If you spend hours sitting at a desk or live a generally sedentary lifestyle, your hips and legs might be suffering. Between the lack of movement and the pressure of sitting on your bum all day, hip tension and leg numbness or pain can cause a number of problems for your health over time, not to mention the overall discomfort.
Luckily, however, yoga proposes a solution. With just a few postures that you can do anywhere, you can restore health to your hips and legs and kiss stubborn pain goodbye. Yoga not only helps us to stretch out tight muscles, but it also increases the circulation of fresh blood to areas which are otherwise neglected. Check out the list below for some soothing yoga poses to try before bed for happy hips and legs.
Fire Log Pose
- Begin sitting on your bed with your legs out in front of you.
- Bring each leg in toward you (as though you were going to sit cross-legged), and stack your right leg on top of the left leg with your right ankle on top of the left knee. The aim is for knee, hip, and ankle to form a ninety-degree angle, but if your legs are bent a bit, that’s OK too.
- Sit up straight, and breathe deeply into the hip. Stay here for at least five, deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.
- TIP: If this version of the pose is too intense, try just sitting cross-legged with one ankle stacked on top of the other (make sure to sit up tall and breathe.) For an even deeper stretch, inhale your arms up over your head, then exhale and fold over your legs.
- Start sitting up tall with your legs straight out in front of you.
- Bend both legs in toward you so that your heels come as close to your bum as possible and your knees are pointing upward.
- Lean forward to lift your butt off the bed, pressing your elbows into your knees with your palms pressed together infront of your heart. If your heels come up, that’s ok. You can also add a rolled up blanket or towel underneath them for extra support.
- Lift your sternum up while pressing your tailbone down, making sure that you’re actively pressing the knees into the elbows. The resistance between knees and elbows is what really helps to open the hips in the posture. Remain here for five breaths.
- Come to your hands and knees with your shoulders stacked above your wrists and hips stacked above your knees.
- Walk your knees out to the sides as far as it’s comfortable. Your ankles should stay in line with your knees, and your feet should be pointing toward each side. (If you notice that you’re holding your breath, scale back a bit and bring the knees a little closer together. You should be able to breathe calmly in this pose. Don’t push too hard!)
- Plant your palms down in front of you or press them together, and lower down onto your forearms.
- Feel your hips pressing back and breathe into the space in your hips and inner thighs for five breaths.
- Starting on hands and knees, bring your right foot to the outside of your right hand.
- Slide your left leg back as far as it will go so that the area above your knee is resting on the bed.
- If this is a lot of sensation, stay here for five breaths with your palms planted on the bed. If you’re feeling open enough, lower down to your forearms. For an even more restorative posture, you can use a pillow to support your head here and relax. Stay in this pose for at least five breaths, then repeat on the other side.
- Starting on hands and knees, walk your knees out wide, bringing your big toes to touch behind you.
- Rest your butt down onto your heels and bow your upper body forward and down.
- Either extend your arms out in front of you or along your sides.
- Rest your forehead on the bed and breathe deeply into the back body, pressing the hips down into the heels actively. Stay here for at least five breaths.
Happy Baby Pose
- Begin lying flat on your back with your legs out in front of you.
- Bring your knees up and in toward your chest, then separate the knees wide as though you’re trying to tuck your knees into your armpits.
- Grab hold of the outsides of your feet with your hands, drawing the ankles to stack above the knees so that your legs are pointing upward.
- Actively draw your tailbone down toward the bed while also pressing your upper back firmly into the bed. Create resistance by drawing your feet behind you with your hands while pressing the tailbone down. Breathe deeply here for at least five breaths.
Reclined Bound Angle Pose
- Begin seated with your legs straight out in front of you.
- Bending the knees, bring the soles of the feet to meet each other and let your knees fall out to both sides, like you’re opening a book. If you feel tender in your groin here, put a pillow or bolster under each knee.
- Lean back and bring your elbows to the floor, lowering your upper body down to the ground completely. Allow your lower spine to curve naturally.
- Bring your arms down alongside you with palms facing up. Rest here for five breaths.
Legs Up the Wall
Practice this pose against a headboard or wall! If you like, you can practice an even more restorative version of this pose by using a pillow underneath your seat.
- Sit up tall with your right side up against your headboard or a wall. If you’re using a pillow, set it down against the wall and sit on top of it.
- Keeping your hips in contact with the wall, turn your body to the right slowly and bring your legs up onto the wall or headboard using your hands for support.
- Lower your torso down onto the bed and roll your shoulder blades back and down, ensuring that you’re keeping your spine nice and long and not crunching in the neck.
- Bring your arms out alongside you with your palms facing up. Stay here for at least five breaths.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
As our final resting posture, savasana seals every yoga practice and fills us with ease and calm. In this pose, your hips and legs will have time to process and heal from all the work you just did.
- Begin sitting up with your legs out in front of you. Lay down gently flat on your back with your palms facing up, extending the legs down long in front of you and arms alongside the body.
- Keep the legs a bit wider than hip-width distance, and let the feet splay out to the sides comfortably.
- Close your eyes and relax deeply into the posture, taking full, deep, belly breaths. Thank yourself for the effort you put into your body and well-being today.
- Stay in the pose for five minutes, breathing intentionally.