calm

A Yoga Sequence to Help Transition You to Sleep

On nights when I feel restless, racing mind, uncomfortable body, tossing and turning in bed…I’ll hop out of bed and either stop, drop and yoga right there, or pad over into my yoga room to do a sequence like this to calm and soothe my body and mind.

Start with 3 sun salutes of your choice to warm the body a bit and expend some energy.

Depending on your level of flexibility and energy today, these poses can be done freestanding, with blocks or with a chair. Practice unsupported poses 5-10 breaths or up to 1 minute in each.

Active Poses:

Triangle -- to ground your energy. Let the legs work, invite them to be quite active and strong here.

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Uttanasana -- with or without a chair. Tradition and experience tell us that forward folds are calming to the nervous system. Let this pose work on your subtle body to chill it out.

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Down Dog – An active pose here and also an inversion to smooth the mind. Arms and legs active here -- you might place a block under the head to touch into more grounding energy.

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Prasarita Padottanasana A -- wide legged forward fold. Again, strong active legs, hands pressed firmly into the mat, allowing forehead to ground on block (or on the seat of a chair). 5 to 10 long smooth breaths here.

Restoratives:

At this point, you can transition to lying down. Depending on your availability, you might do one or all of these (1 to 10 minutes per pose). Over time, and with practice, you’ll learn which shapes are most soothing to your nervous system.

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Mt. Brook (1-5 minutes) -- I start this pose by applying some Sekoia Lavendar essential oil to the soles of my feet. After the previous forward folds, this heart opener feels amazing. Whole body supported. Take your time to align the blankets and bolsters just right -- when you get it “right”, you’ll lie down and your whole body will say “ahhhhhh”.

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Supported Paschimo (1-5 minutes) – The restorative version of this seated forward fold isn’t about feeling a stretch, it’s about allowing the body to rest deeply in this shape. A rolled blanket under the knees, or a folded blanket under the hips -- or both can feel awesome. Build the bolsters and blankets on your lap until you feel you can drape your torso forward and let go.

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Supported Twist (2-5 minutes per side) -- This is one of my absolute favorites. It feels like wringing tension out of my belly -- a place where nervous energy likes to roost.

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Supported Balasana (1-5 minutes) -- One final forward fold. Child’s Pose gently opens the hips and invites a strong grounding energy.

If you’re not asleep already -- Savasana/Bedtime, have a pillow supporting the head, a rolled towel or blanket or pillow under the knees and cover yourself. A practice I often use is to count the exhalations down 21-1. If you lose track or come to 21, just start over again.

Happy zzzz’s

Michele Vinbury is leading Sekoia Spirit Journey: Bear on Saturday, December 3 from 2:30p -- 4:30p at our sister studio, Grow Yoga.  This workshop will focus on the root chakra, bear symbolic medicine, plants, herbs and crystals to create comfort and to nurture and protect as we move into the winter.  Click here to register.

 

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