If someone told you that they had just started doing bed yoga, you might now know what to think. You might wonder if bed yoga could be effective. Well, I’m here to tell you that it is!
If learning forward to pick up something you dropped makes you feel a bit creaky, you may hesitate to try a mat yoga class. However, even the most inflexible of us comes to a reclining position at least once every 24 hours. Being in bed actually offers a great starting place for several yoga stretches.
Before you fall asleep at night, or while you are lingering in bed after waking up, try these gentle yoga movements. You will be amazed at how quickly you regain limberness after doing these on a regular basis for just a couple of weeks.
The only equipment you may want to have handy for this practice is the belt from your bathrobe. Remember: always check with your doctor before starting any exercise plan, including yoga.
Your pillow can support your head and neck. If you don’t usually sleep lying on your back, you may find you are more comfortable if you place a second pillow at the back of your knees. Permit your legs to open slightly wider than shoulder distance apart. Place one hand on your abdomen, just below your navel. See if you can breathe deeply enough that your hand rises and falls with your breath.
Next, place on hand on either side of your ribcage. Try to breathe so that you experience your ribcage widening and then contracting with the rhythm of your inhalation and exhalation. Finally, one hand between your heart and your ribcage. Without letting go of the abdominal and diaphragmatic parts of the breath, see if you can fill your lungs all the way to the top so that your hand floats upward and then back down.
Slowly bring your left knee toward your chest. Clasp it as close to your torso as you comfortably can. Then slowly extend your left leg along the bed again. Now bring your right knee in close to the body. Then let the right leg rest parallel to the left once more. Performing this stretch helps limber up the lower back.
Grab your belt. First bring your left leg in toward your body again as you did before. This time, loop the belt around your foot. Then extend your left leg straight up to the ceiling, holding one end of the strap in each hand. Flex your foot as you use the strap to bring your leg closer to your body. The straighter you keep your leg, the more intensely you will experience a stretch up the back of the leg. After holding this stretch for 3-6 breaths, slowly bend your knee and extend the left leg on the bed again. Then do the same stretch for the right leg.
Slowly bend both knees so that the soles of your feet are flat on the mattress. Then gently roll to your legs to the left, keeping your head, neck and shoulders remaining still. Permit the outside of your left leg to rest on the mattress. Slowly lift your right knee as far as you comfortably can toward your left shoulder. Loop your belt around your right foot and extend it straight out toward the left so that the big toe edge of the right foot is on the bed.
Turn your head toward the right and reach the right arm slightly outward from your body with the right shoulder and back of the right hand flat on the bed. After you breathe into this twist 6-10 times, unloop the strap from your right foot and bend your right knee, slowly drawing it back on top of the left knee.
Keep your legs bent as you roll back to center, bringing the soles of both feet back on to the mattress and turning your head to face the ceiling again. After a couple of resting breaths, repeat this reclining twist to the opposite side.
Have you ever tried bed yoga? Did you try the stretches listed in this article? Did you find them easy to do? What other yoga stretches have you found useful in the past? Please add your thoughts in the comments section below.
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