Do the words ‘tired but wired’ resonate with you? Do you feel exhausted at the end of the day, but unable to fall asleep - your mind a continuous loop of to-do lists, stresses, and worries? Every day, we load our bodies with stress and tension. Our modern lifestyle means that we are constantly plugged in and connected. In order to get that deep, restorative sleep we all crave, we need to release some of that tension.
Cue, the amazing Kimmy Smith! Kimmy from the Fit Mummy Project is an ex-professional athlete, fitness instructor, postnatal fitness specialist, qualified yoga teacher - and (most importantly!) Mum to three little girls. Clearly, a superwoman. Kimmy is on a mission to support and empower women to embrace the journey of motherhood. We asked Kimmy to share a short & sweet yoga sequence that will help you to unwind and de-stress before bed. You can boost the restorative effects of this yoga sequence by rubbing the Goodnight Blend or Calm Blend on your inner wrists and the back of your neck before you begin. Finish off with a short-guided meditation for the perfect night’s sleep.
And don’t worry - you don’t need any yoga experience or even flexibility to enjoy the benefits of this sequence. Yoga can be an emotional, spiritual and mental practice that involves movement. Think about how rushed your life is, and how busy you are. Yoga is like getting a massage, having a cathartic gossip session and meditating all at once. You leave the mat feeling calmer, happier and lighter—and that feeling carries into the way you sleep and how you wake up the following morning. The poses Kimmy's outlined below are perfect for all levels of yogi and will leave you feeling ready for a beautiful night’s sleep. There's even some pose tips for some of the less common poses.
Restore Me - A Short Yoga Sequence for Deep Sleep
Deep Belly Breathing
Did you know that with a big sigh you are on your way to releasing stress? A long slow exhale is one of the most simple and effective ways to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and get out of ‘flight or fight’ mode.
- Find yourself a comfortable seat and place one hand on your heart and one on your belly.
- Breath in deeply for a count of 5-6 feeling the space under your hands expand.
- Slowly exhale for a count of 6-7. As you exhale imagine that you are blowing out any of the stresses, conflicts or worries from your day.
- Repeat 5-6 times.
Child’s Pose or Balasana
This deeply comforting pose helps to clear your mind and also release tension from your hips. It passively stretches the back body and helps to calm the mind. Resting your forehead (the energetic centre of your third eye) on the ground instantly calms the mind and allows your body to feel safe and protected. Hold this pose for 5-10 deep slow breaths continuing to release tension from your day as you breath out.
Downward Facing Dog or Ardho Mukha Svanasana
Who doesn't love downward dog at the end of a long day? This simple inversion feels so good. You can feel the stress melting down your back and shoulders. Down Dog helps to calm the mind and stretch the whole body. Moving your head below your heart reverses the flow of blood and helps to calm the mind and improve circulation. Hold for 10 deep breaths and try to focus your gaze on one point.
Wide Leg Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)
This pose is great for a few reasons. It opens up the hips and hamstrings. It is a gentle inversion which stimulates blood to flow back to the brain and heart. Any forward fold pose also gently compresses the internal organs of the belly. So, it’s a great one an hour or so after dinner to aid digestion and elimination.
Time to get twisty! To enjoy a good night’s sleep, it is a great idea to have digested all of your dinner before you hit the sack. These gentle twists help to stoke the internal fire and boost your digestion. They also help to gently detoxify your internal organs. The great thing about this twist is that it is seated. You can ease into it without having to worry about strength and balance. Inhale to lengthen your spine and as you exhale ease yourself into this twist.
- Start seated on your mat with both legs straight in front of you.
- Bend your right leg towards your chest.
- Rotate your torso toward your right knee.
- Place your right arm behind you and reach your left arm into the sky.
- Bring your left elbow outside of your right knee.
- Inhale to lengthen the spine. Exhale to twist a little more.
- Repeat until you find your limit in the pose. This will be where you can feel the pose working whilst maintaining a deep and even breath.
A lot of yogis believe that we store the energy from our emotions in our hips. That makes this a great pose to help release some of that blocked-up energy and tension from your day. It is also a great hip opener as it stretches your hips, groin, and glutes and can also increase circulation to urinary, digestive and reproductive systems.
If you have had an especially stressful day, spend 2-3 minutes in this pose and really focus your attention on the feelings that begin to bubble to the surface. Consciously exhale any negative emotion and feel your body surrender into the pose.
We are going to marinate in this one for 2-3 minutes each side. This supine twist gives you all the benefits of a twist, but also is a pose where you can allow your whole body to relax and focus solely on your breath.
- Starting on your back with both legs long.
- Hug your right knee into your chest.
- Shuffle your hips slightly to the right to maintain a neutral spine as you twist.
- Extend your right arm to the right and take your gaze to the right.
- Take your right knee across your body to your left-hand side.
- Keep your right shoulder on the ground.
- You may want to place a block or cushion under your right knee.
- Take deep breaths and imagine letting go of anything that needs to be released with each exhale.
- Stay for 2-3 minutes.
- To come out of this pose, hug both knees into your chest before repeating on the other side.