A new day has come. You’re hitting your snooze button one-two-ten (!) times, failing to resist the temptation to sleep for ten or (at leeeast) five precious minutes more. Then you kick yourself out of bed and rush into your day like a tornado – or do the opposite and slowly trudge to the kitchen, craving a cup of coffee to finally wake you up. Your body feels lethargic and tense, you can’t focus, and your mind is anything but peaceful…
If this sounds familiar, it’s high time to make a change! It’s science-backed that the way you spend your morning has a HUGE impact on the rest of your day, your overall health, brain productivity, nervous system stability, and general emotions and mood. The good news is that it’s not a Mission: Impossible to be more mindful in the morning. There is actually one pretty simple but effective way to start your day on a more harmonious note, and no, you don’t have to get up and hit the gym hard for an hour. A simple yoga practice will suffice and – wait for it! – you can do it right in your comfy bed!
Benefits of practicing yoga in the morning
The effects of morning yoga are well-studied. It helps you be more balanced and in the present moment quickly after waking. It mobilizes your outer and inner resources by toning your body and clearing up your mind, making you feel both physically and mentally strong for whatever the day brings.
Yoga is proven to reduce cortisol levels. This stress hormone naturally tends to be the highest in the mornings as it gives our body the boost needed to wake up from sleep. A rushed morning routine triggers even more cortisol production, so your brain sets you up for a stressful day. Starting your morning with an enjoyable yoga practice may help you reduce anxiety and worries and face the day with a more positive approach, and maintain this happy and relaxed feeling throughout the day.
Next to its restoring and soothing effects, morning yoga (and yoga in bed!) is also energizing and reinvigorating. If done properly, yoga asanas can make you feel more alert and alive, as the movement and breathing techniques enrich the cells with fresh oxygen and enable you to release any stagnant feelings. It also helps you release the fuzzy build-up between muscles, back pain, and tension that often occurs after a night of sleep.
Engaging in some healthy movement first thing in the morning helps you wake up all body systems and enhance blood and lymph flow circulation to activate the immune system.
Yoga poses gently massage your internal organs, which boosts metabolic processes and stimulates your digestive system, helping your body get rid of toxins and better absorb vitamins and minerals from food.
A simple sequence of yoga poses can also be a powerful way to set a clear and thoughtful intention for the day that may significantly heighten your productivity and allow you to control your mood, while keeping a positive outlook despite any external stimuli.
10 amazing in-bed morning yoga poses
We’ve rounded up ten amazing “rise and shine” yoga asanas for you to feel fabulous as another beautiful day begins. All you need to do to get started is … stay in your bed!
1. Balasana / Child’s Pose
Why: Balasana will calm the mind, relieve stress and fatigue, reduce back and neck pain, and stretch the hips, thighs, and ankles. It’s known as a restful pose, so you can also do it in between more active yoga poses.
How: Get on your knees. Fold your big toes together and sit on your heels, then spread your knees hip-width apart. As you exhale, place your torso between your thighs and lay your hands on the floor alongside your torso, palms up, with the front of your shoulders lowered towards the floor.
2. Marjaryasana / Cat Pose paired with Bitilasana / Cow Pose
Why: Both cat and cow poses provide a gentle massage of the spine and belly organs. Cat pose stretches the back torso and neck while cow pose stretches the front torso and neck.
How: Get on all fours and make sure that your knees are right under your hips and your wrists, elbows, and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor. As you exhale, round your spine up and lower your head to the floor. As you inhale, lift up your sitting bones and chest, allowing your belly to sink towards the floor. Raise your head to look straight.
3. Bhujangasana / Cobra Pose
Why: Bhujangasana is believed to help combat stress and fatigue, strengthen the spine, relieve lower back pain, open the chest, heart, and lungs, stretch shoulders and abdomen, stimulate abdominal organs, and firm the glutes.
How: Lie prone on the floor. Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Press your feet and thighs firmly against the floor. As you inhale, slowly straighten your arms to lift your chest off the floor. Distribute the backbend evenly throughout the entire spine.
4. Ardha Matsyendrasana / Half Lord of The Fishes Pose
Why: Ardha Matsyendrasana energizes the spine, stretches the shoulders, hips, and neck, helps to stimulate proper digestion, the liver and kidneys functions, relieves menstrual discomfort and backache.
How: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Slip your left foot under your right leg to the outside of your right thigh and lay it on the floor with the outside. Place your right foot on the floor behind your left thigh with your right knee pointing straight towards the ceiling. As you exhale, turn towards the inside of your right thigh. Place your right hand on the floor just behind your right buttock and put your left hand on your right knee. Bring the front of your torso and the inside of your right thigh tightly together. Twist a little more with each exhale. Make sure to distribute the twist evenly throughout the entire length of your spine.
5. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana / Bridge Pose
Why: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is known for stretching the chest, neck, and spine, rejuvenating tired legs, calming the brain and reducing headache and insomnia, helping alleviate stress and anxiety, stimulating abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid, improving digestion, relieving menstrual discomfort and the symptoms of menopause.
How: Lie supine on the floor, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor with your heels as close to the sitting bones as possible. As you exhale, press your feet into the floor and lift your buttocks until your thighs are about parallel to the floor. Extend your arms and clasp your hands below the pelvis and try to stay on the tops of your shoulders.
6. Paripurna Navasana / Boat Pose
Why: Paripurna Navasana helps strengthen the spine, abdomen, and hip flexors, stimulate the kidneys, thyroid, prostate glands, and intestines, improves digestion and alleviates stress.
How: Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Press your hands into the floor behind your hips. Lift your upper sternum, slightly lean back, and sit on your two sitting bones and tailbone. As you exhale, bend your knees, and then lift your feet off the floor so that your hips are at a 45-50 degree angle to the floor. If you can, slowly straighten your knees, raising the tips of your toes just above your eye level. Stretch your arms alongside your legs parallel to each other and the floor.
7. Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Why: Adho Mukha Svanasana is proven to provide a full-body stretch, strengthen the core, open the shoulders, tone the arms and legs, lengthen the hamstrings and calves, and improve circulation.
How: Get on all fours with your wrists just below your shoulders and your knees just below your hips. As you exhale, press your palms into the floor, take your knees off the floor and lift your pelvis towards the ceiling. Inhale and tuck your toes under. Exhale and push your hips back and up. Smoothly straighten your legs, not locking the knees, and bring your body into the shape of the letter “A.”
8. Ustrasana / Camel Pose
Why: Ustrasana can help build confidence, improve posture and combat slouching and effects of desk-job body, strengthen your back muscles and relieve back pain, stretch your abdomen, chest, shoulders, hip flexors, and thighs quadriceps, firm back of your thighs and glutes.
How: Kneel so that your hips are perpendicular to the floor and your knees and feet are hip-width apart. Your pelvis should be in a neutral position, spilling neither forward nor backward, and stay directly over your knees. As you exhale, put your hands on your heels, press your shoulder blades forward and up, and curve your thoracic spine to lift your chest.
9. Eka Pada Kapotasana / One-Legged Pigeon Pose
Why: Eka Pada Kapotasana is known to stretch the outside of the hips, hip flexors, thighs, groins, psoas, lower back, and abdomen, stimulate the abdominal organs and support digestion, and alleviate stress.
How: Get on all fours. Bring your right knee left and forward to the left wrist level, flip it over and put the backside up on the floor. Slowly bring your left leg back, straightening your knee and lowering the front of your thigh to the floor. Lower your right buttock to the floor from the outside. Make sure your right heel is directly in front of your left thigh. As you exhale, place your torso on the inner surface of your right thigh with your arms extended forward. Then move your hands to the front calf, press your fingertips firmly against the floor, raise your torso and keep your pelvis in the upright position.
10. Padmasana / Lotus Pose
Why: Padmasana calms the brain, stimulates the pelvis, spine, abdomen, and bladder, stretches the ankles and knees, eases menstrual discomfort and sciatica. Lotus is also a foundation for meditation practice.
How: Sit on the floor, extend your legs, straighten your spine, and place your arms at your sides. Bend your right knee and put your right ankle over the crease of your left thigh. Then bend your left knee and put your left ankle over your right shin. The soles of both feet should be facing up. Draw your knees as close together as possible. Sit up straight with your hands on your knees, palms facing up, and bring them into Gyan Mudra, making a circle with your index and thumb fingers and keeping the rest of your fingers extended.
Voila! Your in-bed morning yoga session is accomplished, and you’re ready to face the day feeling fresher, lighter, and definitely more awake than you do with your old snooze button routine. Namaste, and have a fab day!
Go to dailyburn.com for more yoga workouts.
All images via Shutterstock