Rianne wolswinkel logo

Pose of the Month November:
Sleeping dog

Learn to wholly let go with sleeping dog. Surrendering into the support and the ground below and you are being.

Bringing your attention inwards.

We’ve fully arrived in autumn. Most leaves have fallen from the trees, it’s colder and darker. A time of more yin. We’re also heading towards the holiday season, which some people really enjoy and some really don’t, but generally it’s a busy time and involves a lot of food.

So this month; sleeping dog. One of the poses that, for me, really draws the attention inward. It can also stimulate the internal organs if you choose to use the roll. Using this option can really help you become more aware of the belly area, not just an area of digestion, but also a space of feelings, our so called ‘gut feelings’. But without the roll it’s just as amazing.

If you’d like to practice this pose fully guided then check out the youtube video here.

restorative yoga pose sleeping dog

How to practice
Sleeping dog:

Place the bolster lengthwise in front of you. Place the folded, small towel at the top end behind the bolster on the floor, this will support your forehead when you lie down. If you want to use the roll under the belly, roll the blanket into a firm roll. Place the roll in the middle of the bolster.

Place yourself face-down on the bolster, knees apart. Your knees should be supported by the ground. If that feels to hard you can place a blanket below your knees and lowerlegs. If the stretch of your foot doesn’t feel comfortable you can roll the end of the blanket, to have a roll below the ankles (not shown in the picture, but I now always have that).

The roll for the belly needs to be just below the navel. Experiment with the thickness (not too thick). Your upperbody, up to the chest and breastbone, is fully supported by the bolster, but the throat is completely free. Your head will gently bend forward and your forehead rests on the small towel. The arms are relaxing forward on the floor, either palms down to relax, or palms up as a gesture of giving and surrender. You can also place your arms alongside your body, but make sure that you place support, like a block, below each shoulder. We don’t want unsupported joints!

Be comfortable and enjoy!

This is a great pose to explore with eyepillows or sandbags. Use them between the shoulderblades, on the lowerback or wherever, to help you bring your awareness to that area as you practice the silence. Be in the pose for 5-20 minutes, present with your breath and bodily sensations. Sense how there is pressure on the front body. And notice how the back body is free to move as you breathe. Feel free to remove the roll if it becomes uncomfortable.

To come out of the pose, bring your hands below the shoulders and slowly push yourself up to a sitting position. You can also bring yourself to a supported childspose. Stay there for a couple of breaths and notice the change. Then, whenever you’re ready, continuing with the rest of your day.

If you enjoy these kinds of practices, check out my online self-guided journeys. I’ve recorded The Art of Not-Doing restorative packs for you. With these packs you can chose which 20 min restorative practice you want to practice. It also included separate audios with a different guidance once you’re in the pose, to vary the practice.
You can find them here in the shop.