Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...
Tonight, when it’s time for bed but you just don’t feel like it yet, follow this relaxing, seven-minute yoga flow sequence to get you in the mood to catch some deep, quality sleep. You might want a pillow nearby in case you decide to sleep right where you are!
I recommend setting the mood by dimming the lights, playing some soft relaxing music, removing your shoes, and dressing comfortably. This flow can be done on a yoga mat or right in bed for even more comfort and in case you fall asleep in the last pose.
Stay in each pose for at least five slow deep breaths (approximately 30 seconds), then gently transition to the next restful pose.
Seated Breathing Exercise | 5 slow deep breaths
Sit in a comfortable position (however you feel most at ease).
Place both hands on your belly, close your eyes, and sit up tall with good posture.
Take a deep breath in through your nose to fill your lungs completely.
Allow the air to seep out effortlessly through your nose as you feel your body melt into relaxation.
Continue deep slow and full breaths.
Seated Side Reach | 10 breaths (5 per side)
In that same seated position, place your right fingertips down on the ground to your side.
Reach your left arm up and over your head as you lean slightly to the right.
Take a deep breath and switch to the other side.
Continue alternating sides for 10 breaths.
Child’s Pose | 5 breaths
Get in an all-fours position, then sit back on your hips.
Touch your feet together and widen your knees as much as you comfortably can.
Walk your hands out in front of you and rest your forehead on the mat.
Lengthen your spine and extend your arms straight all the way.
Relax in this pose for five deep breaths.
Cat Pose | 5 breaths
Lift back up into an all-fours position and allow your feet to separate to the same width as your knees.
Press your palms down into the ground as you round your spine and tuck your chin.
Feel the stretch in your upper back and hold the pose for five deep breaths.
Cow Pose | 5 breaths
Arch your back and lift your chin to come into cow pose.
Press your shoulders back and down and lift your tail bone up.
Hold this pose for five deep breaths.
Down Dog | 5 breaths
Tuck your toes under and lift up into a downward dog.
Straighten your spine and allow your neck to relax.
Don’t worry about pressing your heels down, stretching your shoulders or straightening your knees fully—just enjoy the inversion.
Get comfortable and take five deep breaths.
Resting Pigeon Pose | 5 breaths per side
Lift one knee up underneath your chest and lay your foot down underneath your belly.
Fold forward and rest your head on your forearms.
Get comfortable and begin breathing deeply.
After five breaths on one side, lift back up to downward dog.
Transition to the other side and hold for five deep breaths.
Gentle Seated Forward Fold | 5 breaths
Sweep your legs around to the front of your mat and straighten your knees.
Flex your feet so your toes are pointing up towards the ceiling.
Hinge at the hips and reach forward to touch your shins.
Do not worry about reaching as far as you can or feeling an intense stretch—let the stretch sensation be mild and comfortable.
Close your eyes and take five deep breaths.
Lying Figure 4 Twist | 10 breaths (5 per side)
Lie down on your back and plant your feet on the floor.
Cross your right ankle over your left knee to form a figure 4 shape.
Tilt your hips to the right until your right knee reaches the ground (or close to it).
Use your palms down on the ground to help with balance and keeping your shoulders grounded.
Begin your deep breaths and hold for five breaths on this side.
Lift back up to center, cross your legs in the other direction and twist to the other side.
Hold for five deep breaths on the left.
Lying Knee Hug | 5 breaths
Stay on your back, and bring both knees in towards your chest.
Hug your knees gently with both arms and rest your head on the ground.
Feel a slight compression in your hips, but allow it to be restful.
Hold this for five deep breaths, then release.
Savasana | 5 breaths (or until you drift off to sleep)
Release your legs back to the ground and let your feet fall to the sides.
Adjust your position until you feel comfortable.
Rest your hands by your sides with palms facing up.
Tilt your chin up just slightly for easy breathing.
Begin your deep breaths. Stay as long as you like, or until you fall asleep.
Practice this seven-minute pre-bed flow as often as you need it. It’s gentle enough to be done nightly.
Share this with a friend or anyone else you know who is struggling to find good restful sleep.
Thanks again to Jessica Gouthro for today’s ideas. I’d love to hear if you’ll be trying this flow for yourself or if you have another nightly practice that’s worked for you. Have a great end to the week, everybody.