We hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year break. We certainly did!
In keeping with our guest blog spot, we have a wonderful post from Tracy Whitton, who teaches Restorative Yoga. She shows us some wonderful examples on how to use Large Organic Cotton Yoga Bolsters. Other props she uses to support her practice are yoga blocks, yoga belts, eye pillows and more. Ideal for home yoga practice, this blog will have you sleeping like a dream.
AWESOME FOURSOME - Sleep Disturbance by Tracy Whitton
These four poses are the foundation of a restorative practice They have the magic ingredients to relax, restore and renew- body and mind. I use this sequence for many reasons, but today I am talking about it in relation to sleep disturbances.
Do you experience any of the following?
- restless sleep
- back pain
- restless legs
- anxiety at dusk
- fear of going to sleep
- body pain
- over heating
- busy mind
If you answered yes to any of the above, then try my awesome foursome practice! For preparation for calm sleeping this sequence is best practiced late afternoon or an hour before bed. The poses consist of Father (viparita karani) Child (balasana), Mother (supta baddha konasana) and relaxation pose (savasana). Whilst in the poses we practice “Open & Flow” and use the breathing practice of “Apana” to settle and reset the nervous system.
Awesome Foursome Practice
1. Father pose-
calms the mind & cools the activated nervous system. Nurtures & balances the Father/masculine energy.
2. Child Pose-
calms the mind. Relieves back pain. Nurtures & balances the inner child energy.
3. Mother Pose-
helps regulate hormones. Calms the mind. Nurtures and balances the Mother/ feminine energy.
4. Relaxation Pose-
re-connects body, mind & spirit. Counter balances the effects of gravity. Deeply peaceful on body/mind systems.
Practice – 2-5 mins each pose except Father pose- 1-3 mins to begin with.
This sequence is marvellous in re-setting hormones and an over stimulated nervous system that has an active mind that doesn't know how to be quiet! When our system is overloaded it’s hard to move into sleep at the flick of a light switch!
Creating a quiet, still and dark place is what is needed to ease the nervous system, and prepare it for a deep restful sleep.
If the only time we stop is to go to sleep at night, it won’t be long before the body/mind says “stop, I need to rest, I need to release, and I need rejuvenation”. The body and mind needs to release and relieve itself of the karmic build- up that is dumped into it on a daily basis- we need restorative meditative practice. So to stop the release happening before bed-during the night and on waking, we practice a restorative practice of some kind DAILY! It won’t be long before you begin to have the body/mind using its sleep time as sleep time!
A few pointers…
- this breath is breathing in & out through the nostrils and into the lower lungs only. Feel the sensation of the breath move from the perineum to the navel (on the inhale)- exhale releasing a slightly longer breath then the inhale. This breath creates a softening in the body, calms the mind & settles the nervous system.
Open & Flow Meditation-
this practice is simply, lightly touching (with your awareness) all that is arising in your mind, in your body & outside your body- without creating a story about it. Flowing with the moment as it is- without trying to change it, move away from it or add anything to it- there is no expectation- just simply being with the moment as it is
Stored Body Pain
- practice awesome foursome through the day and at bedtime. Practice Mother Pose in bed and then fall asleep in savasana (using Apana breath & open & flow meditation) pose.
practice Father Pose 3 times a day- morning, middle of the day & before bed. Practice awesome foursome practice in the late afternoon.
Start your awesome foursome practice with only 2-4 mins in each pose for the 1st few weeks- until you get use to be still with the fears and anxious energy arising- practise ‘open & flow’ meditation & ‘Apana breathing’ in savasana 2-3 times a day when symptoms are intense- helps integrate and ground the loose energy.
Most of all, flowing with your practice and observing your experience, frees you from pain and suffering and allows us to become one with life instead of resisting life.
Stillness Through Movement