Practicing yoga few times per week comes with a handful benefits for both athletes and overstressed individuals who have a sedentary lifestyle. If your job requires you to sit for extended periods of time every day, this can contribute to creating a number of health issues over the course of time, such as obesity, metabolic disorders, disturbed sleep, high blood pressure, diabetes and a painful variety of back problems.
Your muscles weaken, the spine loses its precious flexibility and even the brain activity gets slowed down since it receives less blood and oxygen, and soon enough you realize that you haven’t had a good night’s sleep for weeks! As you can easily guess, these problems tend to get even worse if you’re chronically stressed out, as most of us are. The combination of a lack of physical activity, overwhelming responsibilities and on-going rumination about finances, family and job problems is the perfect recipe for a health disaster, with the end results being an anxious, troubled mind, a weak, pain-inflicted body and many restless nights!
If you’ve recognized yourself in the paragraph above, don’t worry – we know the ideal solution that will give you back your mobility, vitality and mental sharpness. Keep on reading to learn six relaxing yoga poses that will help counteract the negative effects of stress and inactivity and enable you to enjoy 8 hours of peaceful, truly restorative sleep every single night!
Retrain Your Body and Mind With Yoga
To get best results, make sure to perform the following stretches every night before going to bed. In addition to calming your mind, these poses will help you detox from all physical stress you’ve stored in your body during the day. Find a comfortable position and begin by taking a few minutes to slow down your breathing and loosen up your body with eyes closed. You should breathe in and out through your nose and use the same breathing pattern as you flow through the poses, making sure to spend at least 10 slow breathes in each pose.
1. Seated Forward Fold
You will begin with the seated forward fold, which will help release the tension in your hams and lower back musculature. Sit with your legs straight out in front of you and do your best to completely relax even the smallest leg muscles with the help of deep breathing and visualization, then fold forward and gently reach for your toes. Go as far as you can while respecting the limits of your body.
2. Seated Straddle
From the seated forward fold, you will transition to a straddle and continue opening your hams while relaxing the groin muscles. As you sit with your legs wide apart, walk with your hands forward and fold your torso. Focus on breathing deeply and releasing the tension from the stressed muscles.
Lie on your back, bend your knees and position your feet flat on the floor, close to the pelvis and approximately hip-width apart. Press through your feet and slowly lift your hips as high as you can while pressing into your upper arms. Tension be gone!
4. Reclined Hamstring Stretch
Move on to a hamstring stretch to further release the tension from your lower back and deeply relax the muscles. As you lie on your back, bend one of your knees and draw it close to your chest. Place your hands around the back of the thigh of the bent knee, then slowly straighten the leg. After completing 10 deep, slow breaths, switch sides and repeat.
5. Happy Baby
Now it’s time to calm down your CNS while powerfully stretching your back and hips with the happy baby pose. In the long term and with regular practice, this exercise can help you alleviate back pain and improve your balance and posture. To do it, bring both knees to the chest and grab the outside edges of your feet/ankles, then place your elbows inside of your knees and lift your feet up and gently rock side to side as you breathe slowly through your nose.
6. Reclined Spinal Twist
You’ll finish your relaxing routine with an easy variant of the reclined spinal twist that will eliminate any remaining neck and shoulder tension and increase circulation in the back and shoulder area. Lie on your back and draw both knees to your chest, while reaching your arms out wide. Gently draw your knees over to the right and relax into the pose as you complete 10 deep breathes. Switch sides and repeat.
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This calming routine is truly as easy as it sounds, but its effects are powerful and long-lasting. Do it every night before going to sleep and we guarantee that you’ll be waking up fresh and energized every morning! Enjoy!