Good Night Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 3

Restful Night Practice

30 min - Practice


Dana guides us in a slow and investigative flow to move the spine in the five major directions and to release any lower back tension in preparation for a deeply restful night's sleep.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket

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Welcome to the mat. For this practice we have a slow flow practice moving the spine in its five major directions as well as a low back release to prepare you for rest. Please have a blanket if you can and fold it up until it's about as wide as let's say eight inches to a foot wide. We're going to use it later in practice but for now I'm going to sit up on it for a better seat. I'll begin by placing my hands on the knees and think of your cat cow. On the inhale slide your shoulder blades on your back and open your chest and with the big sigh holding onto your knees or your shins move into a forward fold. Inhale drawing the heart forward neck and gaze even lift. Exhale any pace that isn't rushed on the inhale we arch open chest sigh whenever you want rolling back towards an angry cat like spine I'll leave you to it inhaling exhaling feeling free to pause at any time when you feel you need that movement and that breath Next time you move towards center begin to circle your upper body holding onto knees or shins and articulate over to the side and back the other side and forward and as you stir the pot the head might want to take its own trip. Everything's right here everything is slow investigative pausing whenever you like and getting curious about that space and release that a deep breath can bring and at some point switching the direction imagine you're unwinding your day. Eventually these circles get a little smaller and we'll stack the spine and the head on top of it then bring your hands behind you and lace your fingers together as best you can begin to slide your shoulder blades on your back and open up your chest. I love a couple good sighs here breathing in then we'll release and bring the finger lacing in front of us. You can turn your palms and push your palms towards me as you round back and slide the shoulder blades off the back you can allow the head to hang if it works. Breathing especially into the mid-back and finding any pockets of tension that might have been hanging out behind the shoulder blades. Think back breathing puff out your mid-back. Eventually releasing those hands draw your heart forward take a few shoulder rolls bringing the shoulder blades back on the back and sit just for a moment sometimes we already see the difference in the way we feel. Then we'll bring the blanket off the mat and move to hands and knees. Take any little shakes or rolls you need of the knees and sit back in a child's pose. Knees can be wide or consider bringing them together as I'm demonstrating here and begin to walk your hands forward in space even as you send the hips back allow the head to drop. Great time to find that back breathing. Remembering the lungs live in the back as well and your back is made to move with the breath. Eventually walking your hands over to the right side which especially with the left hand head can hang on the arm or down towards the ground whatever feels best in the neck and here I'm feeling the length on the left side and I'm responding by inflating my left side with the breath. Walking my hands through the middle and over to our other side towards the left reaching especially with the right hand and drawing the right hip back surrendering the head. Guiding my awareness to right side where the seam of the t-shirt would touch and allowing that to move with my breath. Walking the hands back to the mat and coming to hands and knees beginning a cat-cow flow. On the inhale sway the back let your lower ribs drop and lift your head. A nice big sigh as you round in like an angry Halloween cat sliding the shoulder blades off the back. Again inhale. Once more angry cat inhale looking forward and belly flop all the way down. Flowing cobra. Now move your hands please wider than your mat flare elbows out so you have a lot of space and on the inhale lift your upper body up and then explore taking circles. As you circle in one direction the head and the shoulders want to have their own journey they might like to move a little different than I'm moving here. And somewhere in here investigate the other side. Perhaps you come a little taller as you circle or perhaps you spend a little bit more time on the mat releasing any tension you might find in the upper body shoulders or spine. Last circle settling down to the earth and bringing your hands close to your low ribs tuck your toes and press your way up to hands and knees. From hands and knees tuck your toes send your seat back and begin to lengthen your legs for downward facing dog. Downward facing dog start to walk it out bending one knee and then the other. Keep moving your weight back into your legs. Maybe one heel can come down at one point. Maybe today. Begin to walk your feet together to touch and even scooch them in a couple more inches. On the inhale lift your right leg up in the air and bend your knee opening the hip. Allow the right foot to fall behind you as best you can. And then just some curious investigative rules of the ankle. You might kick through the leg. You might circle at the hip. All good. Letting some blood and breath come into those legs. And when that investigation is through place the right foot alongside the left. You might look at the feet and notice the difference in the coloring of the leg that's been yogified. The right foot tends to be a little more bright. Next inhale bring your left leg up. Bend the knee and open the hip. Circle that ankle or kick through the leg or even circle at the hip. When that is done please place your foot down and we'll start to walk our feet to the front of the mat. Once we're there feel free to have a bend in the knees and keep your feet about as wide as the hips. You might use two fists to measure out just how wide that is. Hold on to opposite elbows and like I said bend the elbows. I'm sorry bend the knees too and start to pulse a little bit in the legs. You can play with swaying the upper body left and right. Allow the head to be heavy. And at any time in the practice feel free to take a few sighs. Take a breath in and on the next exhale lower your hands down to the ground. Stepping our left foot to the back of the mat in a low lunge. Feel free to come to the tips of the fingers to bring the earth to you. On the inhale lengthen that front leg as best you can and exhale bend. Inhale lengthen. Exhale bend. Inhale lengthen. Exhale bend and tap your back knee down to the earth. Flatten the left hand and on an exhale lift your right arm up into the air and a nice low lunge twist. Take a big breath in and sigh it out. You can always lift that back knee if you want more effort in here. Exhaling. Inhale back knee down. Inhale reach your right arm towards the front of your space and place that right hand down. Walk your right forearm to the right thigh and when this left arm swing it back forward and to the right as if you were pulling a sword out of its scabbard. The hips might want to come forward try not to drop them too low though guys. Reach forward up and to the right with that left hand looking for length across the left side body. Next exhale we'll place both hands down and tuck those back toes lifting the back knee. Hop your left foot in as if to take pyramid pose which you can certainly do placing the left heel down as I'm demonstrating. The legs are as straight as possible making a pyramid or to release the low back begin to spin the back heel out. It's as if I'm pigeon toe to my left foot. Left toes come in my knees are bent and I begin to lengthen both legs thinking of space between the sit bones. Okay the ends of both legs getting a little wider. Please bend both knees spin the left heel in and step your left foot forward to that hips distance. Walk your hands up to your shins this time and actually bring your hands to the outside of the shins. On an inhale take a flat back press into your shins think of widening the sit bones and then on an exhale allow yourself to move forward into the fold. Breathing in. Breathing out. Breathing in. Breathing out lower the hands and now the right foot steps to back of mat. Exhale tips. Next inhale lengthen left leg. Exhale bend. Inhale lengthen. Exhale bend.

Inhale lengthen. Exhale bend tapping the back knee down to your mat. Flatten your right hand and on exhale lift your left arm up into the air. Breathing in. Breathing out. Let the inhale move all the way into your left lung. You can always lengthen that back leg. Flatten your back knee down. Reach the left arm forward and place it down to the earth. Walk the left forearm to the left thigh and now we'll swing that right arm down. Bring it forward up and to the left across body gesture. Breathing in. Breathing out. Breathing in and breathing out. Both hands down now. Tuck both back toes. Lift the back knee and hop the back foot as if to make that pyramid pose spinning the back heel down which is all good. Should feel good across the sacrum. Another option is to bend the knees and to spin that back heel out as if pigeon toed in the back leg. Begin to lengthen both legs as best you can. We're looking for space and width across the sacrum and the low back. And if you're in that kooky back foot with me, bend both knees and then bring that back heel in. Everyone step forward. Feet hips distance apart. Inhale take a flat back. Big loud side. Lacing the hands behind the low back and just get into your shoulders a smidge. Next exhale bring the hands down to the ground. Assisting yourself with your hands on the ground as you bring the feet as wide as your mat. Super wide guys. Toes out as fine if that feels better. Begin to bend the knees in the same direction as the toes and bring your arms forward as if you were hugging a tree. We're going to play with the seat getting a little heavier and you'll see perhaps that I'm toggling a little forwards and backwards.

And it might be that you come down into this half squat. All good. Little effort in the legs or if you feel like it's all right today take that squat. Malasana. I'm bringing the hands to prayer and I'm looking for a nice long spine. Breathing in. Breathing out. Breathing in. Breathing out. Bringing the hands down to the mat behind you. Please assist yourself and bring the seat back to the mat. Alter pose. Hands behind you shoulder distance apart. Slide your shoulder blades on your back. Kick into your heels and lift your seat. If it feels okay with your neck you might surrender the head. If it feels okay with the shoulders you might rock a little bit again. Breathing in. And breathing out. Lowering the seat now. Janusasana. I'll turn so you can see me. The leg goes out and the left foot comes into the inner right thigh. I'm picking my seat up and moving it back so that the upper body really starts to turn towards the straight right leg initiating a gentle twist. Begin to walk your hands over that leg. I even love to bring both hands outside the leg if that feels good in your low left waist or back. Finding an easy cradle for the head. And letting that low back breathe now. Receiving any pressure of the right thigh against the right belly. An encouragement to let go. On your next inhale please lift the head. Begin to walk your hands towards the middle. Folding in between your legs. Stacking the hands any way you see fit. You can even use your blanket as you forward fold. It might be up or cradled in any fashion in the hands. Next inhale please lift your head and slowly make your way upright. I'm drawing in that right leg and I'm straightening out the left leg. The right foot comes to the inside of the left leg and you can pick up the left seat and move it back initiating that twist. Inhale lengthening the spine filling up with breath and then exhale folding over the straight left leg or even over to the left side if that feels good to you. Three breaths or so here. Letting the back move with your breath. Next inhale please lift your head and walk those hands towards the middle. Folding the spine right through the center right through your legs and finding anything that's comfy with your hands. Let every exhale take you a little lower down into the earth. Walking the hands back up gathering in that left leg bending both knees will switch to hands and knees now and if your blanket is nearby fantastic. We're putting this underneath the ribs for sphinx pose. My hips are down my belly's down and I'm just using the blanket as a little encouragement to open up the spine and a little back bend one more time. From here you can gently paw your way forward take your hands to prayer again and allow the hands to cradle the head. There at what the yogis call the third eye point is an acupressure point. Using your thumbs without much force start to smooth out your brow. Great for relaxation. Drawing your hands back close to your low ribs and from there press the hands and knees. Gather your knees in tiled pose. Blanket is there for your forehead. I'll leave you to it. Draw the arms down alongside the body this time for a more traditional ballastina and enjoy. You might stay in your child's pose a much longer time. When you're ready to move come to hands and knees and glide that blanket back under your hips. Avoid the belly especially if you've eaten recently and try to line up that blanket with the top of your hips that bony landmark or maybe a little higher up whatever feels good here. Trust that intuition. Now I'm flopping my heels back because that provides a lot of space across my low back. Try it where you're at. This is the suvta shavasana. Another form of shavasana on our bellies. Stack your hands and place that same third eye point on the topmost hand. If you turn to face the side that's fine too guys. In a comfy place where the arms can relax. Letting go. Bringing your awareness to the belly. Feeling that gentle massage of the earth underneath you. Finding the slow rhythm of the breath as if it were whispering to you. Inhale, let. Exhale, go. Let. Go. Let.

Go. Let. Thank you very much. Thank you. Feel free to stay in this shape as long as you like. If your head was turned to one side, try the other side too.

For now, I'll rise to my hands and knees. Join me whenever you like. Come to sit. Placing one hand on the belly, one hand on the heart, and closing the practice with a quiet internal Aum. Breathing in.

Aum. Rest easy. Namaste.


Joan J
4 people like this.
Thank you Dana for this lovely, gentle restorative practice.  So good for my low back, I will do this often.  Look forward to your next session 🌾
Dana Slamp
3 people like this.
Thank you, Joan!  We're so happy to offer this show, and there's more to come.  Sleep well, Dana
Jenny S
5 people like this.
Oh I love this show concept...this episode was one sweet moment after another. I confess it’s not my bedtime yet, but I couldn’t wait to check this out! I’ll practice this again right before bed on those evenings I’m feeling wired or stressed. This was really relaxing 💤💤💤💤😴
Dana Slamp
2 people like this.
Thanks so much, Jenny!   We're so happy to bring you this season, and have some more delicious classes coming that you can take anytime Thanks for recommending it, and enjoy!
Kate M
3 people like this.
Such an important application of asana practice! As I get older, my sleep pattern can get disturbed. This practice is very therapeutic.
Dana Slamp
2 people like this.
Thanks so much, Kate.  The same thing is happening to me (sleep/age).  We’re so happy to have this series beginning, and that it was therapeutic for you!
 Warmly, Dana
Helen K
1 person likes this.
Thanks Dana, lovely practice. Very soothing 
Dana Slamp
1 person likes this.
You’re welcome, Helen. Thank you!
Glenford N
1 person likes this.
Beautiful  way to wind after my first day in a demanding new job.  Thanks Dana for your  peaceful words and calming practice. Namaste 
Dana Slamp
1 person likes this.
Thanks Glenford.  Happy to hear that it’s working for you, and good luck at the new job!  Warmly, Dana
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