Being intentional in how we go to bed can be the difference between a good night's rest and a restless night. A few year's ago I suffered from a severe case of insomnia. It was hard for me to fall and stay asleep. My therapist suggested I create a bedtime ritual. It helped tremendously. I cleared my mind by journaling, using essential oils, and practicing a restorative yoga routine.
The following sequence allows you to slow the mind and body down to optimize how well you rest.
Sit crossed legged (sukhasana) in your bed. Draw your arms up to the side shoulder's height. Gently touch your left ear with your right hand by bringing the right arm over your head. Let the left arm fall to the side. Hold for 8-10 breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.
Inhale your arms towards the ceiling. On your exhale twist to the right. Draw your arms down. Place your right hand behind your back to help keep your spine long. Place your left hand on your right knee to help deepen your twist. Hold here for 8-10 breaths. Use your inhale to lengthen the spine and your exhale to deepen your twist.
Coming back to a neutral seated position bring your feet together. Grab the outsides of your feet with both hands. On your inhale lengthen your spine on your exhale fold. Curl your spine bringing your head towards your feet. Use your forearms to press the legs down more. Hold here for 8-10 breaths.
Inhale the body up. Ground your feet the cross your ankles. Placing your knees onto to the bed. Uncross your ankles bring your toes to touch. Draw your knees apart and allow your body to sink in the space in between your knees. Extend your arms and allow your head to rest on the bed if possible. Hold here for 8-10 breaths.
Draw the body up into table top. Come on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips. Point your fingertips to the top of your mat. Place your shins and knees hip-width apart. Center your head in a neutral position and soften your gaze downward. Begin by moving into Cow Pose: Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat. Lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling.
Broaden across your shoulder blades and draw your shoulders away from your ears.
Next, move into Cat Pose: As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. The pose should look like a cat stretching its back.Release the crown of your head toward the floor, but don't force your chin to your chest. Inhale, coming back into Cow Pose, and then exhale as you return to Cat Pose. Repeat 5-20 times, and then rest by sitting back on your heels with your torso upright.
Lie on your back with your feet together and arms beside your body. Breathe in and as you exhale, bring your right knee towards your chest and press the thigh on your abdomen with clasped hands. Breathe in again and as you exhale, lift your head and chest off the floor and touch your chin to your right knee. Hold it there, as you take deep, 8-10 long breaths in and out.
Checkpoint: As you exhale, tighten the grip of the hands on the knee and increase the pressure on the chest. As you
inhale, loosen the grip.
As you exhale, come back to the ground and relax. Repeat this pose with the left leg and then with both the legs together. You may rock up and down or roll from side to side 3-5 times and then relax.
Lying on your back, draw both knees into your chest. Open your arms to the side like wings and drop the knees to one side. Hold for 8-10 breaths.Try the Twisted Roots pose with knees crossed.