Sanctuary Living by THE YOGA SCHOOL

Body / Wellbeing

Roll Out Of Bed Energised

By The Yoga School / November 1, 2018

Transform your day with these yoga stretches – they’re so easy you even can do them in bed!

Do you wake up in the mornings feeling sluggish and finding it hard to drag yourself out of bed? Or maybe, it takes three staggered alarms on snooze setting just to wake you up. And if you’re in the habit of rolling over and checking your mobile phone before you even get out of bed, you may be setting yourself up for a day of fatigue. “People usually get riled up by the alarm clock and find themselves in a frenzy when they start their day,” says Adeline Tien, who teaches Restorative Yoga at The Yoga School. “So do this first thing you when wake up. Don’t wait till after you’ve brushed your teeth and started the rest of the day, because there’ll be too much going on and too many sensory messages coming at you by then.” So roll right over and get ready to seize your day – these beginner-friendly yoga poses will help to warm up your body, awaken your mind, and set you up for a productive day ahead!

Although it’s often hard to find the energy to practice yoga first thing in the morning, often just a few simple postures paired with deep breathing can radically transform your day.

Awaken from Savasana

As you wake up, lay flat on your back and wiggle your fingers and toes gently (as you always do when coming out of Savasana (Corpse pose). Extend your arms over your head and feel the stretch through your entire body, from the tips of your fingers to the bottom of your toes. Point your feet and flex your toes to awaken your senses and bring the awareness back to your body.

How your body benefits: Many of us tend to sleep on our sides in a fetal position, which is calming and introspective for rest and contemplation. In contrast, full body  stretches extend the spine and hips, bringing an energetic openness to the body, preparing you for action.

Neck and shoulder rolls in Sukhasana

Seat up in Sukhasana (Cross-legged pose). If it’s hard for you to maintain balance on the bed, you can choose to sit at the side of your bed with your feet on the floor (like how you would sit on a chair), or roll gently down to the floor and sit by your bed. Get comfortable but make sure you keep your back straight and your spine elongated (this allows energy to flow freely).Begin with your head straight and forward facing, then lower your chin towards your chest and roll your head in a slow, circular motion towards the left. Circle your neck comfortably until you return your chin to your chest to complete one cycle. Do this thrice, keeping your breath smooth and steady, then repeat in the opposite direction.

Then follow up with shoulder rolls that also benefit your thoracic spine. Touch your fingertips to your shoulders, then move your elbows in a circular motion towards each other and out again. Repeat five times forwards, then backwards.

How your body benefits: Shoulder rolls, coupled with neck stretches, are excellent for releasing tension in your neck and shoulders. They also increase range of motion in the shoulders and upper back, especially when these areas feel stiff.

Seated Cat-Cow Flexes

Place your palms on your knees and sit up tall. To go into a Cat Pose, inhale deeply and roll your shoulders forward as you exhale. Tuck your chin in towards your chest, and round your back as you pull your abdomen in. On your next inhale, go into a Cow Pose by rolling your shoulders back, moving your thoracic spine in towards your chest, and throwing your gaze upwards.

How your body benefits: These seated Cat-Cow poses bring focus to your mind by coordinating breath with movement. Breathing consciously along with the movement of your spine, brings clarity to your mind, letting you your day with purpose.

Gather your energy in Balasana

To get into Balasana (Child’s Pose), kneel on the floor, sit on your heels, touch your big toes together, and separate your knees (slightly wider than your hips). As you exhale, inch forward from your pelvis and walk your hands in front as you slowly lower your body all the way to your thighs, and rest your forehead on the floor. Place a folded blanket under your forehead if it doesn’t comfortably come to the ground. Now rest your elbows, forearms and palms on the floor in from of you. You can also choose to lay your hands on the floor alongside your body with your palms facing up. As you release your shoulders towards the floor, feel how their weight stretch your shoulder blades across your back. Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to three minutes.

How your body benefits: Balasana is a resting pose that provides us with the opportunity to breathe consciously and fully into the back of our torso. As you breathe in this pose, lengthen and widen your spine with each inhale, and fold a little more deeply with each exhale. This is a restful way to gently stretch the thighs, hips and ankles, while relieving back and neck aches.

Cat-Cow Pose

In a table-top position on your hands and knees, position your shoulders over your wrists, your hips over your knees, and keep your spine neutral. Spread your fingers wide and plant your palms firmly on the ground. As you inhale, turn your gaze up towards the ceiling and push your chest outwards, coming into Cow Pose. On your exhale, go into Cat Pose by gazing down towards your belly, pulling your belly button in towards your spine, and arching your back like a cat’s. Let your breath guide your pace and alternate between the two poses several times.

How your body benefits: This yoga position opens the entire spine and is a great morning stretch for your back. Alternating between Cat and Cow warms up your spine and massages your internal organs (including the adrenal glands, which help regulate how stress affects your body).