Getting out of bed in the morning is sometimes the most difficult part of the day. But with yoga it can be easier!
Linger in bed a little longer, and use these poses to help make your transition between sleeping and waking that much better. It'll set the tone for the rest of your day, so that you can make it the best it can be.
Try these five yoga poses you can do before you get out of bed in the morning:
Ok, so this first one might not seem like a classical asana, but it’s actually a component of Tibetan Dream yoga, as described by Lama Surya Das. If all yogic practice is a journey of awakening, then the awakening to the new day has its own sacred power, and this moment of transition between the conscious and unconscious can serve to develop flexibility between the two realms. Plus, it’s really easy!
Simply lie on your back, inhale deeply, then release your breath making a constant “ahh” sound (if there’s someone trying to sleep beside you, you can whisper or even simply imagine the sound, the intention will be the same). Then lift up a little, perhaps onto your elbows or higher up the pillow, and again inhale and release with the same “ahhh” breath. Finally, sit up and once again, inhale and exhale with a nice, loud (if possible) AHHHHHH!
AH is also a sacred syllable, centered in the throat, so while it’s relaxing and cleansing, it’s also bringing space into your throat chakra. It’s pretty simple and better than a cup of coffee!
2. Wind-Relieving Pose
This is a three-part pose that is part of the Bikram routine and also recommended for anyone with lower back issues or digestive problems. Even if you’re free of these issues, getting your engine started in the morning is good for you in many ways.
Start by lying on your back in Savasana, bend your right knee, and clasp the shin about two inches under your knee. Keep the other leg straight and foot flexed. Then with your elbows close to your body, draw your knee towards your right shoulder, taking care to avoid your rib cage. Tuck your chin slightly so that you’re looking down the front of the body and allow the knee to move further towards the shoulder. After three, five, or ten breaths, release the leg back down.
Repeat on the left side for the same amount of breaths and return to Savasana.
Now, bend both legs and hug them to your chest, ultimately clasping each elbow. Drawing them to your chest, tuck your chin and try to look down through the little diamond of space between your arms and legs.
Repeat each movement for as long as you like.
3. Reclined Bound Angle Pose
This is one I like to do in the morning, and especially before going to sleep at night. It opens the hips, relaxes the mind, and seems to let all the cares of the day float away. Just be sure not to fall asleep while in the position or you’ll wake up with some sore hips!
If you’re doing it in the morning, explore raising your arms over your head and allowing your chest to open and stretch -- you might even add a little “AH” to your exhales!
4. Belly Twist Pose
Getting a good twist in the morning helps the organs come to life and warms up the back before getting up. Beginners can simply bend their knees and roll out to the side, those more flexible yogis can cross their legs before letting them roll out, and then looking over the opposite shoulder.
Being in bed means the pose is still soft enough, even in the morning. Be sure to hold for the same amount of breaths on either side.
While some might fear that this would send you back to sleep, Savasana can be more active than is practiced at the end of a class.
To stay alert, try keeping the heels together with the toes flopping out to the side, keeping the arms closer to the torso than usual and the eyes open, gazing at the ceiling about four feet forward of your head. It’s an opportunity to observe the breath (ideally for 10 breaths) and the body, allowing yourself a sense of spaciousness that you might then carry with you throughout the new day.
Finally, it’s not an asana, but a very useful practice before you get out of the bed is to write down your dreams. Over time, you’ll start to get to know your unconscious mind better, and this can only bring more awareness into your waking life -- or this extended dream, whichever you perceive it to be!
What yoga poses do you do before you get out of bed in the morning? Share with us below!