Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Good night, sleep tight!

Here's a sleepy time yoga routine, again one you can do in your pajamas (I sense a theme developing... Yogjamas? Pajamoga? Hmmm, will workshop that)

The idea of this routine is to calm the mind and body after the day, and to prepare for sleep. You want to start leaving the stress of the world behind you and come into your own little sleepy-time world, so the first exercise I will get you to do is... TURN OFF YOUR MOBILE PHONE! Sorry, yelling when we are meant to be getting all calm. But seriously, do it! Just for ten mins :)

You can also change into your pjs, turn down the lights, put some nice relaxing music on. Light some candles if you really want to get this hippie party started. Do whatever you need to start coming into a peaceful and relaxed state ready to get your snooze on.

Reclining Spinal Twist

First of all, we'll get a twist going on, to release any tension out of the spine, and give our internal organs a nice pre-bedtime massage (and who doesn't like one of those?!)

Lying on your back, bring your left foot onto your right knee, and grab the left knee with your right hand (Confused yet? See below!)

Bring your left arm along the ground to make half a 'T' shape. Exhale, and drop the right knee down towards the floor, while gazing along back at your left hand.. creating a twist along the spine.

Keep your both shoulders grounded to the floor.

Hold for a few breaths, inhale and return to the middle. Switch sides.

Wind Relieving Pose

Even if you aren't particularly "windy" this is still a great pose to do in the evening. It aids digestion and relieves stress in the lower back. 

Lying on your back, inhale and pull your left knee into your chest. As pictured:

Then exhale and curl your shoulders off the ground, as if to touch your forehead to knee (not pictured). Gaze down your body to your belly button.

Hold for a few breaths, return the head to the floor on an inhale, and then lower leg. Repeat opposite side. 

Childs Pose

Ahhhhh, what could be more perfect for the end of the day! Begin by kneeling with your feet together, and sit back on your heels. On the exhale bring your torso onto your thighs, bringing your head to the floor, and resting your arms long by your side. Release all tension in the body... Surrrrreeeeeeender! *said in breathy hippy voice*

Release the front of the shoulders towards the floor, getting your shoulder blades nice and wide across your back. Relax here for 30 seconds, or longer if you like. When you are ready, inhale and lengthen the torso out of your hips, hinging up from your pelvis into a seated position.

Alternate Leg Pull

This is a fantastic introversion for the end of the day. As well as providing a powerful hamstring stretch and a release through the lower back, it offers a chance to really block out the rest of the world and come into your own space, leaving everything that happened in your day "out there". I love it :)

First of all, sit up with your spine long, legs wide out in a triangle, then bring the right foot up by the top of the left thigh. 

Take a nice deep breath, and inhale your arms above your head, twisting your torso so it is facing over the left leg. 

Exhale, hinging out from the hip to stretch and bring your torso onto your thighs, with your hand reaching down towards your shins or ankle. At this stage you may need to lift the knee up to enable your torso to rest along your leg. 

Try and get the bump of your knee to rest in the spot between your eyebrows, as this is an acupressure point which will help you sleep. Bonus!

Rest here for 30 seconds, using the inhale to stretch your spine longer out of your hips, and the exhale to come in deeper towards your knee, or to try and straighten your leg further along the floor if it's not there yet, pushing out through the heel. 

Try to really concentrate solely on the breath coming in and out of the body, let go of all thoughts of anything outside of what is happening in this moment in the pose. No mental shopping lists or ruminating on the day. This is your chance to leave all that behind you! 

Inhale back up to seating. Repeat other side.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Now is a great time to do some yogic breathing, to clam yourself before sleep. An excellent breath to try when you want to calm your body and mind is Alternate Nostril Breathing. Once you get the hang of this (and it's not hard), it is a really useful way to slow your breath, settle the thoughts running through your head, and relax. You'll be nodding off in no time! 

Here is the video if you'd like to give it a try.

Legs up the Wall

Does what it says on the tin! Is a perfect pose to do when you are actually in bed, presuming your bed is against a wall. If you don't have time to do the rest of the routine then doing this restorative poses will have you dreaming of Ryan Gosling whatever you dream of in no time! 

To get into position, sit sideways to the wall with your knees pulled in to your chest and then turn yourself so your legs are up the wall. You want your butt as close to the wall, hence this way of getting into the pose. 

Once here, open the collarbones by bringing your shoulder-blades together slightly underneath your back and then make a slight double chin, to get your neck nice and long.

Have the feet as if you are standing on an imaginary floor, heels and toes even. 

Stay here for 1 - 5 minutes, then switch it up into the rest of these variations. 

"FAAAME!" DC wants to live foreeeever...

Splits - try and get your legs as far into a 'V" as possible. 

Diamond - make a diamond shape with your knees, pushing the knees back as close into the wall as possible. Push the soles of the feet into each other, and rotate your thighs outwards, to assist with bringing your knees closer to the wall and open through the hips. 

Bring the knees into your chest and hold. 


Are you still awake Brogis??! If you haven't already drifted off into an easy slumber, simply roll onto your side and zzzzzzzzz away... Sweet dreams!

For those that have trouble sleeping 'Click to Meditate' has a great "Sleep Well" guided meditation that is fantastic to listen to as you drift off to Gosling Land slumber. It is also super easy to upload and play on your phone in bed. I swear I've never heard the end because I'm always asleep by then. Hope it works just as well for you :)