You're already in bed and there's nothing you want more than a deep sleep, but you know that today you haven’t gotten in any exercise to help you maintain your body and mood, and you probably aren’t going to. It’s likely that you’ve often had such thoughts and were sure that there is no solution to the problem, but it turns out that this isn’t true.
Just before you turn off the lights and try to sleep, we have great news for you! Nutritionist and yoga teacher Liel Cheri has a series of great yoga exercises that can be done in bed before bedtime, and they’ll help you relax, do some fitness and improve your health and appearance! We have prepared a detailed guide for 5 of these exercises that’ll make you sleep well and feel great.
1. The child's pose
The child's pose is a wonderful way to start with stretching your whole back and releasing the waist. Use deep breaths to relax and connect to the regular posture in the exercise to get yourself into the right mood.
- Start with sitting on your knees - bring your feet together and your knees apart.
- Move your hands away and continue to stretch your buttocks toward your heels, as shown above.
- Place your head down on the mattress and close your eyes.
- Relax the muscles of the jaw and face, and draw deep breaths through the nose.
- Stay in this position for a few minutes.
2. Cow and cat pose
The next exercise consists of two positions that we move between while we imagine the concave stance of a cow and the convex stance of a cat. The exercise is great for those who have back pain and it can also help reduce stress.
- Start in the tabletop pose, shoulders above palms, waist above knees, and back straight.
- Take a breath, let your stomach fall, and curve your back. Turn your head and eyes upward to the cow position, as illustrated in the image above.
- After about a minute, suck your stomach in, arch your back outwards and bring your gaze toward your navel to the position of a cat, as illustrated in the image above.
- Alternate between the poses 5 times each while deeply inhaling and exhaling.
3. Downward facing dog
Downward facing dog lengthens and relaxes the spine, helps breathing and opens the chest. The posture strengthens the muscles of the lower back and provides the necessary release to enter sleep.
- From the last step of the previous exercise (cow and cat pose), fold your toes inward and lift your buttocks upwards, placing your palms and feet on the mattress.
- Put your head between your arms and look at your stomach, as shown in the image above.
- Bend one leg while deepening the tread of the heel on the other leg as in a stepping motion)
- Switch between the legs, and bend the other leg as well.
- Repeat the exercise several times.
- To increase the traction, lift one leg toward the ceiling while maintaining a stable, upright second leg, head down, and palms supported by the mattress.
- Repeat the lift with the other leg and try to stay in position for a few minutes.
4. Pigeon Pose
The pigeon pose is called this because during the exercise we fill our chest, just as the pigeon does. The pose is good for stability, back strengthening, and hip joints.
- Sit on the mattress with one straight leg stretched back, and your other leg bent with a heel close to the groin, or a little more forward – whatever is comfortable for you. (You can enter this position from the downward facing dog pose.)
- Place your foot in a flex position and balance the weight at the waist evenly with the palms placed on the mattress.
- Inhale, fill the chest with the air and lift it, using your palms, as Liel demonstrates in the picture above.
- Exhale and send your arm back toward the heel, placing your hand on your right calf and turning your head toward the shoulder of the outstretched arm as seen above.
- Return to the starting position, refill your chest and lift it.
- Bend your arms forward, lean them on the mattress, and lower your back to them, as can be seen in the picture above.
- You may feel that the pose is difficult for you – don’t push yourself past your endurance limit, and make sure that you’re mostly feeling tension rather than pain.
- If you can challenge your body more, reach your hands straight forward making your chin come into contact with the mat - for a deeper stretch.
- After a few minutes, lift your back to the starting position.
- Perform the exercise on the other side as well – switching the bent leg.
- If you continue to the next position, do the two poses (4 + 5) one by one, on one side of the body and then do them both on the other side of the body.
5. Mermaid Pose
The Mermaid pose should continue from the point at which you stopped the previous exercise. Because the position may be challenging for beginners, it is recommended to use a rubber exercise band with a loop, which will allow you to get a good stretch, when you first start practicing this pose.
- From the final position of the previous exercise, lift the straight leg from the mattress and bring it to your bottom.
- You can use your hand, or a band, around the arch of the foot, so that you can pull it with your hand, as Liel demonstrates in the picture above.
- Observe the stretch in the quadriceps, and try to bring the foot into the inside of your elbow (this stage is suitable for someone who can perform the stretch without the help of a band).
- Send the other hand up, bend it and join both hands behind the neck, as shown above.
- Close your eyes, concentrate on your breath, and stay in position for a minute to several minutes.
- Repeat the exercise with the other leg.
image source: Liel Cheri Yoga & Wellness/Youtub