the llama blog
practicing yoga off the mat.
Ahh. It’s the end of the day – a time to unwind and relax. Depending on how the day unfolded will often determine if we reach for that extra glass of wine or choose that extra helping of Brussels sprouts.
We often focus on how we start our days ensuring our minds and bodies are ready for the day ahead. While this is very important, an evening routine is equally important. We need an opportunity to rejuvenate before the next day begins.
How do you relax in the evenings? Do you veg-out on the couch binge watching ‘Homeland?’ (guilty!) Do you mindlessly surf the internet and social websites? Do you eat quickly with the TV on? No judgment on how you spend your evenings. Observe what you do, and ask yourself, “do I feel more energized after I do X?” If you’re still feeling sluggish and stressed, this may be an opportunity to reevaluate your routine.
The routine we follow can set us up for success or failure the next day. Eating heavy, fried foods may lead to indigestion and a restless night of sleep thus making us groggy and irritated the next day.
Incorporate any of the following to bring more rejuvenation and closure to your day.
1. Eat with the TV and all electronics off. Go back to the days when families sat at the dinner table and had conversations. Interacting with your loved ones and savoring your dinner opens your heart and strengthens your connection with the people you love the most.
2. Prep for the next day. Often we spend more time choosing an outfit and making our lunch then are rushed to make it on time for work. Hang an outfit in the bathroom the night before. Wrap up the majority of your lunch while preparing dinner.
3. Read a book or write in a journal. Watching TV and surfing the internet is actually stimulating which means it revs up your energy vs. allowing you to unwind. Snuggle up and read a chapter in your book. Or jot down your thoughts, worries and/or gratitudes in your journal. Sometimes just coloring on a page will calm you enough to breathe deeper.
4. Breathe and meditate. Light a candle. Turn on soothing tunes and find a comfortable seat. Breathe deeply. Think of this time as “filing” your thoughts for the next day.
5. Practice gentle yoga. Sitting all day wears on the body and can affect our sleep. Try some gentle poses like low lunges, happy baby, child’s pose, pigeon, reclining twists and savasana.
6. Wash your face. If you’re a morning bather, it’s good to rinse off the day before settling into bed. Ayurveda would also recommend rinsing your tired feet too.
I can confirm an evening routine is beneficial not only for myself but also for my family. As our body recognizes the routine, it sends signals that sleep is coming. Find a practice that meets your lifestyle and utilize the evening to change the course of your day.