when you hit the bed only to realize you wish you had done some yoga. It’s never too late! Use these sweet poses to slip you into sweet slumber:
Photo courtesy of the author
1. Spinal Twist
Lie down on top of the covers and hug your right knee into your chest. Take a few breaths, giving it a good squeeze and then drop it over to the left. Place your left hand on the outside of your right thigh and give it gentle downward pressure. Melt your right shoulder down towards the bed. Take eight slow breaths and then switch legs.
2. Pillow Forward Fold
Grab one large pillow (or two smaller ones). Sit up with your legs extended in front of you. Layer your pillows on top of your legs. Inhale and create length in your spine. As you exhale, keep gently folding over your pillows and wrap your arms around them lovingly. (You can always add more pillows as needed.) Hold here for eight breaths or up to several minutes.
3. Legs Up The Wall
Scoot your body up sideways against a wall or the headboard of your bed. Swing your legs up the wall as you pivot and lie your torso down onto the bed (you can slide a smaller pillow under your lower back for additional support). Relax your arms next to your body or rest your hands on your belly. Close your eyes and practice relaxed breathing for one to five minutes. Invite relaxation and sleepiness into your body. To get out, bend both of your knees and pivot them to one side. Press down into the bed to sit back up.
4. Seated Meditation
Prop a few large pillows behind you or sit up against the wall or headboard. Bring your legs into a comfortable cross-legged position and cup your palms in your lap. Close your eyes and find even inhales and exhales. As you inhale, think to yourself I am calm. As you exhale, think to yourself I invite peaceful rest. Sit here for as long as you like.
I recommend keeping your eyes closed after meditation and gently slip yourself under the sheets. Prop your favorite pillow under your head, but stay on your back in a classic savasana position. You can tuck your arms under or over the sheets. Stay here on your back and absorb the goodness of the prior poses. There’s a good chance you’ll fall asleep in this position, or roll to your side when you’re ready.