Set the Mood to Wind Down
It’s been one of those days. You are completely stressed out and on edge, wondering if you’ll even be able to sleep. Don’t just lay in bed tossing and turning, unable to relax after a stressful day. Instead, take a few minutes before bedtime for yourself. Reduce the day’s stress with a short, relaxing series of stretches. First set the mood to destress. Light a calming candle. Lavender is a known stress reliever, so this scent will add to the serenity of the moment. Dim the lights, turn on some soothing music, and try these exercises to increase flexibility.
A Series of Stretch Exercises to Increase Flexibility
Perform a short series of stretches, focusing on any tight areas. The neck, back and hips are areas that tend to hold a lot of stress. These areas may need extra attention. Also, many people have problems with their legs cramping up due to stress. If you’re not sure which muscles need the most work, just try to stretch all of the main muscle groups.
Try these yoga-based stretches at bedtime:
1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Lift your hands straight up into the air, and slowly fall forward into a toe touch. Remain here for 30 seconds or more.
2. Now, move your feet back into a push up position, or plank. Lower yourself down to the floor, and lift your head, shoulders and torso up. This will stretch your core and back area.
3. From there, you will lift up your hips to the sky, keeping your feet as flat on the floor as possible, into the downward facing dog yoga pose.
4. Slowly sit down with your feet straight in front of you. Lengthen your torso and fall forward slowly, as far as is comfortable. Hold for 30 seconds or more.
5. Now, slowly come back up to a sitting position and twist your torso to the right, pushing your left hand against your right thigh to help you twist. Hold for 30 seconds, then do the other side.
6. Lie down on your back and bend your right knee straight up, clasping it with both hands. Pull to stretch, then lower your knee to the left, helping push it down into a comfortable stretch with your left hand and forearm. The right arm will be on the floor, straight out to the side for support. Hold the stretch for 1 minute, then repeat on the other side.
7. Finally lie down flat on the back with your arms and legs relaxed, arms down by your sides. Focus on your breathing, taking slow, deep breaths. Rest in this position for as long as you feel is needed.
1. Yoga Journal: www.yogajournal.com