10 Steps for a Good Night’s Rest
Step 1: Deep Breathing
Sit with a pillow under your hips. Place your hands on your lap or knees and close your eyes.
Bring awareness to your breath and feel it move through your body—the rise and fall of the belly, the lifting and softening of your chest.
Start to count your breaths. Inhale for four slow, steady counts, and exhale for four slow, steady counts. Continue this for several rounds.
Do 10 rounds of this breath work at a gentle pace, and then allow your breathing to ease back into its natural rhythm.
Step 2: Neck Stretch
Keeping your shoulders neutral, bring your left ear towards your left shoulder to stretch out the right side of your neck. Tip your chin up and down a few times until you find a desired stretch, and then stay for 10 long breaths. Bring your head back to neutral, pause for a while, and then repeat the same pose on the right side.
Step 3: Side Stretch
On an inhale, stretch your right arm up by your ear. As you exhale, stretch towards your left side, using your left hand on the bed as support. Bend your right elbow and lightly rest your hand behind your head. Stay for 10 long breaths, and then slowly return to centre. Bring your arms down beside you and rest for a few moments, before you repeat the pose on the other side.
Step 4: Half Dragonfly
Extend your right leg out in front of you. Bend the left knee and bring the foot towards or onto your right inner thigh. Layer one or two pillows on top of your right leg. Now inhale and lengthen your spine, and as you exhale, gently hinge your torso forward to fold over the pillows. Stay here for 10 long breaths, and then slowly lift your torso back up. Pause for a few moments, and then repeat on the other side.
Step 5: Caterpillar
Extend both legs out in front of you (you can keep your legs together or far apart depending on your comfort level). Layer your pillows on top of your legs. Inhale and lengthen your spine, and as you exhale, gently hinge your torso forward to fold over the pillows. Stay here for 10 long breaths.
Step 6: Windshield Wipers
Lying on your back, bend your knees and separate your feet slightly further than hip width apart. Soften your shoulders and upper back into the bed, and place your arms in any position that feels comfortable.
As you exhale, allow both knees to fall to the left side. You should feel a stretch in your right thigh or outer hip. For more support, place a pillow underneath your left thigh. Stay for 10 long breaths, and then slowly return to centre. Pause for a few moments, and then repeat on the right side.
Step 7: Sleeping Swan
Lie down on your back, supporting your head with a pillow if you prefer. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the bed, about hip width apart. Bring your left ankle to rest on top of your right thigh. You can stay here, or for a deeper stretch, lift your right knee up towards your chest, thread your left arm in the space between your legs, and interlace your fingers either around your right hamstring or shin. Stay for 10 long breaths and then slowly release the pose. Pause for a few moments before repeating the pose on the other side.
Step 8: Reclined Butterfly
Bring the soles of your feet together and your knees out to the side, creating a diamond shape with your legs. If your outer thighs don’t rest comfortably on the bed, place a pillow under each knee for extra support. Slide the feet closer to your groin for a deeper stretch in the hips and thighs, or bring the feet further away for a less intense stretch. Soften your body back into the bed, place your hands on your belly and stay for 10 long breaths, feeling your belly rise and fall. Slowly ease out of the pose by bringing your knees together and pressing your feet into the bed. Rest for a few moments.
Step 9: Legs up the Wall
Scoot your body sideways against the headboard and swing your legs up the headboard. Place a pillow under your head and/or lower back for more support if you prefer. Rest your hands in any position that feels comfortable, close your eyes and stay here for up to five minutes. Allow your mind to drift and your breath to naturally deepen. To come out of the pose, bend both knees and pivot them to one side. Rest for a few moments.
Step 10: Deep Rest
Slide under the covers and assume any position that feels intuitive and comfortable. Close your eyes, relax your jaw and facial muscles, and tune in to the natural rhythm of your breath. Stay with your breath's wave-like rhythm and allow it to slowly lull you to sleep.