Most of us automatically think of energizing flows when we think of yoga. However, yoga is more than revitalizing, energy-boosting flows that get your heart pumping. Many folks use yoga to wind down in the evening after a stressful and busy day.
Bedtime yoga routines are a great way to relax your body and turn off your mind, bringing awareness to your body and the present moment. While you might not want to do a heart-pumping routine at night before bed, there are a few exceptions, so stick around to learn more!
Can I Do Yoga At Night After Dinner?
You can do yoga at any time during the day that works well for you. If you maintain a daytime schedule, such as with the typical 9-5 job, nighttime yoga is the perfect way to relax before climbing into bed. While we don’t recommend working through an intense yoga flow right before bed, a calming session can do a world of good.
If you work a night shift, dinner time probably looks considerably different than that of a person who works during the day. That said, you can still do yoga after dinner, even if your dinner time falls around 5 or 6 am. Again, we recommend sticking to a lighter, relaxing routine if you plan on going to sleep shortly after the session.
Of course, not all schedules allow time for a heart-pumping routine before work. So, if you prefer to incorporate energizing yoga into your after-dinner routine, go for it! Generally, you should wait a few hours after a large meal before doing a challenging yoga session. However, if this fits your schedule, why not get a good workout when possible?
What Time Is Too Late For Yoga?
There isn’t a right or wrong time to practice yoga. You should practice yoga whenever it works best for you. For example, let’s say you’re having a tough time shutting down to rest. It might be in the wee hours of the morning, perhaps 2 am. You could try focusing on deep breathing and a relaxing yoga routine to help your body relax and settle down for sleep.
Or, maybe you work twelve-hour night shifts and sleep most of the day. The best time to practice yoga might be later at night when everyone else is sleeping. Ultimately, the best time to practice yoga is whatever works best for you.
Practice yoga whenever you find the time to fit a session into your schedule. You might have a tough time finding in-person instructor-led evening classes, especially later in the evening. However, check in your area, as some studios offer evening sessions.
Benefits Of Evening Yoga
Practicing yoga (usually asana and pranayama) for 15 to 60 minutes before climbing into the sheets can offer numerous benefits. As you build your evening practice from a few minutes to 15 minutes or even 60 minutes, you’ll notice more benefits from the longer and deeper evening routine.
Here are a few notable benefits of nighttime yoga:
Lessens Anxiety And Stress
Many of us experience stress and anxiety regularly due to various circumstances in daily life. Sometimes, this stress and anxiety carry over throughout our day, following us until we try to sleep. This can make falling asleep much trickier, as our minds are active and attempting to problem solve and navigate the issues that are causing stress and worry.
Yoga can be a helpful way to relax the body and mind to prepare for sleep. Deep breathing and meditation are great additions to your meditation practice, allowing you to reach a calm state and drift off into sleep.
Several soothing yoga breathing exercises can make the transition into sleep smoother, as they force you to redirect your attention to your body and breathing.
Focusing on breathing through slow, deep stretches helps improve your circulation. In turn, your blood pressure lowers, helping prevent blood clots and balance your energy levels. Better circulation also offers a few other benefits, including:
- Strengthens the immune system
- Encourages cell regeneration
- Detoxifies the body
On top of this, healthy circulation promotes your overall health, which helps improve your sleep.
Helps Create A Calming Nighttime Routine
A relaxing sleep routine is an excellent way to let your body know it’s time to wind down. Good sleep hygiene is essential to this process and includes implementing helpful habits. Adopting a nighttime routine helps improve sleep quality and promotes deep rest.
Adding yoga to your nighttime routine helps tell your body it’s time to relax for rest, slowing down your mind to fall asleep. You may find it easier to transition straight from your yoga mat to your bed. Some bedtime flows allow you to sit in bed, making it simple to lie down and go to sleep when you’re ready.
Relieves Joint Pain And Sore Muscles
Muscle tension, joint pain, and otherwise sore muscles can make bedtime difficult. It isn’t the easiest feat to fall into a restful sleep with pain or discomfort. Deep, slow stretching in a yoga routine before bed can help relieve these aches and pains, allowing you to reach restful sleep without excessive pain and discomfort plaguing your body.
Gentle, soothing yoga poses are an excellent way to relieve this stress on your body, sending you into sound, relaxing sleep.
Promotes Weight Loss
Daily exercise helps us lose weight and promote a healthy lifestyle. While many folks recognize more intense yoga styles as a form of exercise, some fail to recognize restorative yoga as a way to boost your health and promote weight loss.
Unbeknownst to many, practicing strengthening yoga postures before bedtime (or any other time of the day) can help boost your metabolism, encouraging your body to burn more calories while you sleep. More calories burned (along with a calorie deficit) translates to fat loss.
Helps With Insomnia
Many of us struggle with insomnia or other sleep-related issues. Individuals who have experienced insomnia for a while understand the adverse side effects it often has on daily life and are regularly searching for a solution.
Many folks have noticed reduced insomnia after developing a regular bedtime yoga routine. Bedtime yoga can help you build and establish restful habits that train your body to wind down, allowing you to sleep and stay asleep.
Alongside improved circulation and solid sleep habits with a regular routine, you may notice you get deeper, more restful sleep than without a yoga routine.
Best Poses For Your Nighttime Yoga Routine
Your bedtime yoga routine doesn’t have to consume an hour of your time to be effective. All it takes is about fifteen minutes of breathwork and deep stretches to redirect your mind and prepare it for sleep. Of course, some evenings may require a longer session to soothe and calm the mind, but it might not take a full hour.
Here are a few excellent poses to fall asleep quicker, sleep deeper, and wake up feeling more rested:
- Corpse pose: Despite the disconcerting name, this pose is excellent for relaxation. Simply lie on your back in bed, allowing your arms to fall to your side at about a 45-degree angle. Take slow, deep breaths through your nose, allowing your body to relax.
- Seated forward bend: Sit on a yoga mat (or in bed) with your legs straight in front of you. Fold your upper body over your thighs, bringing your head closer to your knees. Hold onto your feet with your hands, deepening the stretch. If your hamstrings are tight, fold forward as far as you’re comfortable, and place your hands outside your thighs for balance.
- Supine bound angle: Lie on your back in bed (or on a mat). Let your arms fall to your sides at a 45-degree angle, then bend your knees and let them fall to the floor (your legs should look like the butterfly pose from elementary school). Keep the soles of your feet together as you float your knees closer to the floor. If you can’t bring your knees to the floor, simply keep them higher up.
- Supine spinal twist: Lie on your back in bed or on a mat. Bring your arms out to your sides to form a “T” with your palms facing down. Bend your right knee and drop it to the left side of your body, allowing the foot to float (or touch the floor if that is more comfortable). For a deeper stretch, gently push the rotated leg (on the lower thigh, above the knee) toward the ground. Breathe deeply through the stretch and switch to the opposite side when you’re ready.
- Child’s pose: Situate yourself in a table pose on your mat. Slowly lower your hips to your heels, allowing your arms to extend in front of you. Bring your forehead toward the floor. You can widen or narrow your knees to make the pose more comfortable.
- Legs on the wall pose: Position your yoga mat near a wall. Lie down on the mat with your buttocks near the base of the wall. Extend your legs straight up on the wall and let your arms fall comfortably to your sides. If your hamstrings are too tight to extend your legs fully, simply bend them until you feel more comfortable, resting your heels on the wall for support.