As a small business owner, I can say with confidence that my work never ends. I have lists and ideas jotted down on pieces of paper all over my apartment and office. I try my best to compartmentalize everything so that I can turn it all off at the end of the evening, yet I rarely am successful. I often wake up in the middle of the night with the next big idea and frantically text someone on my team so that I don’t forget it by morning. My story is not unique, this I know – we are all working to balance work, family, relationships, and somewhere find time to rest! That’s why I’ve asked Manny, a teacher at Grace & Glory Yoga Fishtown, to show you five restorative poses to try before you crawl into bed tonight to quiet your mind and gain a better night’s rest.
Through our yoga practice, Child’s Pose serves as an opportunity to connect our bodies and our breath. Our breath is the key to keeping our mind in the present moment. As your wind down your day and come into this resting pose, allow your breath to quiet the noise in your head and encapsulate you into where you are right now. The fact is this: your day is complete and now it is time to rejuvenate yourself with sleep.
Come to your hands and your knees; drop the tops of your feet to the floor, bring your big toes to together, and your knees out wide toward the outside edges of your mat. Sink your tail bone back toward your heal. Walk your hands forward and straighten your arms. Place your forehead on the floor and take ten deep inhales and exhales through your nose.
From standing, bring your feet together and inhale your hands up to the ceiling, exhale as your fold forward, pressing your chest toward your thighs. Bend your knees as much as you need to avoid straining your low back. Release all tension in your neck that as built up through the day; allow gravity to take over as the crown of your head drops down toward the floor. This will create a deep stretch in your low back and your hamstrings. As you breath deeply in this mild inversion, your blood will carry rich oxygen to your brain giving it, what Baron describes as “a bath that washes away the old stuff”. Who doesn’t love a nice bath before bed?!
Straight Leg Sweat Twist
There are many days that I spend hours on end sitting at my desk or standing on a hard floor while I teach. After a while my back begins to ache. Straight Leg Seated Twist is the perfect pose to counteract all those long hours. Come to a seated position and sit with your right leg straight our in front of you. Bend your left knee and place your left foot flat on the floor. Hug your left knee with your right arm as your look over your left shoulder. Lift the top of your head towards the ceiling, lengthening your spine. Repeat on opposite side.
The benefits to inversions are limitless. Not only do they provide strength to the body and a better focus by giving you a shift in perspective, inversions also provide an improved blood flow to the brain and reduction of any aches or pains that may have occurred in your legs, feet and hips throughout the day. This version of Waterfall is a restorative inversion and with the support of the wall can be held for a length of time. As you lay flat on your spine, send your feet to the ceiling. Bring your tailbone to the base of the wall and gentle rest your feet. Stay here, close your eyes, and breathe for a few minutes. Besides providing relief and healing to the legs, allow the pose to calm your nervous system and further quiet your mind.
Supta Baddha Konasana
Mornings are classically a symbol of new beginnings, a new opportunity to be in creation of something brand new, which is an idea that I simply love. Often, as the day progresses, life throws “curve balls” and all the plans that I had completely dissipate. Before crawling into bed, Supta Baddha Konadasana aids in bringing the body and mind back to the neutral state of being that your day’s “curve balls” robbed from you. From Supine Twist, bring the soles of your feet together and splay your knees open to either side of the room. Shimmy your heals towards your tail bone, being cautious of any extra strain to your knees, and create a release in your low back and an opening in your inner thighs. Press your entire spine into the Earth and close your eyes. Rest one hand on your abdomen and the other on your heart. Feel your breath move through your body and feel your heart beat. In Journey into Power, Baron writes, “this pose invites deep, authentic rest – a rare gift in our pressure-filled world."
Brittany Everett is the owner of Grace & Glory Yoga in Fishtown. She completed her 200-Hour in May 2014 and has attended a number of Baptiste Trainings such as Level One, Level Two, and Art of Assisting. GGY Fishtown offers a vigorous physical practice that is adaptable for every body type. This Baptiste-inspired power yoga creates a heat that heals from the inside out.
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