Have you ever been told “looks like someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed!”? Whether true or not, starting your day with a crabby outlook is no fun for anyone. But not anymore! Doing yoga first thing in the morning has countless mental and physical benefits. From awakening your senses and reducing stress to cultivating a sense of purpose, increasing flexibility and openness within the body, yoga is an art that has the ability to wake up every cell in your body and improve the quality of your day. While many people rush through mornings frantically, not realizing its importance, this morning yoga sequence will make sure you start your day on the right foot! And the best part? You can do it all within the confines of your own bed.
Think about it. How many mornings become a frantic blur designed solely around getting you out the door on time? By simply setting your alarm 15 or 20 minutes earlier you could change not only the course of your morning but the course of your day by using yoga to mold your attitude, open your senses and set a tone of peace in both body and mind. 15-20 minutes! That’s all it takes! Here are just a few of the benefits you could see:
You might not actually need to “adjust” quite so early, but you will certainly set the tone! Part of your yoga time is your meditation which can focus on gratitude. When you start the day being thankful, a lovely attitude and demeanor is sure to follow.
*Improve Digestive Health
With just a few bends, twists and folds you massage your internal organs and give your digestive system a boost to start the day. Add a glass of lemon water and you’ll be energized, feeling clean and moving with a little bounce in your step.
*Increase Breath Awareness
All that amazing yoga breathing you do really works – until you forget to use it. The benefit of starting your day with that breath is to bring it top of mind. As soon as you hit your first traffic jam or work crisis you’ll remember to take those deep breaths, know you can’t control the circumstances, but acknowledge you CAN control your response.
When much of your day is spent hunched over a computer keyboard, a steering wheel, a kitchen stove or perhaps a small child or two it can really wreak havoc on your back. Why not begin the day doing something healthy for your spine including moving it in a 6 directions it was intended to move!
*Better Health Choices
Starting your day rushing, running and reacting can lead you to make other health choices that way too. A donut or sugary coffee drink can hit your lips before you have time to consider the consequences. And it’s all too easy to work through lunch and eat at your desk instead of getting up and taking a walk to clear your mind. When start the day with a mind-body practice you have an increased awareness of yourself which will lead to better choices all day long.
Convinced? Here are six yoga poses you can do first thing tomorrow morning before you even roll out. So set that alarm, and get your morning yoga on!
- Child’s Pose
The first pose you want to do is the Balasana pose, known as the child pose. This feels great to the body, especially at the beginning of the day, since it’s calming and relaxing. You should start from a kneeling position with your knees wide open. Allow your chest to lie down in between your knees and your hips to rest onto your heels. Your arms should be stretched out in front of you, but your shoulders relaxed. Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds to a minute, while your whole body melts down into the bed.
- Cat and Cow Pose
The next pose is a movement made out of Marjaryasana and Bitilasana. This pack of poses will let your body flow from the cat to the cow position, while giving your core and back a nice stretch. Start with your hands and knees on the bed, a table position with your wrists lined with your shoulders and your knees lined with the hips. Inhale as your body starts flowing into the cat pose while rounding your spine and stretching it up. Contract your core as your chin touches your chest, and stay like that for a few seconds before flowing into the cow pose. Exhale as you stretch your belly toward the bed, lifting your head and butt up. Stay like that for a few seconds, before you flow back into the cat pose. Repeat this movement at least 5 to 10 times, before heading to the next pose.
3. Seated Forward Fold
The Paschimottanasana is the perfect posture to open your backside body, starting from the hamstrings, back and neck stretching and waking all of your muscles. Start in a seated position with your legs straight ahead and your arms over your head. Begin to fold forward with your arms and shoulders, followed by the back and core. Once you find a comfortable depth, relax your shoulders and stay in the pose for 30 seconds.
- Spinal Twist
The Supta Matsyendrasana or the spinal twist pose is a really beneficial stretch as well. It has the power to relax the lower back by opening the shoulders and twisting the supporting spinal muscles. Don’t worry if your back cracks when you do it – that’s a healthy crack! Begin lying on your back, allowing your right leg and knee cross to the right site, over your left leg. Use the left hand to gently pull your right knee down, while twisting your whole body in the opposite direction. Hold like that for at least 30 seconds before you switch to the other site.
- Mountain Pose
Tadasana or the mountain pose is my favorite one. It takes its part in the Sun Salutation sequence, in an upright position, but since we’re doing it in bed, it’s best to do the seated version. Start in a kneeling position, with your hands on your thighs. Inhale, and start lifting up your arms, and as they gather over your head start bending your back. Your core, shoulders, back and arms should stretch as you feel tall and strong like a mountain.Stay like that for 5 deep breaths, as you repeat to yourself “I bend so I don’t break!” That helps a lot in building your confidence and feeling powerful. From this pose, flow back to the child’s pose so that you give your sequence a finalized movement.
- Seated Pose (or Seated Lotus)
And last is Sukasana, a calming conducive and meditative pose that allows your whole body to achieve self-awareness. Begin seated on your bed with legs crossed as comfortably as possible. If you feel your low back rounding or have trouble sitting up tall, sit on your pillow. This will allow for better posture. Bring your hands into prayer position center and stay like that for as long as you feel like, gathering your thoughts as you prepare for the day.
It’s Your Turn Now!
After doing this bed yoga routine, you can warm up a glass of lemon water and drink it while you’re making yourself a nice healthy breakfast full of healthy fats and fiber. Then, take a cold shower, go outside for a few seconds to feel the sun on your skin and enjoy the day!
Remember, it takes just a few minutes of your morning to build yourself a better day, and a small string of good days will lead to a better life. The choice is yours!