Have you ever felt exhausted at the end of the day? With energy under the shoes, foggy mind, tensions in the shoulders and an overwhelming feeling of tiredness?
Well, if so, stay with me for the next 20 minutes to practice a 30’ evening yoga practice to rest, restore and get ready for a deep round of sleep.
BEFORE WE START, I HAVE SOMETHING INTERESTING FOR YOU: A 4 EVENING YOGA PRACTICES SERIES TO REST, RESTORE AND RECHARGE YOUR ENERGY. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS!
And now, we can keep going..
Rest, as you probably already heard us saying, is a universal basic need as human beings.
Unfortunately our schedule is full, with A LOT of duties and responsibilities on our shoulders, and we tend to put ourselves and our well being as last thing:
“I will practice later, I don’t have time now.. I have to do XYZ”
What is the outcome? We never deeply rest and relax.
And the idea of delegating something to others or asking for help so that we can have time for us – is not even passing inside our mind, right?
Believe me, I have been there!
BUT we got your back and created an easy, effective and yummy 30’ evening yoga sequence you can practice before going to bed, after a light dinner.
Practicing in the evening
Can we practice yoga in the evening?Oh yeah!
In Corpo Giardino Yoga Practice, as we cooperate with nature, we mainly practice soothing yoga styles (such as Yin Yoga, Pranayama and Restorative Yoga) to respect the Yin part of the day, a a moment where we need to leave our working day behind us and begin to relax.
We relax not only when we sleep – where we could actually lay in uncomfortable positions and might have tensions from our dreams – but also when we are comfortable and our mind is still.
When we embody and invite calmness.
What happens when we truly relax?We activate our beloved Parasympathetic Nervous System.
As well as involuntary functions of digestion and excretion, the PNS response restores the body back to balance, a state of calm, where functions are counterbalanced. Responsible for controlling homeostasis, this is the balanced maintenance of the body’s systems, thereby allowing it to rest and repair.
It’s essential if we want to bring balance back in our life.
In this evening yoga routine we will use Breath, Yin Yoga and a couple of Restorative Yoga poses to stimulate the PNS.
Are you ready?
Enter in your sacred space, prepare:
- yoga mat
- eye pillow or something to cover your eyes with
- blocks of aft books
- a journal if you are a journaling nerd or if you want to start
Ok, let’s set the scene.
Our respiratory system is composed of 4 phases: inhale, pause, exhale, pause.
The inhale stimulates the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) while the exhale the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS).
So, anytime you want to deeply relax, stretching and lengthening the exhalation is an effective idea to stimulate the rest and digest response.
How? Here’s a simple breathing exercise to begin our evening yoga sequence.
Inhale with your nose – 4 counts
Hold the breath for 4 counts
Exhale with your mouth slowly and with stillness for 8 counts
Repeat 5 times (or anytime you want)
The Breath is incredibly powerful and it can tell us a lot about who we are, what we are scared of and where we want to go.
Watch the amazing Max Strom talking about the power of the Breath at Ted Talk!
Yin Yoga for the Shoulders, Neck and Upper Back
Everytime I ask one of my students where they feel tensions, guess what they tell me?
THE SHOULDERS AND NECK.
As we breathe poorly during the day and we enter what is called “concentration apnea” to manage all our tasks in a day, we create a lot of tension in the upper part of the back,shoulders and neck pain, headache.
For this reason, I added 4 yin yoga poses for the upper back to release the tensions of the day in our evening yoga practice.
Neck – Forward Flexion
Sit in a comfortable position, lengthen the neck up to the ceiling and gently bring the chin towards your chest. Maybe a couple of minutes is what you need today, or maybe you can stay a bit longer. If you feel you are not at your full edge, interlace your fingers and place your hands on the back of your head. Don’t pull, simply use the weight of your arms, the gravity, to do the work.
To come out, place your fingers on the forehead and lift the head up, gently.
Stay here a couple of breaths to feel the rebound of this position.
Half Cow Face arm with opposite lateral flexion right and left
If you need, change the position of your legs, but still sit comfortably.
Place your right arm behind the back, and bend the head to the left.
Breathe in your right shoulder, using the movement of the inhalation and exhalation to massage your shoulder and neck area from inside out. Maybe a couple of minutes is what you need today, or maybe you can stay a bit longer.
Practice the other side.
Eagle arms right and left
Open your arms to a T position, place the right arm underneath the left one, try to wrap your arms as tightly as you can, and see if you can bring the palms together.
Bring your elbows up and away from you. Breathe between your shoulder plates, make space in the back of your heart.
Stay here from 2 to 3 minutes to then change sides.
As a cherry on top of this sequence I invite you to finish in a restorative pose such as Supported Butterfly instead of Savasana (or practice both why not!).
If you don’t have a bolster at home, you could use a pile of pillows high enough to support you.
Do you want to learn more about Restorative?Click HERE to learn more about this amazing relaxing practice.
Did you love marinting in your breath, yin and restorative? I really would love to know your experience, feedback or questions.
I am all ears, really passionate to support you in consolidating your knowledge around yoga so that you too, can build a regular, free and needs-based yoga practice at home.