We all have a routine for transitioning from the work and activities of daytime to the quieter, home-centered activities of evening. Some sit down with a glass of wine or a cocktail; some simply change clothes and begin preparing the evening meal. Others practice yoga. While it may seem difficult to carve out 30 or 45 minutes for yoga when you get home, doing so offers the chance for a healthy and effective way to let go of the day and embrace the comforts of home.
Set Aside Some Time for Yoga
Often, the best way to change your routine is to start small with realistic, manageable goals. Dedicate 15 minutes in the late afternoon or evening for personal yoga time. It will work best to do this as soon as possible after you get home. The longer you wait, the easier it is to get distracted by other activities. Fifteen minutes is not much, but it is enough time for several yoga poses. Eventually you may find yourself spending at least twice that long.
An Evening Yoga Sequence
Morning yoga sequences are intended to awaken and energize the body and mind. Evening sequences are intended to quiet and restore the body and mind from the efforts of the day. When this is effective, you will have enough energy for evening responsibilities while also being calm and relaxed enough to sleep well during the night.
A sequence that focuses on inversions and restorative poses is the best way to do this. Start with downward facing dog and uttanasana, the standing forward extension. If time allows, repeat each pose a couple of times and follow with prasarita padottanasana, wide legged forward extension. If you have 30 or more minutes available, include headstand in the middle of this sequence. Then, shoulderstand, a supported setu bandha or bridge pose and viparita karani, legs-up-the-wall pose. Finish your evening yoga sequence with savasana.
Enhancing the Yoga Sequence
Starting with headstand, spend three to five minutes in each pose, if possible, in order to get the full benefits. You can experiment with the sequence, adding or subtracting poses to see what works best for your body. Over time, you will learn to make adjustments depending on what you feel like and what your needs are on that particular day.
Your yoga practice can be used to reinforce the daily and seasonal rhythms of the body and mind. Trying different sequences based on the time of day will help you learn to use yoga in this way. Soon, you will discover that time spent for yoga at the end of day means you enjoy the evening more and sleep well through the night.