I always wanted a morning practice. I wanted to be one of those people who did yoga every morning. But I never have been. I wake up, and all I want is a strong coffee, maybe followed by breakfast.
On a good day, I can maybe do some reading on my phone before coffee and breakfast but usually, it's a two step process.
Staying in Bed is so Nice
It's not for lack of good intentions, as I'm sure you can relate. I have been known to set my alarm a hour early to get up an practice, only to find that, six snoozes later, I'm back at square one, waking up to coffee and work (anyone else know the feeling?).
It's just too damn hard to get out of a warm bed, when my eyes are glued shut with sleep, my brain foggy, and still trying to discern dreams from reality.
But now I have discovered a secret, a way in which to develop a morning yoga practice when you are not a morning person. It's so tantalizingly simple, it's easy to overlook.
Stay in Bed
That's right, do your morning yoga routine. In. Bed.
Yoga can be asana (poses) and pranayama (breathing practice). So often when my first alarm rings, while I snooze for 9 minutes (by the way, why 9 minutes, Apple?) I do some simple pranayama, followed by a few very simple, can-be-done-in-bed asanas.
Here is my morning, in bed, 9 minute iPhone alarm snooze yoga routine.
1. Box Breathing
Using the image of a square, with four equal sides, you breathe according to the following:
- Inhale to a count of four.
- Pause to a count of four.
- Exhale to a count of four.
- Pause to a count of four.
Repeat five times.
2. Energizing Three Step Inhalation
This amazingly relaxing and yet energizing pranayama is a perfect start to the morning, helping you exhale the old, stale air and inhale more prana, or energy, for the day.
- Inhale to your belly. Pause slightly.
- Inhale further to your chest. Pause slightly.
- Inhale all the way up to your collarbones, filling the lungs up entirely. Pause for a moment.
- Exhale slowly, like a plunger, feeling all the stale air leave your body, leaving room for fresh, energizing air.
Repeat five or so times.
3. Supine Spinal Twist
- Lying flat on your back, hug your right knee into your chest (this can all be done under the covers, trust me. It just takes a little manoeuvring).
- Let your right knee and leg fall over to your left side.
- Take your arms out perpendicular to your body (assuming you have space to do so, if not, a bend at the elbow will also work to avoid slapping your partner/pet of choice napping along side you in the face).
- Enjoy this lovely twist of the spine, breathing deeply. Repeat on the left side.
2. Seated Forward Fold
- Sit up in bed (sorry, but you have been lying down for the last few), with your legs outstretched, but keeping a slight bend at the knee. It's early and you'll be cold and probably a bit stiff.
- Wrap your arms underneath your knees, and gently fold forward, keeping a straight lower back.
- Breathe deeply and enjoy the sensations.
From this point, the possibilities are endless. Any forward fold, or gentle backbend (think Baby Cobra or Locust Pose, lying on your belly, still under the covers) would be amazing here.
Once you have completed these, rise from bed and enjoy coffee/green smoothie/morning ritual as per usual with a little more spring in your step!