Yoga can be practised anywhere and at any time. Have you ever thought of practising some yoga positions in bed just as you wake up, or maybe even before checking your emails or responding to those early morning texts!
Making an effort to do that little morning yoga helps regulate your hormonal system, energize the body, mind and makes your day calm, more balanced, and healthier – all for just a couple of minutes each morning before you start your day.
If getting into a routine of a few short minutes of yoga at the start or end of the day can make a noticeable difference to your life, let’s not waste time. Let’s begin with just 5 simple positions to practice first thing in the morning in bed, these are designed to be simple, fun and make you feel great throughout your day.
Benefits: Stretches the glutes, chest, and obliques. Improves spinal mobility. Can aid digestion.
1. Lie down on your back.
2. Bend your knees and put the soles of your feet on the floor with your knees pointing up toward the ceiling.
3. Press into your feet to lift your hips slightly off the floor and shift them about an inch to your right. This is an important step because it sets your hips up to stack one on top of the other when you move into the twist.
4. Draw your right knee into your chest and extend your left leg flat on the floor. Keep your left foot actively flexed throughout the pose.
5. Cross your right knee over your midline to the floor on the left side of your body. Your right hip is now stacked on top of your left hip. You can hook your right foot behind your left knee if you like.
6. Open your right arm to the right, keeping it in line with your shoulders. Rest your left hand on your right knee or extend it to make a T shape with the arms. Turn your palms toward the ceiling.
7. Turn your head to the right, bringing your gaze over your shoulder to your right fingertips. You can skip this step if it doesn’t feel good on your neck.
8. On your exhalations, release your left knee and your right shoulder toward the floor.
9. Hold the pose for five to ten breaths before rolling onto your back and drawing your right knee into your chest.
Release both legs to the floor to neutralize your spine for several breaths before doing the other side.
2) Happy Baby Pose
Lie on your back and take your knees towards your armpits to encourage the stretch deeper into the hips. If this feels good take your hands to the outsides of your feet, pull down and begin to encourage your knees towards your armpits.
Here, your feet should stick above your knees, and your lower back should stay put on bed rather than raising up. The action of trying to get the lower back down will lengthen the front of your spine and also multiply the benefits of the pose by helping protect your lower back.
Hold on to this pose for at least 5 deep belly breaths with high attention.
3) Cat/Cow Pose
One pose which is beneficial to everyone.
Getting Into Cat-Cow:
Begin on your hands and knees in Table Pose. Your hips should be set directly over your knees and your shoulders, elbows, and wrists should be in line and perpendicular to the floor. Keep your back straight (like a tabletop) and your spine in a neutral position. Let your neck be long and your eyes soft, looking at the floor. Stabilise your shoulder blades by drawing them down your back.
Once you have established Table Pose, move into Cow Pose. As you inhale, simultaneously lift your sit bones upward, press your chest forward, and allow your belly to sink towards the floor. Lift your head, relax your shoulders away from your ears, and gaze straight ahead.
As you exhale, come into Cat Pose. Simultaneously round your spine outward, tuck your tailbone, and draw your pubic bone forward. Release your head toward the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest. Note: if you have a neck injury, keep your head in line with your torso throughout Cat-Cow.
Go back and forth between Cow and Cat on each inhale and exhale, matching your movements to your own breathing. Do this for 5-10 breaths and try to keep an even distribution of weight between your hands and knees. After your final exhale, end the stretch in Table Pose.
Benefits of Cat-Cow:
Improves posture and balance
Strengthens and stretches the spine and neck
Stretches the hips, abdomen and back
Massages and stimulates organs in the belly, like the kidneys and adrenal glands
Creates emotional balance
Relieves stress and calms the mind
4) Camel Pose
Coming on to a high kneeling position take your hands to the shelf of your glute muscles, using your hands to encourage a downward motion here to protecting your spine.
While strongly upright, lean back just a touch so you feel your front body muscles switching on. With that active start to expand the chest up and slightly back – not allowing lower back to crunch or compress, you’ll end up in a challenging, active half camel pose, perfect for this time in the morning without risking your back.
Practice 3 rounds for just a few breaths, allowing the breath to land in the chest so the lower body can stay supported.
5) Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Come down first to child’s pose and extend your arms forward actively. When you feel balanced stay here for a breath and tuck your toes, lift your hips up to a downward-facing dog.
Here, keep your knees bent and aim to extend your hips up and back all the way from your hands with your weight back towards your feet. Move around as much as you want and feel if any restrictions are in your body, when you’re ready, be still and breath.
A little bit of simple, quick morning yoga can set your day up right. Try and do this before you begin your day and you’ll find yourself calmer, healthier and happier throughout. Good luck and enjoy!