There’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep, but lying in the same position for 8 hours can leave you a bit stiff.
If getting out of bed in the morning is an orchestra of whines and groans, try some simple yoga poses to loosen up your stiff muscles and get your blood flowing.
We can’t promise these moves will turn you into a morning person, but at least you’ll have some extra mobility and energy to start your day.
You can hold these poses for anywhere from 30 seconds to 2-3 minutes depending on how much time you have, how comfortable they are, and your chances of falling back asleep if you get too relaxed.
There’s no need to go into anything complicated first thing in the morning. So start simple.
Before you even open your eyes, roll onto your back (if you’re not already there) and give reclined bound angle pose a try. It sounds more complicated than it is.
All you need to do is put the soles of your feet together and let your knees drop open. This will open up your hips.
If it bothers your back, either skip it or try pulling in your stomach, which will push your lower back down to the mattress and avoid any back-bending.
Get the kinks out of your lower back
Sore lower backs are very common because of our sedentary lifestyles.
This reclined lower back twist doesn’t require you to bring your leg all the way down to the bed if you’re not that flexible, so don’t push it.
Simply grab one knee and bring it across your body gently, with the knee bent. If you’re more flexible, you might be able to stretch out the arm on the same side and look in the opposite direction of the twist.
If you’re not flexible, especially in the morning, just take a few deep breaths as you relax as much as possible in the pose.
Always repeat poses on both sides of your body to even things out. One side may be tighter than the other, so don’t expect the pose to look the same on the left and right sides.
Roll out that lower back
Pulling your legs into your chest is a great countermove after you’ve done any twists involving your lower back.
Feel free to rock back and forth in this pose to gently massage your lower back.
Don’t pull too far unless it feels good.
Stretch your hip flexors
This pose is called “Happy Baby” and it looks a little awkward, but it’s a great way to open your hip joints and groin.
If you can’t grab your feet, hold onto your shins. And don’t worry about how far you can bring your knees down.
This pose is great for waking up, partly because it feels so silly and often makes people giggle.
Get that spine in gear
Now it’s time to sit up. Cat and cow pose are a great way to get the rest of your spine and shoulders moving.
This is cat pose. To get into it, get on all fours with your knees under your hips and your palms under your shoulders. Gently round your back while you exhale.
Follow with cow pose
You can do cat and cow as many times in a row as you need to.
To get into cow pose from cat, simply exhale while you arch your back and drop your belly.
For some extra stretch, try pulling your shoulders back.
A forward bend to stretch you from head to toe
You don’t need to be able to grab your feet to try a forward bend.
Simply bend forward and breathe deeply. If you want to stretch, be sure to keep your back straight. If you prefer to hang there without pulling, you’re ok to let your back round.
To the left, to the right
Now it’s time to wake up the sides of your body, which are often tight at any time of day.
Sit in a simple, comfortable cross-legged position and lean to each side with the opposite arm overhead.
Be sure to keep your back straight and don’t round forward.
And if you can’t get your arm on the bed in the direction that you’re leaning, use some pillows to prop it up.
For those with extra time and motivation
Pigeon pose can be challenging, but an excellent way to stretch legs and hips.
If you’re a beginner, this isn’t one to try for the first time in bed.
But if you’ve worked on this pose before, give it a whirl by starting on all fours and bringing one knee forward to rest behind your wrist. Your ankle will go in front of your hip.
Draw the opposite leg back and point your toes. If you’re feeling limber, go ahead and lower down for a few breaths.
And, of course, be sure to do this on both sides.
Cobra or Upward-Facing Dog
From all fours, lower yourself to your belly and place your hands under your shoulders.
Depending on your level of flexibility, push up with your arms and pull your chest forward.
If this bothers your lower back, press your pelvis down or skip this one altogether.
For the extra bold
Advanced practitioners might want to get into bow pose.
If you have some experience with this one, you can start on your belly and grab your feet or ankles and gently pull yourself up with your chest extending forward.
Hold for a few breaths and then lower down.
One for everyone
Child’s pose is a great way to let your body process all the stretching you’ve done as well as relax your back. You can do this with your knees apart or together, based on your flexibility.
Simply sit up on your heels and reach forward with your arms, dropping your head and chest down. If your head doesn’t reach the bed, prop it up on some pillows.
This one could make you sleepy again, so best to end on an energizing note.
One final twist
An upright seated spinal twist is a great way to bring it all together and get your body ready to hop out of bed.
Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position and turn your body to one side. Place one arm behind you and the other on your knee, sit up straight, and twist gently, trying to look behind you.
Make sure you sit up tall and repeat this pose on the other side.
No doubt you’re wide awake now and your blood is flowing.
Just remember that if you have injuries or poses feel uncomfortable, it’s ok to stop. The last thing you need is to pull a muscle first thing in the morning!
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