I have been under quite a bit of personal stress in the last couple of months. It stems for many different areas, first Max was away in India for a whole month (the first time that we had been apart for more than two weeks in 25 years), construction to the studio’s new office space (never have construction done in Thailand), the normal stresses of trying to operate a small business, especially in a foreign country (I could write a manual of what not to do).
Where there is change, there is always upheaval.
I am normally pretty good at weathering a storm, but I have to admit, this time some of the wind has been knocked out of my sails. This has manifested its self in sleeplessness. I roll around for hours or wake up after a few hours of sleep and never seem to be able to get back to sleep.
I’m sharing all of this, because I want you to know that Yoga teachers are regular people and we suffer from all the same human frailties as everyone. I hope that you find this simple routine useful for those nights that you too may have external forces that keep you awake.
The Yogi in these pictures is the beautiful Carolyn Miller. She has been a member of our community since we opened our doors. Carolyn is leaving Bangkok and returning to the USA. She has been wonderful to have in the studio, I love seeing her come up our stairs and having her in my classes. Carolyn your practice has been an inspiration to me…go forth into the world and spread some yoga around, but always know a little piece of you will remain here with us.
Balasana (Child’s Pose) for 1 minute (10–15 breaths) This physically simple posture requires patience and the ability to surrender to gravity and a state of non-doing. To come out of the posture, ground your hands, tuck your toes under and push up into Adho Muka Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard Pose) 1 minute each side (10–15 breaths) From Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), bring your left foot forward between your hands and lower your right knee to the floor. Walk your left foot to the outer edge of your mat and place your elbows on a block or the floor. Repeat the posture on the second side.
Salabhasana (Locust Pose) 1 minute (10–15 breaths) Inhale to Plank Pose (Chataranga Dandasana) and lower to your belly. Clasp your hands behind your back. Exhale and root the tops of your feet into the floor. Inhale as you lift your chest and arms. Gaze forward. To come out of the pose, release your hands and exhale, pushing back to Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Muka Svanasana)
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) 1 minute (10–15 breaths) From Downward Facing Dog (Adho Muka Svanasana) walk your feet to your hands. With feet hip-width apart and a slight bend in the knees, hold your elbows. Exhale and lengthen down through the crown of your head. To come up, release your arms, root through your feet, and slowly rise.
Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend) 1 minute (10–15 breaths) Open your legs approximately 3 to 4 feet apart. Inhale and lift your chest. Exhaling and fold forward from the hip creases. Spread your arms wide, coming onto your fingertips, with elbows bent. Place your forehead on a block.
Janu Sirsasana (Head-of-the-Knee Pose) 1 minute each side (10–15 breaths) Sit with extended legs. Place the sole of your left foot against your right inner thigh, right hand by your hip. Lift your left arm, exhale, and fold over the right leg, reaching for your foot or shin. Rest your head on a block. Switch sides.
Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Big Toe Pose) 1 minute each side (10–15 breaths) Lie on your back with your big toes together. Inhale and bring your right leg vertical, clasping the back of your thigh. Push your thigh into your hands until you have a tight muscle-to-bone connection. Hold for 10 -1 5 breaths and switch sides. Release the posture and relax on the floor
End the sequence with:
Savasana (Corpse Pose) 3 minutes Savasana symbolically represents our death to our old ways of thinking and doing. It is the time in our yoga practice to integrate the benefits of all of the postures you have practiced.
Perhaps you would like to add a bit more to this routine?
You can add the following Pranayama (control of prana through the breath) to your, before sleep practice.
Left Nostril Breathing: practicing this breath gives the practitioner self-endurance, self-effectiveness and self –respect. The left side of your brain is responsible for the human functions of rest and digest.
Description: Left nostril breathing activates the Ida nerve ending in the left nostril, which relates to calmness and relaxation. Left nostril breathing is associated with the moon energy, which is changeable, feminine, yin, giving, and cool. Breathing through the left nostril for three minutes can calm you and lower your blood pressure.
Breath: Sit in an easy cross legged position. Close your right nostril with your right thumb, your other fingers are stretched straight up as antennas. Your left hand is in Gyan Mudra on your left knee. Close your eyes and concentration at the center of your forehead. Begin to breathe long and deep only through your left nostril. Continue for three minutes.
Abandon nothing. Take up nothing. Rest; abide in yourself, just as you are. – Sage Abhinavagupta
Sherri (Minh) Lowe is a 200 Hour RYT and co-founder of Yogatique Bangkok. She is a fifty-one year old Canadian transplant living in Bangkok. When she is not on her yoga mat, she enjoys cycling, trying new vegan recipes, a cold beer, lingering in coffee shops and exploring Bangkok. When not pursing these activities, she is writing about them in various on line publications.