Do you find yourself tossing and turning and feeling aches as you try to get to sleep? Or is your brain running on a hamster wheel of thoughts unable to shut off to get some shut eye? Take 10 minutes to stretch and breathe before bedtime.
This is a quick and easy sequence you can do, no props needed before you get into bed tonight.
1. Neck Stretches – Start in a seat, lifting and lengthening the spine. Roll the shoulders down and away from the ears. Start taking half moon circles. Drop the right ear to the right shoulder, roll the chin down to the chest, then lower left ear to left shoulder. Slowly making your way back and forth like this, holding anywhere that might need an extra stretch. Lift to center. Keep chin parallel to floor, turning to look over the right shoulder. Then the left.
2. Wrist Stretches – Reach the left hand forward, extending the arm. Push the palm away, fingers pointing towards the ground. Use the right hand to clasp the fingers and push the hand back. Keeping the thumb uncurled. Turn the palm to face up. Grab the thumb with the opposite hand. Pull the thumb towards the side of the forearm. Keep other fingers spreading wide. Repeat on the other hand.
3. Spine Stretches – Reach one arm up and over, for a big side body stretch. Roll the top shoulder back, so as not to fold. Repeat to the other side. Return to neutral seat. Inhale to twist right hand to left knee, reaching left hand behind you. Twist to the other side.
4. Butterfly Forward Fold – Bring the soles of the feet together and allow the knees to drop out to the sides. Make this pose passive, as you naturally round and relax into it. Release any tension from the day (physical, mental, emotional). After holding for a minute or so, walk the hands in to lift back up slowly.
5. Seated Pigeon – Bend the knees, bringing the feet flat on the floor. Cross the left ankle over the right thigh. Bring the other foot in closer if it feels good. Flex the left foot. Stay lifted through the chest. Maybe add some rocking side to side. Inviting the right hip and glute to release. Repeat on the other side.
6. Thread the Needle – Come to table top. With knees under the hips, and hands under the shoulders. Reach the left hand up to the sky, opening the chest. Then reach it underneath you behind the right wrist. Coming down onto the left ear and left shoulder. Push into the left hand. Hug the low belly in. Repeat on the other side.
7. Sphinx – Slide on to the belly. Bringing the forearms down, elbows roughly under the shoulders. Pulling the elbows back, and the heart forward and open through the chest. Lengthen out through the legs, reaching the toes back.
Prefer to be guided through the simple 10 minute sequence? Practice with me in the video below.