Mornings can be difficult. Although you may imagine yourself relaxing and doing stretches, writing in your gratitude journal and drinking tea from your soft white sheets, reality is that you are more likely to curse your alarm clock, get up and fiddle with your coffee machine than to actually take time for yourself during the day.
It is a powerful moment to set the tone for everything that comes. Set a goal for what you want to achieve. This is why we make New Year's resolutions. It is also why we take a long, often pivotal, pause before each class. It's also why, as new research shows, we should take a few moments for ourselves every morning before we start our day.
Imagine setting your intentions for the day as easy as stretching your muscles first thing in morning. What if you didn’t even have to get out of bed? This 5-pose sequence can help you to stretch in your bed for just a few seconds after waking up.
5 Morning stretches you can do right from bed
You send a subconscious message to your brain that self-care should be your top priority by taking the time for gentle movement first thing in the morning. There is no perfect situation. It doesn't take 30 minutes to do this. You can have a quiet home or chant in the background. All you need is yourself.
Reclining Side Stretch
Why the morning stretch is so helpful: Research shows that we are more tall when we wake up than we are when we go to bed. Because we are fighting against gravity throughout the day, this flattens the discs between the vertebrae, or cushioning. Side bending allows you to feel the extra space that your rest has provided.
How To: Start above or below your covers and inhale overhead. Grab your elbows and grab your shoulders. Keep your legs straight and extend your legs beyond your hips. Cross your left ankle over your right, keeping your legs straight. Inhale and lean towards the right, opening your left side. For 10-15 deep breaths, stay here. You can then come out by separating your legs into a V shape. Switch the clasp on your elbows and continue the process on the opposite side.
Reclining Tree Pose
Why the morning stretch is so helpful: This position helps to release your hips and allows you to stand tall in yourself and your day. You can also rest your hands on your lower belly to increase your awareness and breath. This is the manipura (or navel chakra) that is connected to your self-confidence and self-esteem.
How to: From a supine Tadasana or Mountain Pose, bend your right leg and bring your right hand towards your left thigh. For a mild inner thigh relaxation, let your right thigh open and allow your right foot to sink into your bed. Place your hands on your lower belly, and begin to ignite your core. You can stay here for 10-15 minutes before switching sides.
Figure 4 - Seated
Why this morning stretching helps: You can either sit upright or place your chest forward to open the hips. This is especially useful if you commute or are seated for long periods.
How to: Start seated at the edge your bed with both feet hip-width apart. Place your right foot over your left leg and stand straight up. Slowly stretch your hips by taking a few deep breaths. To increase your hip release, you can bring your hands into Prayer Pose and extend your arms out to your side. Reach your chest toward the wall by extending your spine. Take 15 deep breaths and then stand up.
Cow and Cat Seated
This morning stretch is important: You'll be combining movement and breath to awaken your mind and body.
How to: Sit down at the edge your bed, with your feet about hip distance apart. On an inhalation, place your hands on your knees/shins. Next, lift your chest and arch your spine. Exhale and round your spine. Then, lower your head and bring your sit bones under you. Repeat this 10 times.
Lie down forward (Uttanasana).
This morning stretch is important: Take this precious time to be still and think about what you would like to bring to your day. Your heart should be drawn forward to show you are leading from your heart. Letting your head touch the floor signifies that your mind can relax.
How to: Sit on the edge your bed, and inhale. Reach your arms up overhead. Exhale and fold your hips forward. To help fold your hips a bit deeper, you may need to slightly extend your feet. Move your arms forward and place your fingertips on your fingertips. Then, use your hands to move your heart forward. Let your head hang free, releasing your back and bowing to your heart. Take 15 deep, slow breaths.
Also see 7 Yoga Posses to Open Your Heart & Shoulders
From Yoga Journal
The first Oxygen Mag article was 5 Morning Stretches You Can Do from Your Bed
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