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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...

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July 19 2018

7-Minute Pre-Bed Yoga Flow

By Guest
12 Comments

Today’s awesome post is offered up by Jessica Gouthro of PaleoHacks.com. Enjoy, everyone!

If you feel restless at night, try this seven-minute pre-bed yoga flow to help you drift right to sleep.

We get it: Even though you try to go to bed at a certain time, you’d rather stay up and watch TV. Then, you wake up feeling tired.

Sleep deprivation can cause all sorts of trouble aside from just morning grogginess. When your body doesn’t get enough z’s, you’re at risk for ailments like brain fog, hormone imbalance and irritability.

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

  1. Sit in a comfortable position (however you feel most at ease).
  2. Place both hands on your belly, close your eyes, and sit up tall with good posture.
  3. Take a deep breath in through your nose to fill your lungs completely.
  4. Allow the air to seep out effortlessly through your nose as you feel your body melt into relaxation.
  5. Continue deep slow and full breaths.

Seated Side Reach | 10 breaths (5 per side)

  1. In that same seated position, place your right fingertips down on the ground to your side.
  2. Reach your left arm up and over your head as you lean slightly to the right.
  3. Take a deep breath and switch to the other side.
  4. Continue alternating sides for 10 breaths.

Child’s Pose | 5 breaths

  1. Get in an all-fours position, then sit back on your hips.
  2. Touch your feet together and widen your knees as much as you comfortably can.
  3. Walk your hands out in front of you and rest your forehead on the mat.
  4. Lengthen your spine and extend your arms straight all the way.
  5. Relax in this pose for five deep breaths.

Cat Pose | 5 breaths

  1. Lift back up into an all-fours position and allow your feet to separate to the same width as your knees.
  2. Press your palms down into the ground as you round your spine and tuck your chin.
  3. Feel the stretch in your upper back and hold the pose for five deep breaths.

Cow Pose | 5 breaths

  1. Arch your back and lift your chin to come into cow pose.
  2. Press your shoulders back and down and lift your tail bone up.
  3. Hold this pose for five deep breaths.

Down Dog | 5 breaths

  1. Tuck your toes under and lift up into a downward dog.
  2. Straighten your spine and allow your neck to relax.
  3. Don’t worry about pressing your heels down, stretching your shoulders or straightening your knees fully—just enjoy the inversion.
  4. Get comfortable and take five deep breaths.

Resting Pigeon Pose | 5 breaths per side

  1. Lift one knee up underneath your chest and lay your foot down underneath your belly.
  2. Fold forward and rest your head on your forearms.
  3. Get comfortable and begin breathing deeply.
  4. After five breaths on one side, lift back up to downward dog.
  5. Transition to the other side and hold for five deep breaths.

Gentle Seated Forward Fold | 5 breaths

  1. Sweep your legs around to the front of your mat and straighten your knees.
  2. Flex your feet so your toes are pointing up towards the ceiling.
  3. Hinge at the hips and reach forward to touch your shins.
  4. Do not worry about reaching as far as you can or feeling an intense stretch—let the stretch sensation be mild and comfortable.
  5. Close your eyes and take five deep breaths.

Lying Figure 4 Twist | 10 breaths (5 per side)

  1. Lie down on your back and plant your feet on the floor.
  2. Cross your right ankle over your left knee to form a figure 4 shape.
  3. Tilt your hips to the right until your right knee reaches the ground (or close to it).
  4. Use your palms down on the ground to help with balance and keeping your shoulders grounded.
  5. Begin your deep breaths and hold for five breaths on this side.
  6. Lift back up to center, cross your legs in the other direction and twist to the other side.
  7. Hold for five deep breaths on the left.

Lying Knee Hug | 5 breaths

  1. Stay on your back, and bring both knees in towards your chest.
  2. Hug your knees gently with both arms and rest your head on the ground.
  3. Feel a slight compression in your hips, but allow it to be restful.
  4. Hold this for five deep breaths, then release.

Savasana | 5 breaths (or until you drift off to sleep)

  1. Release your legs back to the ground and let your feet fall to the sides.
  2. Adjust your position until you feel comfortable.
  3. Rest your hands by your sides with palms facing up.
  4. Tilt your chin up just slightly for easy breathing.
  5. 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.

TAGS:  mobility

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12 thoughts on “7-Minute Pre-Bed Yoga Flow”

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  1. I have been meaning to get back into yoga for several years now and the last 2 weeks have done just that. It has been a wonderful reminder of how good it makes my body feel, not to mention my mind.

    This post just reenforces how great yoga can be. I am going to add this to my night time routine a few nights a week.

    Great post!

    1. Agreed. Love this post. I am pretty active during the day and this routine sounds like it could help my mind and body relax and fall asleep. I tend to sit in bed and run through the next days agenda.

  2. As a morning routine this would be fine, but it wouldn’t work at all for me right before bedtime. I know from personal experience that exercise, even yoga (which is still too much stretching and moving around), would give me a second wind and then I’d be awake half the night.

    Everybody is different, so you need to know what works for you personally. What works best for me is to turn the TV off and quietly read for an hour or so before bedtime. When I start yawning repeatedly and feeling really relaxed, and my eyes are wanting to close, then it’s time to go to bed. For me this is usually between 10:30 and 11:00.

  3. I set aside time everyday for yoga. “7-minute pre-bed yoga flow,” will be a welcomed addition to my daily routine. Thank you.

  4. I’m sure that pre-bed yoga is great, but is it really addressing any of the root causes of sleep deprivation… I suggest that it does, but I’d also suggest that there’s a much more fundamental issue at play here.

    Like a badge of honor, we proudly boast about how busy and productive we are as if it somehow correlates with self worth… we even say the stupidest things, like “I’ll rest when I’m dead…” and “sleep is for the weak.” Ironically, it’s exactly this kind of thinking that’s silently destroying and slowly killing us modern day Sapiens… it’s our lack of rest and our lack of deep, restorative, regenerative sleep that is making us even more weak, more sick (more prone to autoimmune disorders, chronic fatigue and mental health crises), more unhappy and less valuable than our own grandparents.

    By no means am I saying that you shouldn’t break your back to work hard to crush your goals (I certainly do!), but there should be a reasonable compromise with attaining your goals and resting your brain and body. It’s beyond absurd that we undermine the value of sleep, and boast about how we can run on just 4 hours of it… you’re not impressing anyone. The fact of the matter is, without proper sleep, those dismissive remarks very well could end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    In the modern world, we’re addicted to the illusion of productivity. If that’s you, perhaps this yoga routine will help you wind down. Either way, get that early morning sun exposure (at the same time everyday) to regulate sleep / wake cycles, move throughout the day, connect to the earth, eat your liver, mind your magnesium, finish your last meal at least 3 to 4 hours before bedtime, use blackout curtains and eliminate artificial light at sunset. Fundamentals first… supplements second! Hmmm… that sounds familiar.

    1. Yoga is basically mindful movement, breathing, and balance. These ARE fundamentals. This is one way to manifest these fundamentals in a way that suits a certain demographic.
      Now, should they focus on building deep foundations that help cultivate a sustainable, healthy relationship with one’s ancestral roots, in order to express their genes optimally and thrive? Yes.
      This article can act as a gateway. Fact-of-matter, it seems supplemental to you ’cause you already fulfill all the fundamentals in deeper ways you’ve cultivated over decades. To people who haven’t cultivated ways to express these principles, this article is a godsend — an easy way to enter.
      They simply should remember to go beyond the surface and explore the depths underneath, as well, instead of stopping at the face value of useful shortcuts. Otherwise they may collect an ensemble of heuristics, with no understanding of how they all come together and are in fact the same thing.

      1. Wonderful, insightful, incredibly valuable reply. You’re totally right… I’ve never thought of Yoga like that but it makes all the sense in the world now.

        Thank you Stefan… I appreciate you!

        1. Thank you. I appreciate your replies as well. I find admirable the fact that you’ve internalised your version of ancestral values into a raw, united, intense kernel; so much so that it is virtually the bleeding heart (a metaphor with no relation to the idiom) of your life. You’re bursting outta your skin with vitality and fervid love, man. I have to appreciate that; it’s too unique in the modern world to just overlook.
          Nevertheless, I find it helpful to realize that everyone starts from a different place in their journey of learning, but ideally arrives at the same place; the foundations. One drawback to your intensity is that you may forget that most people come from a different place, so what may be helpful for them (e.g in starting out) is very different from what is currently helpful for you, just because your experiences diverge so much. Of course, with honesty and patient communication, a point of contact can be reached, but… point is, don’t handwave this article.

  5. Lying Figure Twist – done on both sides – has been my all-time-go-to-whenever pose for years. It’s so easy to do in bed as it doesn’t bother your partner and is truly effective. It’s also good for digestion so if you get gassy or have other digestive issues after dark, this pose can help. God forbid we should get “gassy” in the middle of the night!!

  6. What a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing the 7-minute pre-bed yoga routine along with their images to stay healthy and free from the health issues like restlessness to have a good sleep at night.

  7. Love this. Gentle yoga is how I begin my nightly wind down routine. I believe it also helps relieve post work out soreness and relaxes my brain. My completely inflexible hubby is a convert as well! Thank you for sharing this routine that can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their yoga experience.

  8. There is no way I’m going to be doing that pigeon pose as I have dislocated both knees in the past and that pose always makes my patellas start to shift. Can you offer an alternative or should I just skip it?