While this time of year is fun and exciting, I think us mamas also find there is a certain level of stress that comes along with it. We are so busy making sure everyone is going to find what they asked for under the tree, baking for the classroom and holiday parties, attending school plays and recitals, it can be really easy to forget to take care of ourselves. Who else finds that the stresses from the day hit hardest right at bedtime? As soon as I close my eyes and lay my head down, my mind goes into overdrive – making lists and remembering all of the things I should have gotten done during the day, but didn’t get to.
When I feel the stresses from the day are going to affect my sleep, I have a bedtime yoga sequence that I turn to. This yoga sequence can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes, or more if you choose to spend more time in the poses, but even after 5 minutes I’ve found the tension is released from my mind and body, and I can go on to enjoy a peaceful slumber.
Blissful Bedtime Yoga Sequence
Started seated with your hands together at your heart center. You can choose to kneel, resting your sit bones on your heels, or you can sit in a relaxed cross legged position – whichever is more comfortable for you.
Take a few seconds here to focus on your breath, breathing deeply in and out through
your nose. Once I feel connected to my breath, I like to either set an intention, usually
one word, such as “peace” “love” “calm” “relax”, something the feels connected to the
sleep I want to have, or I take a moment and think of 3 things that I am grateful for.
Come into a tabletop, up on your hands and knees with a flat back. As you inhale move
into “cow” lifting your head and your sit bones towards the ceiling, arching your back. As you exhale move into “cat”, dropping your head and rounding your spine up towards the ceiling. Flow through these two poses slowly and without force, allowing your breath to guide your movement.
Move into child’s pose. There are several variations here – I like to widen my knees
about hips distance while keeping my big toes touching, but if it is more comfortable you can keep your knees together and rest your belly right on them. I also prefer to have my
arms reaching out in front of me, but you can choose to leave your arms at your sides, or
fold your hands and rest your forehead on them. Bring your forehead to your mat, and
focus again on your breath, breathing deeply in and out of your nose. Stay here for
10-12 breaths or longer if it feels good for you.
Move into a seated position, bringing the soles of your feet together. Slide your feet
slightly out in front of your body. Allow your upper body to gently fold and soften over
your feet. Spend a few breaths here, allowing your body to release tension and really
melt into the pose. On every exhale allow yourself to relax a little further, going a little
deeper into the pose, without any force or tension.
Move your mat over to the wall and lay down with your legs up the wall, arms extended
out to the side in a “T” position. You may choose to do this pose with or without a folded
blanket or small pillow placed under your bottom, but choose the option that allows your
body to respond to this pose in the most calm and relaxed way. Stay here for at least 1
full minute, allowing your body to relax into this restorative pose.
This sequence is best performed immediately before bed, so that you can move directly from the legs up the wall position into savasana. Lay on your back with your ankles turned out and palms facing upward. Allow your body and mind to completely relax. I like to imagine my body is made up of a million grains of sand all melting away. As thoughts enter try to acknowledge them and let them float away. If you find it difficult to clear your mind (as many of us do, including myself), you can use savasana to consciously send love to your body, and gratitude to yourself for taking this time to take care of you.
My name is Jessica and I am a wife, mom, and wellness coach. I love keeping my family healthy and happy and my passion is sharing my family friendly recipes and workout tips with all of you. If you enjoyed this workout tip please follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JessicaDooley.mamabefit/
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