by Holly Walck Kostura, certified Iyengar yoga teacher
On the day after Thanksgiving, I left for India to study with Geeta Iyengar at her 70th birthday intensive. At the gathering, 1,500 practitioners represented 57 countries from around the globe with one intention: to practice yoga.
It was the most precious experience of my life to receive Geeta's teachings, deeply inspired from her own 50-plus years of practice and studies with her father, B.K.S. Iyengar.
Each day after classes, I practiced restorative yoga and pranayama. This helped me to recover from the intensive asana classes and, perhaps even more so, shielded me from the negative effects of flying almost 20 hours across multiple time zones.
One of the main symptoms of "jet lag" is interrupted sleep, and this sequence provided me with deep, dreamless sleep throughout the entire trip. It's especially appropriate during the holiday season, when our bodies need to rest but our minds may continue to whirl (think visions of sugarplums), even though they're resting on a pillow. I hope this sequence provides all of you with the deep, nourishing sleep you truly deserve.
A Yoga Sequence for a Good Night's Sleep
Reclining Hero's Pose (Supta Virasana)
Reclining Bound-Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Supported Relaxation Pose with Deep Breathing (Salamba Savasana with Ujjayi Pranayama)
Note: Each of these postures has a specific area of focus during the inhalation. They build upon one another and culminate in Stage I of Ujjayi Pranayama (the Conqueror's Breath), which is deep, even breathing, and Stage II, when the exhalations become longer and deeper than the inhalations.
Holly Walck Kostura uses the healing practices of Ayurveda and Iyengar Yoga to secure her to the core of her being. Combining her bachelor's degree in nursing with her certification in Iyengar Yoga gives her the ability to approach her students from a place of wholeness and infuse her yoga classes with a unique flavor. Find her online at yogawithholly.com.
For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com