I am a nocturnal yogi. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been in school or working for as long as I’ve been practicing yoga and for the most part, never had the time in the morning. It may have started out of necessity, but I’ve grown to enjoy doing yoga in the evening and even sometimes right before bed. The very best kind of yoga to do late in the day is restorative yoga.
In order to be a well-rounded yogi, you must be open to different kinds of yoga. Restorative yoga may not give the workout per say that other forms do, but it is just as important. The often bound poses are meant to be held for an extended period of time in order to open your body and achieve a deep stretch.
These asanas tend to be very meditative and call for a great deal of focus on your breath, which is why they are excellent when performed before bed. Looking for a restorative Yogasync, I couldn’t pass up one called “Sweet Dreams.” I made sure I chose a quiet evening and planned to practice it at the very end of my night, literally right before climbing into bed. I was feeling a little tired, but alert enough to perform the poses.
Here is my pose-by-pose review of the “Sweet Dreams” Yogasync:
Reclining Bound Angle Pose Well Supported
I finally realized that this may be my favorite restorative pose. It doesn’t seem like much, but once you settle into the bound positioning, you feel a fantastic stretch in the hamstrings and an immense sense of calm. Props are crucial, as they are in most of the movements in this sync. Although I was relaxed and comfortable with my back on a bolster, I could also feel my body stretching and opening.
Supported Downward Facing Dog
This version of Down Dog is unlike any other. You may think it would be easier having your head resting on a bolster and blanket, but you really feel the blood rushing to your head, which is a good thing for your body. Unlike Downward Facing Dogs performed within a Sun Salutation, this supported, restorative variant is held for and longer period of time, strengthening the legs and arms.
Supported Standing Forward Bend On A Chair
This was a new pose for me and quite honestly looked a little silly at first, but I actually enjoyed it. It’s a fairly simple movement, considering that many restorative poses involve several props and a mindful way of getting into. You will really feel the stretch in your back and legs. I do suggest using a chair with a padded seat or putting a thin pillow or blanket on the chair so you avoid any head pain.
Headstand Against The Wall
This movement explicitly states, “If you have never practiced Headstand under a qualified teacher before, then please omit this pose from your practice.” This cannot be stressed enough. Although I have never performed an actual headstand, I have performed Headstand Against the Wall once before in class. It has been a while so it took me a few tries to get my legs up against the wall. This may be a relaxing restorative pose for some, but it was a little intense for me, especially in this before bed practice. Next time I will hit the ‘Modify this Yogasync’ button and replace it with this.
Supported Shoulderstand On A Chair
As with many of these movements, I would suggest watching them before attempting to perform them. This asana involves a somewhat precise way of easing into the final positioning. Every movement is crucial in avoiding injury. But once you get your legs up, shoulders down, and arms back, I think you will really appreciate the soothing and nourishing nature of this pose.
Supported Forward Bend
Make sure you get enough height in your support for this movement. Feel free to use whatever combination of a bolster, blankets, and even blocks to comfortably place your head on, so as not to strain or hurt your head, neck, or back. Once in the proper positioning, you will be able to feel the intense back stretch that this pose was named after (Paschimottanasana). With your head supported you will also achieve a calming of the mind, essential in restorative yoga.
Legs Up The Wall Slide In Bolster
If I’m ever feeling the need for a little stretch or blood flow, I find a wall in my house and perform a version of this pose. It’s easy to do on it’s own, but it’s also great as a part of a full restorative session like this one. Using the bolster and blankets makes it even better — I would have stayed in this pose for hours if I could!
Speaks for itself, and if you’re not a member of Yogasync yet, here’s a sweet taster.
This sync was a great before bed restorative practice. It began and ended with two of my favorites which really helped in calming the mind and finding a true sense of peace. You’ll need the props to enhance your experience. Sometimes the techniques of restorative poses can take you out of the moment, but the more you practice them, the more they will just become part of the routine.
And after a great sleep, I was inspired to create my own restorative Yogassync with the Easy Yoga Builder (stay tuned for that!).
Yogasync me! Want to unwind and sleep like a baby?