A good night's sleep can make all of the difference in our emotional well-being, energy, and how we show up for the day. Unfortunately, it can feel difficult for many of us to turn off the mind's chatter and release the stress of our days enough to get a good night of rest.
Taking the time to properly ground and intentionally transition from your day into the evening can help calm the mind and prepare the body for sleep. Certain practices like pranayama, yoga, and meditation can all assist in giving us the night of sleep we all need and deserve.
Yin yoga specifically is a deeply grounding and soothing style of yoga involving long static holds that are deeply breath-focused. This style of yoga helps to soothe the nervous system and ground excess mental energy so that we can sleep better, longer, and deeper. Enjoy this evening Yin practice when you feel like you need a dose of relaxation before bed.
If you have a bolster and block, please keep them handy for this practice. You can use a book and pillow or rolled blanket if you don't.
Place your bolster vertically in the center of your mat. Spread your knees out to a comfortable width, and sit back onto your heels. Allow your chest to rest on the bolster, and either extend your arms out long in front of you or behind you at your sides, keeping a gentle bend in the elbows. Place one of your cheeks on the bolster and allow your body to be heavy. Hold for five minutes, focusing on cultivating a deep diaphragmatic breath, softening with every exhale.
Come to a seated position and bring the soles of your feet together, and allow your knees to fall out wide. Keep your feet slightly further away from your body than you typically may in this posture, creating a diamond shape. Take a deep inhale and elongate your spine, then exhale and fold over your legs, allowing the spine to round and head to be heavy. Unlike a typical Vinyasa practice, don't worry about keeping a long and engaged spine. Instead, allow the body to be soft. You can allow the head to hang or place a block or bolster underneath the forehead for support. Hold and breathe here for three to five minutes.
Sleeping swan is a familiar posture to many, known as pigeon in traditional yoga practices. Start in a downward-facing dog briefly for transition. Place your right knee behind your right wrist, and bring your right shin parallel to the front of the mat, left ankle toward your left wrist. Your shin does not have to be completely parallel to the front of the mat; the most important thing is that your hips are level and squared. Place a bolster underneath your chest, and allow your body to be heavy and surrender into the earth. Place your right cheek on the bolster and breathe here. Hold for three minutes before switching sides.
Twist with Bolster
Place your bolster vertically on your mat. Bring your right hip up against the short side of your bolster, allowing both knees to fall to the left. Place your hands on either side of the bolster and take a deep breath in as you elongate the spine. Exhale, fold over the bolster, and place your left cheek down for a gentle twist. Relax the weight of your body into the support of the prop and let any tension melt away as you twist. Hold and breathe for up to five minutes before switching sides.
Come to lie down on your back. Allow your legs to come out long and wide and spread your arms out away from your body. Take up space on your mat as you begin to relax. Place the bolster underneath your knees to neutralize the spine and support relaxation. Let go of any breath control and allow your body to relax and release into the earth beneath you. Take this time to truly let go, and soak up the benefits of your practice. Stay in savasana for seven minutes before gently coming out and preparing for a night of rest.