7 Yoga Poses to Do in Bed for Enhanced Relaxation and Better Sleep

7 Yoga Poses to Do in Bed for Enhanced Relaxation and Better Sleep

When it comes to sticking to an appropriate bedtime, sometimes our brains and bodies just don’t want to cooperate.

Instead of just lying there trying to count sheep (or worse—checking your phone!), why not take advantage of the situation by performing a few restorative poses right in your bed to help relax and prepare you for sleep?

Here are seven restorative poses to try in bed for better sleep.

 

Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

This hip-opening pose helps to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate, decreasing tension both in the mind and the body. You can place your arms by your side with palms up, reach your arms above your head to grab opposite elbows, or alternatively rest your hands on your belly to feel the rise and fall with your breath.

Video: How to do reclined bound angle pose

 

Reclined Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

After a long and busy day, the back could use a good stretch to relieve built up tension. Reclined spinal twist stretches and relaxes the spine while lending a hand to digestive health by giving the abdominal muscles a soothing massage.

Video: How to do reclined spinal twist

 

Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

One of the big perks of doing seated forward bend in bed is that you can place a couple pillows over your legs and fold over them for an extra soothing and cozy stretch! This pose stretches the spine, hamstrings, and shoulders while stimulating important organs like the kidneys and liver.

Video: How to do seated forward bend

 

Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)

Wide angle seated forward is known to have a calming effect on the brain as it stretches the insides and backs of the legs, releases tension in the groin, and strengthens the spine. Remember to keep the knee caps pointed toward the ceiling as you fold forward and consider rolling up your bedsheets to support your knees if you need to.

Video: How to do wide-angle seated forward bend

 

Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

Even if there’s no wall on either side of your bed, you can still put your legs up the headboard to get into this pose. It induces relaxation by stimulating venous drainage, improving circulation, and soothing swollen or cramped legs and feet from standing, walking, or sitting all day.

Video: How to do legs up the wall

 

Thread the Needle Pose (Sucirandhrasana)

Threat the needle pose helps to release tension that builds up in the upper back and shoulders while stretching and opening the chest, arms, neck, upper back and shoulders. Doing this pose in bed will be easier on your knees and you can optionally place a pillow underneath your torso to keep yourself more upright.

Video: How to do thread the needle pose

 

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Of course corpse pose had to make the list. It’s the ultimate surrendering pose and arguably the hardest one of them all. If you can learn to allow your mind and body to let go of stress and tension as much as possible in this pose, however, you’ll ultimately feel more relaxed, calm, and ready for a good night’s sleep.

Video: How to do corpse pose


3 Ways to Harness the Power of Yoga to Balance Food Cravings

3 Ways to Harness the Power of Yoga to Balance Food Cravings

Everyone knows what it’s like to crave something yummy without actually feeling hungry for it. Whether it’s sweet and decadent or salty and crunchy, sometimes our cravings cause us to lose our grip on our self-control and indulge in those guilty pleasures.

Food cravings are especially difficult to keep under control during the holiday season when baked goods, alcoholic beverages, and heavy comfort foods are abundant. Combine that with the stress of having to get all the holiday shopping, event planning, decorating, entertaining, and other tasks done in a matter of weeks and you’ve potentially got a high-sugar, high-fat recipe for disaster (no pun intended).

Believe it or not, yoga can help. Some research has shown that mindfulness-based interventions like yoga can help to enhance treatment, prevention, and recovery of addictions. And yes, that includes those food cravings that make us feel like we're practically addicted to eating.

So next time you find yourself pining for a bag or chips or an extra large piece of chocolate cake, look toward your practice. Here are three ways you can tweak your yoga practice to help you get through the holidays without packing on too much extra weight.

 

Practice Yoga to Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety and stress cause us to reach for tempting foods in hopes that they’ll soothe (or at least dull) our emotions. They may work temporarily as a distraction, but you\re likely to end up feeling worse than before.

As a preventative strategy, you can target anxiety and stress imbalances by integrating yoga sequences into your practice designed to help you wring out negative energy from the body and mind. Think restorative poses like forward folds and empowering poses like the warrior poses.

 

Breathe to Mindfully Observe Your Cravings

In yoga, we move our bodies to the rhythm of our breath, but conscious breathing alone increases awareness. Sitting in easy pose while focusing on your breath may be all that you need to become aware of where your cravings are really coming from.

If you’re interested in trying other forms of pranayama, nadi shodana (alternate nostril breathing), is a powerful breathing technique worth trying. It’s thought that this breathing technique helps to restore balance between the two hemispheres of the brain to promote greater physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

 

Meditate to Focus on the Foods You Desire

You’d think that to avoid giving into cravings, doing your best to ignore and avoid temptation would be the key to success. Interestingly, a study suggests that the opposite may be true.

When study subjects consciously imagined food first before given the opportunity to indulge, their food cravings were curbed and they indulged in smaller amounts compared to subjects who were asked to imagine scenarios unrelated to food. This suggests that using mindfulness meditation to focus on tempting foods before actually eating them may actually help you want less, so you can eat less.

 

While we always encourage our readers to do their best at seeking to balance their indulgent food choices with moderation, we understand that many could use a little extra help around this time of year. For this reason, Yogi Surprise members will be receiving their very own copy of Sugar Detox: Three Weeks to Healthier, Happier, More Balanced Life by Filippa Salomonsson in their December Lifestyle boxes to help them star the New Year off right.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


5 Stress Relieving Yoga Poses to Relax Your Mind and Body

5 Stress Relieving Yoga Poses to Relax Your Mind and Body

Worried? Tense? Or just plain old stressed out?

We’ve all been there. December is an especially stressful month for many yogis—especially since most of us finding ourselves trying to balance our healthy lifestyle habits like healthy eating and fitting our practice into the day with seasonal tasks like shopping, decorating, cooking.baking, entertaining, and attending special events.

Next time you step onto your mat for your yoga practice, or anytime you just need a quick stress reliever, try the following poses.

 

Low Lunge Pose (Anjanayasana)

We carry a lot of emotional stuff in our hips, which is why some yogis experience emotional release (sometimes even through tears) when they work on opening their hips. Low lunge pose is great for targeting not only the hips but also the quadriceps, groin, and hamstrings to promote full range of motion in the lower body.

 

Photo via Daku Resort Savusavu Fiji

 

If you want to get into a deeper stretch from this pose, you can reach back and grab your foot to pull the heel as close to your glute as you can. Try extending the other arm upward to challenge your balance.

 

Extended triangle pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

Extended triangle pose offers a full-body stretch that is well known for relieving stress, anxiety and in some instances physical pain too. In addition to stretching the hips, groin, hamstrings, calves and spine, this pose also opens your chest while strengthening your legs, feet, ankles, back, and abdominal muscles.

 

Photo via Tom Britt

 

If you experience neck pain or discomfort in this pose, you can easily turn your gaze to face downward while focusing on relaxing your neck. If that goes well, you can gently shit your head so that that you’re gazing forward.

 

Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana) with Eagle Arms

Although it can be an intense seated pose, cow face pose is known to help induce relaxation by releasing tension. The hips, thighs and shoulders will be stretched while the squeezing of the eagle arms will help to stimulate blood flow for for improved book circulation.

 

Photo via Daku Resort Savusavu Fiji

 

Hint: Full eagle pose (garudasana) is another well known stress reliever, so you may want to try that one as well. Because it involves balancing on one leg while the other is crossed over it, you’re forced to focus on a single point to keep your balance, which is a big component of the pose that makes it effective for stress reduction.

 

Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

For a soothing, restorative effect on both the mind and body, look no further than legs up the wall. This one is ideal for those who aren’t in it for flexibility or strength and helps to reduce stress by renewing blood and lymph drainage back toward the heart space.

 

Photo via kellinahandbasket

 

You can do this one up against any wall, but many yogis love to do it in their beds for a cozier feeling. Combine it with controlled breathing to help lower the heart rate and enhance relaxation.

 

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Good old child’s pose. How can you go wrong? A true resting pose, placing your third eye down on your mat or the floor is instantly calling for the mind. It also soothes the adrenals, opens the hips, improves digestion, and stretches the back.

 

Photo via Daku Resort Savusavu Fiji

 

Hold child’s pose for as long as you want while taking slow, deep breaths. A few minutes later, you’ll feel less stressed and more rejuvenated so that you can continue taking on the day’s tasks with confidence and purpose!