Stretches in Bed – Start Your Day the YOGA Way

Getting out of bed some mornings can be a little challenging I know. Perhaps your body is stiff and you just want a few more minutes to rest your aching bones. Well you go right ahead and stay there for just a few more minutes. Yep, stay there and do some morning stretches right in the comfort of your own bed.

I’m going to show you eight different exercises and stretches that will help alleviate some of that stiffness, and get your blood flowing. You’ll be able to pop out of bed energized and ready for your day.

Feel free to do the exercises in whatever order you choose, however, I do recommend starting with a full body stretch.

Morning stretches in bedoverhead stretch

Full body stretch

  • Kick off the covers and stretch your arms overhead. (You may need to scoot down in your bed to give you room). Reach down with your feet at the same time to feel your WHOLE body stretching. Take a few deep breaths

BENEFITS

  • Increases circulation and awareness of your body
  • Stretches your arms, back, neck, legs and feet.

Knees to chest

This pose is also referred as wind-relieving pose or Energy freeing Pose. Yep, wind-relieving.

Believe me, I’m a yoga instructor and it’s not a complete yoga class unless someone “relieves some wind”.  It doesn’t always happen but frequently. No biggie!  We gotta let go of that gas somehow. So if you do relieve some WIND, embrace it and count it as a good thing, especially first thing in the morning. Ok. Now on a more serious note.

  • Bring one knee at a time towards your chest. Take your arms around your legs and give yourself a big hug. (This may be your first and only hug, so make it a good one)!
  • Rounding the spine, bring your forehead towards your knees.
  • Rock side to side to massage out the back.

BENEFITS

  • Stretches the body
  • Eases Tension in the lower back
  • Easy to do
  • Massage the abdominal organs
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Reduces bloating
  • Rebalances your energy
  • Reduce the hip fat
  • Relaxes the mind and body
  • The best pose to relieve gas

Spinal Twist

  • With your knees still drawn towards your chest, let both knees drop over to one side.
  • Take the arms straight out to the side, like the letter “T”.
  • Turn your head in the opposite direction of your knees.
  • Stay there for several deep breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side

BENEFITS

  • Stretches the IT band, glutes, lower back, abs, chest, shoulders and neck
  • Improves spinal mobility
  • Relieves compression at the lower back
  • Relaxes the body and quiets the mind
  • Relieves stress

Feet to sky, ankle circles

  • Lying on your back, lift your legs up so your feet are directly over your hips. Your knees can be bent.
  • Circle your ankles several times in one directions and then change directions.
  • Point and flex your feet a few times.

BENEFITS

  • Moves any stuck or stagnant fluids that have accumulated in the feet.
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Increases circulation and flexibility of ankles and feet
  • Soothing to the low back

Hip Circles

  • Lying on your back, bend both knees and place feet on the mattress.
  • Take one knee towards your chest and then pull your knee over to the opposite side. (It won’t go very far). You should feel a stretch in the outer side of the leg (IT band).
  • Now let the knee drop open away from the body. Move the knee back and forth a few times.
  • Starting with the knee towards the chest, allow the knee to drop out to the side and then slide your foot away from you, straightening the leg out.
  • Bring the knee up towards your chest, slightly rolling to that side, making a complete circle.
  • Do two circles on each side.

Sit ups

My dear friend who just turned 100 years old this month, shared with me that she does 10-15 sit ups every morning before getting out of bed. This amazing woman still lives alone, still cooks her own meals AND exercises every day. She does “Sit and Be Fit” from the television three times a week and always ends each session with the chair yoga sun salutations.  On the other days, she does chair yoga.

So if June can do a sit up at 100 years old, I think we can at least try. She said to me one day “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it”. She is so RIGHT! (More about June coming up).

If you haven’t done a sit up in a while, most likely it’s going to be a little difficult or maybe even impossible. NO WORRIES! You can work up to it.

  • If it’s been a while, start in a seated position.
  • Hold behind your legs for support and start to roll slowly down to a reclined position.
  • Then roll back up. (Hold behind the legs if you need to. If that is still too challenging, only roll down half way).
  • If that is too easy, let go of your legs and do full sit ups.
  • Wanting more of a challenge? Cross your arms over your chest and then do your sit ups.
  • Do 10-15 reps in thoughts of JUNE. More or less depending on your ability and desire.

BENEFITS

  • Obviously, improves core strength
  • Improve hip flexor strength
  • Increase flexibility
  • Help lose tummy fat
  • Tone the ab area
  • Improve posture

Wrist circles

  • Reach your arms up over your chest and simply make several circles with your wrists.
  • Change directions.
  • Do several reps.
  • Make a tight fist and then spread your fingers out as far as they’ll go. Open and closed several times.

BENEFITS

  • Improves circulation
  • Increases mobility
  • Reclined Pigeon Pose

Reclined Pigeon pose

This pose is also referred to as Eye of the Needle pose. It is a great alternative to an upright pigeon pose, which can be very stressful on knees and hips.

  • While on your back and with bent knees, take one foot and place it top of the other thigh. (Just above the knee).
  • Flex the foot that is on the leg.
  • That may be enough stretch for some. If not, gently press the knee away from you to increase the hip stretch.
  • If that is still not giving you the stretch you want: reach your hands behind the leg that is underneath, and pull your leg towards you. (This will increase the stretch in your gluteal muscles).
  • Hold for a few breaths and repeat on the other side.

BENEFITS

Releases tension in the muscles of the lower back, hips and hamstrings.

Opens the hips and reduces the symptoms of sciatica.

Enhances blood flow in the lower back

***CONTRAINDICATIONS***

Those suffering from knee injuries or sacroiliac conditions should avoid practicing this pose. If you experience tingling, numbness or pain in your hips, legs or lower back, immediately stop.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes and do a few stretches in bed. Trust me, you’ll feel better if you do!

more resources for yoga and stretching

Office yoga

Exercise That Anyone Can Do

Tension Release For Neck & Shoulders

Chair Yoga DVD and Book

Jan Howell Yoga YouTube Station

Start your day the yoga way!

jan

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