Try this sequence before bed, or anytime, to relieve stress and calm your nervous system.
One of the reasons that so many of us find it hard to sleep is our inability to shift from the fight-or-flight mode into the parasympathetic nervous system, where deep rest is possible. This sequence turns down the intensity of modern life and helps you drop into your deeper, calmer self.
Radical self-compassion is essential for the health and wellness of all human beings. Yoga provides a powerful way to practice it with our own bodies before practicing it with others. This flow is ideal for quickly honoring your body with both gentle movement and rest.
Even if you have chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, or autoimmune diseases like Lyme or rheumatoid arthritis and have to spend part (or most) of the day in bed, you can still reap the benefits of Sun Salutations.
The energetic flow of Sun Salutation can be experienced lying in bed or lying on a mat. Use your creativity to explore what movements feel good in your body. Working from this position, gravity affects the body in a different way. Notice how raising your arms in front of you creates a similar experience as raising them over your head in a seated position.
The movements in this flow tend to focus on hip and shoulder opening, which can be a great practice if you’re spending a lot of time in bed. This includes people with chronic illness, fatigue, before or after surgery, and so on.
Begin by checking your posture in bed; this is a variation of Corpse Pose focusing on comfort and stability. You can begin with both knees bent and your feet on the bed.
Home is a feeling, not a place. Whether you are traveling or recently relocated, this sequence will help you find home within yourself.
By the time I graduated high school, I had lived in seven different houses and two countries. Moving around so much meant constantly having to redefine home. As a little girl, it would feel as though I was just settling in somewhere when it was time to move again. I adapted by finding things that helped me nest quickly, like always having my special pillow (which I still travel with!) or putting out picture frames. My family and I were also avid travelers. So, in addition to moving houses, we were constantly on airplanes too. This made for an adventurous, albeit ungrounded upbringing. Even now, my life continues to be such where my karma is to move every few years or travel every few months. Even when my soul is begging to stay put!
How Yoga Brings me Home
The first place I ever really felt settled was on a yoga mat. It was as if all that traveling was really a quest to find this place. I remember thinking to myself, “so, this is what it feels like to be home.” It was not just the soothing walls of the studio or the familiar wafts of incense, but being on my mat and in my body. I realized quickly that our practice can be a way to find home within ourselves.
One of the biggest lessons we learn in yoga is the impermanence of things. How often do we think that if we just hang on a little tighter things will always stay the same? And for some …
Prepare yourself for deep, restful sleep with this 10-minute, relaxing sequence that stretches all the major muscles and quiets the monkey mind.
An evening practice is wonderful for calming the mind and preparing your body for deep rest. In this evening practice, you will focus on looking inward. Forward bends and hip openers help relax you and set the mood for sleep. This short practice can provide a really beautiful end to a busy day. Simply slow down and tune into your body and breath. Sweet dreams!
Try this simple sequence the next time noises—external or in your head—feel overwhelming. Duck into a private space, put your phone on airplane mode, and practice moving with your breath.
About the author
Lizze Lasater translates her training in art history and architecture into carefully curated digital courses, global Restorative Yoga teacher-training workshops, and her heartfelt spirit jewelry collection. She sometimes jokes that yoga runs in the family—her Mama, Judith Hanson Lasater, co-founded Yoga Journal magazine and has been teaching yoga since 1971. Born in San Francisco, Lizzie lives in the Alps with her tall Austrian. Join the Restorative Revolution with her at www.savasana.life.
These powerful alternates will help you open your hips in all directions.
Many of us could use more hip opening. From sitting to standing to walking, our legs are constantly working to support our upper bodies. All this effort can make hip muscles chronically tight, especially when we’re sitting for long periods at desks or in cars.
The phrase “hip-opening” often creates confusion, as many people assume that it’s similar to opening a door or book, and therefore limited to taking your legs apart. But opening your hips means creating mobility in all directions.
Hips are ball and socket joints, which are the most mobile joints in your body. The head of each thigh bone (femur bone) forms the “ball’, which sits in the socket (acetabulum) of your pelvis.
Ball and socket joints also do circumduction, which means moving in all three planes, like when you swing your leg in a circle.
In order to stretch a particular muscle group, you must take your body in the opposite direction of that group’s movement. For example, if you’ve been sitting for long periods, which is hip flexion (taking thighs toward your chest), you’ll want to extend your hip (taking your thighs back) to release your hip flexors.
Your Hips in All Planes of Movement
We are three-dimensional beings. We move in space in many different directions. We can go forward and backward, side to side, and inward and outward. And most of the time, we move in some combination of those directions all at once. For example, to set up our front legs in Pigeon, we must both open our legs to the …