My heart goes out to those of you who suffer from insomnia or other sleep-related issues. There are few things worse than lying in bed for hours on end, willing your mind to quiet down, so that you can please, please, please just go to sleep – and stay asleep.
It’s a really good idea to have a bedtime routine in place so that your physical body knows that it’s time for bed. By implementing calming evening rituals that ease us into sleep, we’re helping ourselves along in the quest for a truly restorative night of rest.
Yoga postures are really useful in helping us wind down before bedtime. The practice of asana is like medicine for the body, and we get to choose what type of medicine we need at any given time. Before bed, we need a soothing, calming medicine to drop into relaxation mode before drifting off to sleep.
Integrate the following postures with your 1Hour Break to ensure a peaceful night’s rest. And if you wake in the middle of the night, simply repeat this yoga sequence or omit the yoga and simply take your 1Hour Break again.
You’ll need a pillow or yoga bolster for the following practice. Do these postures on the floor of your bedroom or even in the comfort of your own bed.
1. Upavistha Konasana (Seated Straddle)
In this seated posture, you simply take your legs into a wide straddle. Place your bolster or pillow horizontally in front of you so that as you fold ever so slightly forward, you have a place to rest your head and torso. Come forward only so much as feels comfortable for your body and stack a pillow on top of your bolster if you need more elevation. Stay here and breathe for several inhalations and exhalations.
2. Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose)
This is one of my favorite postures to do anytime I need to de-stress. It’s a potent relaxation technique that quiets the mind rather quickly. For this posture, place your pillow up against a wall or against your bed’s headboard. Cozy your tush up against the wall and then lie down so that your bottom touches the wall and your legs are vertically outstretched upward along the wall. Allow your arms and torso to relax and breathe here for as long as you like. To exit this pose, bend your knees and roll over onto one side. Then come up to sit and flow into the last pose.
3. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
According to B.K.S. Iyengar, this is THE most important posture in the yogic pantheon. Simply lie on your back with your legs and arms splayed every so slightly open. You can place your pillow vertically beneath you so that your head and torso have a bit of support. Place one hand on your heart and the other hand over your stomach. Feel the rise and fall of your belly as you breathe deeply. Begin to let the breath breathe naturally, without forcing it, and notice any thoughts that come into your mind’s eye. You can label these thoughts “thinking” and witness them as they float on by. An eye pillow is a nice addition for this pose to support the turning inward and the calming of the eyes. Stay here for several breaths. When you feel adequately relaxed, take a few more sprays of your 1 Hour Break, turn out the light and fall into a peaceful night of sleep.