This pre-snooze routine is the perfect wind down to transition into dreamland.
Settling down in the evening can be a task, especially if the daytime was demanding and your internal pilot is stuck on GO! Often we will come home from a crazy day and make choices that may not be the most mindful; our evening 'routine' may look more like 'fall onto couch until I slink into bed' or 'let the wired-ness from my day spill all over my home time'. With a few simple steps, the evening can be one of the most sacred times for self-care. There's something very comforting about prepping your nest: consciously winding down and reflecting from your day, giving your body a few gentle reminders to soften and release the tensions of hours past and even adding a few gentle herbs to assist the regime.
It is true that our morning routine sets the tone for our day - but our evening sets the tone for our morning! Plus, a good sleep is unparalleled.
It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it. – John Steinbeck
Step One: Forward Fold
This is the perfect place to hang out after any sort of day - to find space and quiet the mind. Ground your feet, pour your heart out and breathe. This shape allows your spine to decompress; it sinks you into the structure of your feet and automatically grounds you to the earth. Forward fold calms the mind and quells anxiety as the stress of your day drips off your back. Spend at least a minute here, adding some weight to the pose by grabbing opposite elbows and swaying gently through your spine. Find more details on modifications for this luxurious pose here.
Step Two: Supported Recline: Gentle Supine Heart Opener
It's not uncommon for us to spend the majority of our day favouring the frontline - a nice way of saying rounding forward or hunching. Freeing up our heartspace before bed is not only relaxing and restoring to the body but helps us land from our day mentally and emotionally as well. This is generally best achieved by using a firm bolster, but you can create the same effect with pillows or rolled up blankets if that's what is available. Place your prop at the base of your spine and lay back, resting your head at the top or even letting it drape off the end if your neck agrees. Drape your arms open in a T and relax your legs in a butterfly shape, extended straight or with props underneath your knees for extra support. Breath is your masseuse here - focus entirely on the rhythm of your inhale and exhale as a means to soften you entirely. Enjoy the gentle stretch of your inhale and the full release of your exhale, giving into the shape that your body melts to. Hold your shape for at least 3 minutes, staying anywhere up to 20 if you're loving it! Learn more about yin yoga postures here.
Step Three: Meditation
Our poses always prep us to sit quietly, and although these last two shapes are most certainly meditative, it is always nice to continue with the cultivated silence and seal off your day. With spine softened and heart opened, connected to breath and intention of relaxation set, sitting for even 5-10 minutes is a natural step in your evening routine. Remember, it's ok if your busy mind has followed you into your evening, you are simply taking the steps to wind down, whatever that means for you. Come back to the intntion of relaxation and continue to indulge in your breath for as long as you can. Check out our "Busy Person's Guide to Meditation" for more tips towards your seated practice.
Don't forget the tea!
Anything herbal will be soothing and relaxing to accompany your evening routine, but if you're looking for an extra (un)boost, try a blend with valerian root, passionflower herb and lemon balm leaf. Share your favourite evening routines with us! We'd love to hear what winds you down. Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or never hesitate to say hello, firstname.lastname@example.org.