Every once and a while, I find myself restless at bedtime or wakeful in the night. The following series serves to make it easier for me to go to sleep and for me to feel fully rested as if I had not been short sleep:
1. Vipariti karani (legs up the wall). Start with legs up the wall for five minutes or longer, then move legs into baddha konasana (butterfly) for several breaths, then put them back up the wall. While your legs are up the wall, first just watch the breath. Then concentrate on the breath, inviting the exhales to be twice the length of the inhales.
2. Twisted forward bend. Using a bolster and a folded blanket (or two or three folded blankets) lengthwise on your mat, place the left thigh next to the edge of the blanket pile, allow yourself to sit heavily. Staying sweetly grounded, hug your hips together to embrace your core and then draw the left waist back as you bow forward onto the support of the blanket. You can allow your forearms and hands to rest on the floor or you can bend your elbows a little more and tuck your hands between the blankets under your forehead. Keeping the attention on the breath, inhaling lovingly draw in, exhaling more fully accept the support of the blanket. Hold for a few minutes and then repeat on the other side.
3. Supported balasana (child’s pose). With your knees wide apart and the big toes together, draw the blanket pile between your knees up to mid-thigh. Place another blanket (or a pillow) across your calves. Bow forward onto the support of the blankets. Half way through, turn your head to the other side. If your thoughts are still active, just let them be and turn your attention back to the breath.
4. When you are ready to come out of balasana, tuck your toes under and lift your hips into adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog). If you’d like, you can stay here for several breaths with your head supported by the blankets. When you are ready, walk your hands back to uttanasana (standing forward bend). Quietly and mindfully get back into bed and lie in savasana.
Just reading that makes me ready for a nap.
Yes, this practice is also a good afternoon nap alternative. Just do the savasana on your yoga mat.