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Yoga sequence to help you sleep September 9, 2010

Filed under: Asanas — rainbowyoga @ 4:47 am

Find a space that is dark and quiet with enough floor space to stretch out. Bring a bunch of pillows with you. Begin withvata (wind energy)- relieving movements, then add hip opening and forward folding yoga asanas (postures), which inspire peaceful relaxation and calm the mind. Move through the whole sequence slowly and mindfully. Take your time and relax in each pose.

1. Start in a seated position, and gently stretch your neck and shoulders. This will help to move excess vata out of these areas of the body. You will feel it as tension release and maybe a little popping and cracking.

2. Move onto your hands and knees for Marjariasana (Cat/Cow Pose). Inhale to fill your lungs and arch your back with your heart reaching forward. Then exhale and round your spine, dropping your head towards the floor. Repeat this action several times, moving with the breath. Move slowly and gently to release excess tension in your hips, shoulders, neck and spine.

3. Lie on your back for Supta Matsyendrasana(Supine Spinal Twist) with your right leg extended, and your left knee bent. Cross your left knee over to twist, keeping your left shoulder grounded on the floor. Hold and breathe deeply, releasing your spine. Then, switch sides, so that your left leg is extended and your right knee crosses over your body for the twist.

4. Bring both knees to your chest for Pavanmuktasana (Wind Reliever Pose). Hold for a few deep breaths.

5. Then take Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand). Come into the pose gently, taking your time. Use your hands to support your sacrum if this feels more stable. You may also use a blanket to prop your shoulders, allowing your neck to retain its natural curve. Be sure that your chin is lifted slightly, away from your chest. Stay in this posture for several minutes, until you can breathe freely through both nostrils.

6. Dropping your legs over your head, bring your feet to the floor forHalasana (Plow Pose). Breathe deeply for several breaths.

7. Slowly bring your legs back to the floor. Slide your palms under your hips and use your elbows to lift your heart to the sky. Gently allow your head to drop back, resting the crown of your head onto the floor for Matsyasana (Fish Pose).

8. Coming onto all fours, make your way into Vanarasana (Monkey Pose) with your left leg forward, knee at a 90 degree angle, and right leg stretched back behind you. Let your hands touch the floor, framing your left foot. Breathe deeply as you count out eight deep and full breaths. Switch sides: right leg forward, knee directly over your ankle joint. Breathe for eight, slowly and deeply.

9. Step back into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose). Lift your hips high and reach your heart toward your toes. Breathe deeply into your lungs. With each exhale, let your spine release as the top of your head lengthens towards the floor.

10. Exhaling, bring your left knee forward between your hands into Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana (One Legged King of the Pigeons Pose). Draw your left toes back towards your knee to protect it. Rest down onto the floor or a couple of stacked pillows. Allow your forehead to rest onto your forearms and breathe deeply for several breaths. When you are ready to switch sides, gently press back into Adho Mukha Svanasana. Bring your right knee forward between your hands and lower onto the floor. Rest here and breathe.

11. Bring your left knee around to the front of your body, to come to a seated position. With your legs stretched wide into a V-shape, slowly fold forward onto your pillows. Turn your head to the left so that your right cheek rests on the pillows. Prop your cushions high enough that your seat stays grounded on the floor. Rest here, breathing deeply for several breaths.

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