Stretching can have a positive effect on our sleeping pattern by easing our nervous system and helping us control our breathing. In keeping with our vision of a holistic bed and breakfast in Oxford here are some simple suggestions which will help you relax your body and mind before hitting the sheets. Developing an evening stretching routine helps your body to enter a relaxed state more quickly, and stay in a deeper sleep for longer.

These stretches are best performed on a firm surface, usually the floor, using a yoga mat to soften the feeling. Please ask the reception team if you would like to borrow our yoga mat.  

Bear Hug

Sit tall and inhale as you open your arms out wide. Exhale as you cross your arms, placing your right arm over your left and your left over your right to give yourself a hug. Breathe deeply as you use your hands to draw your shoulders forward. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. To release, inhale to open your arms back open wide. Exhale and repeat with your left arm on top.

Neck Stretch 1

Sitting upright take your right hand to the top of your head or to your left ear. Gently bring your right ear towards your right shoulder, holding this position for 5 breaths. Ensure that the left arm is relaxed by the side of your body. Repeat on the opposite side. Turn to look over your right shoulder, keeping the rest of your body facing forward. Hold this position for 5 breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.

Neck Stretch 2

Drop your chin down to your chest, holding it here for 5 breaths. Return to a neutral position and allow your head to gently fall back for 5 breaths

The Standing Forward Bend

Stand with feet about inches apart. Fold torso to the ground reaching towards the floor. Go only as far as your body allows you to. Never stretch beyond what your body can naturally manage.

Seated Spinal Twist

Sit upright and elongate the spine. Place hand flat on the bed behind you and left hand of the right knee. Twist round to the right, looking over your shoulder. Hold for 5 breaths and come back to centre. Repeat on the other side.

Butterfly Pose

Sitting with your legs in front of you, bring the soles of your feet together. Keep your spine straight as you bring your feet towards your body. Rest in this pose to deepen the stretch.

Childs Pose

Come down on your knees, sitting back on your heels. Hinge at your hips to fold forward and rest your forehead on the floor. Extend your arms in front of you to support your neck or bring your arms alongside your body. Breathe deeply in while holding the pose, bringing your awareness to any areas of discomfort or tightness in your back.

Legs Up The Wall

Sit with the right side of your body against a wall. Lie on your back as you swing your legs up against the wall. Your hips can be up against the wall or a few inches away. Choose the distance that feels most comfortable. You can also place a cushion under your hips for support and a bit of elevation. Rest your arms in any comfortable position. Remain in this pose for up to 10 minutes.

Wishing all a very restful sleep

Kavita Pal

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