Yoga in bed
Trouble with your sleep? Try the pyjamas, socks and duvet routine before turning off the lights. By Victoria Jackson
Do you have a favourite time for your yoga practice? I love mid-morning, late enough that I can digest a light breakfast but early enough that the whole day is still ahead of me. It’s such a nice relaxed start to the day, it totally puts me in my happy place. But unfortunately this is mostly a weekend treat for me, as weekdays I’m busy with my office job. So annoying how work gets in the way of yoga!
And my work is proving unusually stressful at the moment. I am working on a complicated project and the jargon of deliverables, critical paths, key dependencies and so on are filling my waking hours.
And, worse, they’re also creeping into the hours when I should be sleeping. I’m waking up in the night with a nagging feeling I missed doing something important or I’m fretting vaguely about upcoming meetings and whether I’ll get everything done in time. I haven’t found working life this stressful in a long time and I’m not enjoying it one little bit!
Of course, I know yoga is a great tool for managing stress as well as sleeplessness. My usual vinyasa practice is wonderful in many ways and is something of a general stress-buster, but it’s not quite right for my insomnia.
Just lately I’ve got into the routine of some gentle pre-bed yoga to see if that will help. I get my PJs on early after a hot shower and I go to the bedroom to take some gentle stretches on the bed. Lying on the soft duvet is so comfortable and there are cushions and pillows at hand to make a restorative yoga nest.
I start by easing a bit of the tension out of my shoulders and then lie down for hamstring and hip stretches and spinal twists which leaves my body feeling really nice and loose. I like to end with a long legs up the wall with cosy socks on to keep my feet warm. All I need to do then is scoot myself around and slide under the duvet, hopefully relaxed enough to drift off to sleep.
Of course yoga isn’t a cure-all, and I can’t say I sleep perfectly every night, but it is certainly helping. Judith Hanson Lasater, the great mama of restorative yoga, says you can’t force relaxation but you can set up the right conditions to allow it to arise. I reckon she’d approve of my pyjamas, socks and duvet routine.
Victoria Jackson lives and teaches in Oxford. She is registered with Yoga Alliance Professionals as a Vinyasa yoga teacher. Visit: victoriajacksonyoga.com or find her on Instagram @victoriajacksonyoga