Updated: Mar 28
One of my favorite things about yoga is that you can tailor your practice to your physical and energetic needs. This means that you can do yoga sequences designed to energize your body in the morning or relax and calm the body and mind in the evening before bedtime.
In this blog I’ll share some tips on how you can do a 5 minute gentle yoga sequence that is suitable for practicing in the evening—after a workout or long work day—to help unwind the body, breath and mind.
Want to jump right into the practice? Follow Irene’s guided 5 minute yoga to open your hips on YouTube focused on increasing flexibility and reducing stress through gentle stretching and breathing.
Using an Evening Yoga Routine for Beginners to Relax Before Bed
If you're a beginner you can try following the below tips to use your evening yoga routine to help relax and unwind before bed.
Tip 1: Focus on Softening and Relaxing You Body and Breath
One of the main areas you can bring your awareness to is softening and relaxing. This will help make it easier to sleep by calming your body and mind.
You can approach your yoga practice by first bringing your attention to your body and breath. See if you can do your best to focus your mind on sensations in your body as you breathe slowly in and out of your nose.
Tip 2: Keep Your Yoga Practice Simple
Choosing yoga postures that don’t feel too complex can also be helpful so that you can allow your face to be soft and breath slow. Practicing simpler yoga poses in the evening can also help you focus more on your breath and keeping the mind soft.
When choosing a yoga practice to relax your muscles and mind it’s best if you choose yoga postures that are done kneeling, sitting or lying. That way you can let the weight of your body be relatively heavy and relax into the poses.
Tip 3: Bring Awareness to Your Breathing
Experiment with inhaling slowly through the nose and creating more space through your spine and rib cage. And then on the exhale see if you can drop the weight of your body more down and sink towards the ground.
It can feel helpful to start with a short sitting or lying breath awareness practice where you work on equally lengthening your breathing. Experimenting with keeping some of your attention on your slow, regular breathing pattern and the rest of your attention on your posture.
Tip 4: Try Finding Stillness with Mindfulness Meditation
Looking for a more gentle practice without moving your body? You could try a lying body scan mindfulness meditation practice where you lie down on your back in a comfortable position and scan your attention from the top of your head down to the tips of your toes.
5 Minute Evening Yoga Flow Sequence of Hip Openers
Hip openers can be great yoga postures to practice in the evening when you’re wanting to unwind and release tension that has built up over the day.
Try practicing these three gentle hip opener poses for a relaxing gentle yoga practice focused on flexibility. You can choose to stay in each of these postures for anywhere between 5 – 20 breaths. Really allowing the body, breath and mind to soften.
(1) Low Lunge Hip Flexor Stretch | Anjaneyasana
The Low Lunge Pose focused on the hip flexor stretch is a useful posture to practice to release tension from the front of your hips. Try your best to keep as much awareness on your breathing as you do in the technique and alignment of the pose.
If this pose feels quite intense try stepping your front foot closer to your back knee and/or staying more upright with the upper body rather than sinking your hip flexor (front of your back hip) forward.
Experiment with staying in the pose for a longer period of time. Instead of just 5 breaths see how it feels to stay for 10 – 20 breaths.
(2) Lying Pigeon Pose | Supta Kapotasana
The Lying Pigeon Pose can be done with the outer foot of one leg crossed over the knee of the opposite leg. If you feel there isn’t much space in the hips or tension in the knees you can always place the foot of back leg on the ground. While if you have more space you could play instead of hugging your back leg closer towards your chest.
Once in the pose allow your mind to start watching your breath. You might play with counting your breath to help support you keeping your concentration on your breath. For example, breathing in for a count of four and out for a count of four.
Stay in the pose a bit longer than you might be used to doing. So we really take our time pausing in the pose before changing to the opposite side.
(3) Lying Spinal Twist Pose | Supta Matsyendrasana
Finally we’ll come towards a Lying Spinal Twist Pose. You can let both knees drop to one side and reach the opposite arm to the opposite side. Allow your body to be heavy in the pose and see if you can keep sinking your body down to ground with every exhale.
Eyes can be closed here allowing your gaze to turn inwards and body to relax deeply. Again allow each breath to be long, deep and steady. You might particularly focus on breathing to the side of your torso that is open in the twist.
Like in the other poses stay in the pose for at least 10 breaths before moving slowly to the other side. If it feels comfortable you could even choose to stay here for a longer period of time.
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