Breathe in, breathe out: yoga poses
If movement is more your speed than sitting still, yoga and stretching before bed may be just what you need. Mindful movement has been linked to improved sleep quality, and in some cases, higher quality of life.
We linked up with Kylan Fischer, a California-based yoga instructor and plant-based health coach, to learn about her favorite pre-bed yoga poses and stretches.
1. Cat Cow
How to: Start on your hands and knees. Inhale, arch your back and send your gaze up as you come into cow pose. Exhale, round your spine and tuck your pelvis as you come into cat pose. Repeat five times.
Benefits: Cat Cow stretches the spine and opens the chest and shoulders. Breathing through these movements can help you wind down.
2. Seated side-stretch
How to: Start in a comfortable seated position. Inhale, reach up to the sky bringing your palms to touch. Exhale, reach over to the right as you stretch the left side of the body. Keep your chest open
and root down through your left sit-bone. Hold for 5 breaths, stretching deeper with every exhale. Repeat on the left side.
Benefits: Stretches the side body and massages internal organs. This pose can help relieve anxiety and tension held in the neck and shoulders.
3. Seated Twist
How to: Start in a comfortable seated position. Inhale, reach up to the sky. Exhale, twist to the right as you bring your left hand to your right knee and your right behind you. Inhale, sit up even taller. Exhale twist deeper. Continue for 3-5 breaths. Repeat on the left side.
Benefits: Stretches the spine and improves digestion, helping you unwind before laying down.
4. Forward Fold
How to: Start in a comfortable seated position. Extend your legs out in front of you as you sit up tall. Inhale, reach up as you find length through the spine. Exhale, fold forward reaching for your shins or ankles. Every inhale, try to find more length, every exhale fold a little deeper.
Benefits: This pose stretches the backside of the body including the hamstrings and calves, further relieving tension in the body and relaxing the muscles in preparation for sleep.