Yin yoga poses
from the warmth and comfort of your own bed
Do you feel as if you ache from head to toe the minute that alarm goes off on a Monday morning? Are you in the habit of repeatedly hitting the snooze button to delay the pain of hobbling out of bed, back hunched, neck crooked and moral lacking? Well instead of those extra snoozes why don’t you try gently waking and mobilising your body with some bed yoga. In particular, your spine the home to your central nervous system, will benefit from these lazy yoga poses that you can perform whilst still lying in bed. You don’t even have to open your eyes if you don’t want to!
You can hold each pose for around 6 slow deep breaths, or if you have plenty of time before you need to get up, then use your 3-5 minute snooze button as an indicator to swap bed yoga poses. Maybe just choose a chilled melody for your alarm if possible! You can even pop on a feelgood playlist such as this one to help set the good vibes for the day.
Place a pillow under the small of your back and bring the soles of your feet together with your knees dropping out to the sides.
This will begin to gently waken up your spine by bringing your back into a supported backbend and a gentle extension. For a slightly deeper backbend remove the pillow from under your head. The act of dropping your knees out to either side will begin to open your hips, inviting space into the area around your sacrum at the bottom end of your spine and encourage a gentle opening in the groin area.
Whilst in the pose try to bring your breath into the centre of your lower belly, known as your Lower Dantien and filling that area up like a balloon on the inhale and then release all stress and negativity from your body as you deflate the balloon on the exhale.
Remove the pillow from your back and drop both knees to one side, turning your head in the opposite direction. Your arms can be out in a T shape or with one arm extended overhead so that you’re looking under that armpit.
Not only will you bring your spine into rotation in this pose, but you will also stretch your outer hips, which can feel tight after a night’s sleep. To play about with moving the stretch around your outer hips and lower back experiment with how close or far away your knees are from your body.
This pose also gently massages your vital internal organs through a light compression, which can be a great way to help kick start your digestive system.
In our day to day, we spend so much time hunched over computer screens and slouched in chairs that it’s great to start the day by inviting some space into the side body and in turn bringing the spine into lateral flexion.
This pose is at sounds, you’re literally making a banana shape out of your body by walking both hands and feet towards one side, whilst keeping both hips and shoulders grounded. You can cross one foot over the other to intensify the stretch around your outer hip and IT band area.
Whilst in the pose focus on breathing into and filling up the space between your ribs.
Pentagon & Snow angels
Start to bring a bit of life into your body by stretching out in a star shape and spreading your fingers and toes as much as you can. Then bring some movement into the pose drawing your arms and legs together then apart again as if you were a child playing in the snow, making snow angels.
Okay, so it’s time to start getting ourselves up, but don’t worry we’ll take it slowly as there’s still one more degree of motion that the spine needs to go through in order to be fully activated; flexion.
Gentler than jumping out of bed and touching your toes. Caterpillar requires you to fold forward from a seated position in order to begin opening up your back body and in particular your tight lower back. Bring some pillows under your front body to prop yourself into a comfy sustainable position and to once again lightly compress your digestive organs. You may also want to do some gentle neck rolls whilst in this pose to release your cervical spine.
The time has come my friends to wake up! But just before you finally pop those feet down into your day ahead, come to cross-legged and roll through a few rounds of seated Cat-Cow in order to move all that lovely energy that you’ve woken up in your spine around your body.
Simply tilt your pelvis forward, inhaling as you draw your shoulder back and open your chest. Then scoop the tailbone forward as you round the shoulders forward, bring your chin to your chest as you exhale.
Now get up, get up, it’s a beautiful day! It’s time to go out there and embrace it.
For more slow deep stretches for the lower back and outer hips click here.