A couple weeks ago I gathered with my fellow yoga teachers who also went through the Roots Yoga Teacher Training program (some with my class, some previous) to practice, connect, and learn from one another. Most of the group did graduate with me so it felt like a mini reunion, but a few didn’t and honestly, it was nice to find connection there.
Anyway, one of the last things we did was talk about our yoga-related goals for September, whether as a student or as a teacher (because reminder – we are ALL students of yoga, even as a registered instructor!). For me, I wanted to get back into the studio as a student and practice for myself, not while teaching a class or strictly at home as I build my classes but something that came up with a couple instructors was building their evening routines.
I loved that they talked about this because it was a great reminder for me that while I have a pretty solid morning routine, it seems to be a lot harder for me (and clearly for others as well) to build that evening routine and stick to it. For whatever reason this seems to be a bit harder but over the last few weeks, I’ve really been trying to work on creating something that feels doable and authentic.
So what are they keys to this evening routine? Let’s break it down.
1. Hot tea with almond milk
I will admit that in the heat of summer, this has been hard to do but if you’re like me and get hit with the evening sweet tooth, this is a trick my old nutritionist taught me years ago. Even with an unsweetened almond milk, the hot tea and little bit of milk helps ease that craving.
2. Laying on my doshamat
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to chat with one of the owners and founders of doshamat and she sent me my very own acupressure mat to try. I’ve been so intrigued by these things and I have to admit that it has not disappointed. Acupressure mats have been shown to have some great benefits on our health including, reduction of pain and soreness, deep calm and relaxation, reduction of stress and anxiety, improved sleep, and faster recovery after workouts (just to name a few).
I knew that if I wanted to give this thing a fair try I would need to test it out on a consistent basis and find a schedule to using the thing. It quickly became something that I would do at home after a long day of work (and honestly usually while watching a show or scrolling IG before bed). And if you’re wondering if it hurts, it’s a little uncomfortable when I first lay down on it but after a minute or so, I settle right in (and have even fallen asleep on it). I am pretty much obsessed now.
3. Gratitude journaling
I’ve been talking about gratitude journaling for years because I have truly seen the way an attitude of gratitude has changed things for me. Even on some of my hardest days, if I take a few moments to be grateful for something in my life, my perspective starts to turn around for the better. I continue to carry this into my yoga teaching, generally putting my students in supta baddha konasana with one hand on their heart and one on their belly and encouraging them to think of something they’re grateful for before we move into our final savasana. I truly believe this is a life changing practice.
4. Reading in bed
I hate to say this but this is probably the hardest for me to stay consistent at but I am working on it because when I do it, I really enjoy it. (Surprise, surprise! ha) Taking some time to read an actual book is so grounding and relaxing for me. Plus, right now I’m re-reading books from childhood (the Laura Ingalls Wilder series!) and is just makes my heart so happy!
Now you’ll notice I didn’t mention a certain TIME and while I do think consistency with the time we wake up and go to bed at night are important, I also know it’s not always going to work out to be that way. So for the sake of what MY evenings generally look like, I start getting tired between 8 and 9, so I’ll start getting myself ready for bed, go through my evening routine and maybe the lights go out at 9:30.
With that said, I now teach yoga Thursday nights with the last class ending at 9pm, then I need to clean up and close the studio and drive 30+ minutes home. Those nights, I’m not going to bed until 10pm at the earliest. Things happen and we do need to make some adjustments which also means on nights like that, most of this goes out the window and that’s OK. To me, creating an evening routine is about the mindfulness of it and then allowing ourselves to be flexible to the other joys and needs that life throws our way. I’m not going to skip out on drinks with friends if I’m having a good time just to be sure I can get through every part of this routine. Make sense?
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Now I want to know…do you have an evening routine and what does it look like for you? What are the challenges you face with creating that routine?