The Sleep Season: Part 4

In the final part of the Sleep Season mini podcast series Selina from Sleep and Flourish interviewed me, which was a first. It definitely felt very strange being on the ‘other side’ but it was lovely to have another opportunity to catch up with Selina. Here are a few of the highlights from the chat.

Why is yoga so good before bed?

We may not think we hold much tension in our body, but by stretching before bed and focussing on slow mindful breathing it can really help to calm the body and mind.

Use your breath as a guide, to move and calm the body and mind. Your breath can tell you if you’ve gone into a pose too deep or whether you have the space to go a little further.

Yoga can help you get to know your body a bit more and you can start to become more in tune with it. Noticing your energy levels or being aware of areas that need a bit more attention.

Liz’s 5 favourite yoga poses for bedtime

1 Sukhasana / Easy pose – with Brahmari (humming bee) breath and mudra

2 Eka Pada Rajakapotasana / Pigeon Pose – blocks are a great addition for this pose.

3 Gomukasana / Cow face pose – blocks are also a great addition for this pose

4 Viparita Karani / Legs up the wall

5 Savasana / Corpse pose – One of the most important poses in yoga!

Liz’s Book recommendations

Humming breath – Jonathan Goldman and Andi Goldman

A little bit of Mantras – Lily Cushman

Mudras for Modern Life – Swami Sarananda

The healing power of sound

Last year I committed to a repeating a mantra 108 times a day for 40 days. I wasn’t strict with myself, but I stuck with it as best I could. I found the main benefit of the mantra to be a calming influence. Great either at the start or the end of the day. I found them most effective if you said them out loud.

Selina asked about the magic of Om (AUM). Often described as the sound of the universe what makes it feel so special when you all chant together in class? Have you been in a class and felt that magical feeling? It can feel pretty special when you all make the same sound, and the wonderful thing is you don’t have to be a trained or experienced singer, we all have this ability within us. It is a similar feeling if you’ve been in a choir. It just feels good. It’s not quite the same over a zoom call but, knowing that you’re sharing an Om can still feel pretty special.

Even if you don’t feel comfortable with an Om then you can just hum. The benefits of humming are huge and can really help us to shift stagnant energy in the body. This is another great exercise to do before bedtime. 5 mins humming, 5 mins focussed breathing, 5 mins savasana.

How I like to wind down at the end of the day

  • A little bit of yoga
  • Catch up with husband
  • Cook a meal together
  • Watch a bit of TV
  • Read a book

My ideal bedtime routine

  • Shower/ bath
  • Clean my teeth and face
  • Jot down daily activities in my 5 year diary – it’s fascinating to see what I was doing a couple of years ago.
  • Recite a mantra – this helps to calm my mind if it’s still busy
  • Pop on my eye mask

How to get back to sleep if you wake up in the middle of the night

  • Get up and go to the loo
  • Pick up a book
  • Recite a mantra
  • Write down any thoughts or ideas to help clear the mind
  • Focus on the breath count down from 20 or count down from 7 to 1. Pick a number which is easy to stick too, and really focus on the breath. For example. 7 inhaling abdomen rises, 7 exhaling abdomen falling, 6 inhaling abdomen rising, 6 exhaling abdomen falling etc…

A misconception about yoga

So many people have said to me that they need to be flexible to do yoga. This is not true! You don’t need to be flexible, it is one of the reasons why we need to keep moving. We’re not meant to be still all the time – keep moving to keep the body healthy. Shop around to find the yoga class that suits you.

Sometimes you may feel that you aren’t good enough to join a yoga class but it’s not about being good at yoga it’s about being comfortable in your own body and moving in a way that rewards it. If you’re not sure about a class get on touch with the teacher and ask them for their support. I would recommend a small yoga class to begin with so you can get the individual attention. Let the teacher know you are new and chat about any concerns you may have.

Have you mastered any poses?

I always feel like yoga is maintenance for the body – keeping my joints supple. I don’t have any yoga poses I’m working towards, but I enjoy experimenting with the odd pose every now and then. A lot of people are drawn to the aesthetics of a pose, but I try to focus on what feels good for me. How do you feel in aesthetically pleasing poses? Does it feel good? For some people it will feel amazing and for some people you know by looking at a pose that it’s not for you.

Future projects

Some highlights of the members online content

  • 20 minute evening yoga practice
  • Chair yoga
  • Bedtime yoga: I trust, I let go
  • Yoga for energy, immunity, stamina and endurance
  • 20 minute morning practice
  • No knees Pilates
  • Pilates – Core and Hip stability
  • Pilates with hand weights, ball and band to strengthen shoulders and hips
  • Pilates – Swiss ball – core strength and balance
  • Humming meditation
  • Sansula sounds meditation
  • 13 min guided meditation for pain management

Fancy joining us for bedtime yoga?

Tuesdays 8:45-9:45pm on Zoom in the comfort of your home

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