Day 9: A Sequence for Restful Sleep
On the ninth day of Christmas, yoga gave to me... a sleepy sequence to ease my body and mind into a peaceful slumber and a "silent night".
This is my go-to sequence at the end of the day or anytime when I want a little bit of movement and decompressing. Longer holds, but allowing for gentle movement of breath within the postures allow for a deeply restful sequence that will ease you into a peaceful night's sleep.
For added effective, you could apply my Rest Well Sleep Deep Intentional Blend to the soles of your feet and pulse points and allow the soothing essential oils to work their healing magic. I hope you enjoy.this as practice as much as I do. You might also like to listen to my Rest Well Sleep Deep playlist as you practice this.
Begin in a comfortable seated pose, maybe on a folded blanket. Close your eyes, palms face down on your lap. Take a moment to check in. How are you feeling?
Now bring your awareness to your breath. Simply observe the movements and allow your breathing to organically soften and lengthen. No rush , no force.
When you feel ready, inhale, and reach your right arm to the sky. Exhale and reach to your left, left hand resting on the floor, gaze to the earth. Breath is steady. Stay for 3-5 breaths.
Inhale come up. Exhale take a simple twist to your left side. Right hand resting on your left thigh. Gaze toward the centre of your chest. 3-5 breaths. Eyes closed. Awareness moving inwards.
Inhale coming back to centre and repeating these first two steps on to the other side.
Find your way into pigeon pose with the left shin in front first. You really don't have to go deep here. Let it have a softer, more supportive feel, perhaps using cushions or blankets to support your hips and or pelvis.
Lift your chest on an inhale and exhale release your torso towards the earth. You may like to rest your body over a blanket or bolster. Stay for a while if you can (between 3-5 minutes is ideal) allowing the breath to take you a little deeper. Each exhale relaxing the muscles around the belly, hips and chest.
Find your way up slowly, bringing your right leg around so that it is out to the side. Inhale lengthening through the sides and front of the body. Exhale easing into a forward fold. This may be a very small movement if you are tight in the hips, lower back or hamstrings. That is ok. Again remember this isn’t about going for the stretch but rather dropping in and moving towards a place of rest. Again, stay for a while here, around 10 breaths or so.
Rising on an inhale, keep your movements soft and your eyes closed perhaps. Bring your right leg in front of you and place your left foot over your right thigh so as you can come into a twist.
Inhale lift through the chest, exhale, right hand/arm rests on your left thigh. Each exhale, potentially moves you a little deeper into the twist. Eyes closed, breath stays full and easy. 5-10 breaths. Coming out on an exhale.
Now the left knee stacks over right for Gomukasana. You should have the top of your left foot resting towards the earth rather than the sole of the foot (like it was in the seated twist). If the feels strong stay as you are.
If you feel able to move into full gomukasana, draw the right leg back towards your hip. If there's any strain, come back out. Exhale over the thighs in a forward fold. Each out breath relaxing around the hips, exhaling through the mouth softly to help release tension through the hips and pelvic area. Again, stay if you can for 3 minutes but at least 10 breaths. Coming up slowly on an inhale.
Keeping everything quiet and as still as possible, come out of the shape, and maybe find all 4’s or a soft down dog before taking the sequence on the right side, being mindful to hold the shape for the same time.
From Gomukasana, find your way down onto your back, feet mat width apart, knees dropping into towards one another. Hands out to the side. Stay as you are or if it feels comfortable, extend the legs away and find Savasanana.
Sweet dreams, beautiful one.