Sometimes the biggest obstacle to a daily yoga practice is simply getting out of bed and rolling out your mat. Luckily, there are many beneficial postures you can do before you even set foot on the floor. Whether you’re just beginning your day or unwinding before sleep, these easy postures can help to stretch and strengthen your hips, back, and belly, support your nervous system, stimulate digestion, and bring awareness to your breath.
Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
To begin your practice, find a comfortable seat in the center of the bed. Easy Pose can be done sitting on a pillow or two if your hips feel tight. You may cross your legs so that one shin is folded in front of the other, or simply draw the bottoms of your feet together.
Once you settle in, take a moment to close your eyes. Notice any sensations in the body. If there are areas where you feel overly tense or if you are exerting effort to hold the pose, see if you can relax the effort. In this posture, stillness can give way to greater awareness of the subtleties of the body. Here you can connect with your breath by deepening the inhalation and slowing down the exhalation. Setting the tone for your practice, begin a gentle Ujjayi pranayama with a rhythmic steady inhalation and exhalation.
Seated Side Bend (Parsva Sukhasana)
From Easy Pose, extend your right arm towards the ceiling and reach over to the left side of the bed, bending the upper body. Engage your lower abdominal muscles to support the spine and soften your shoulders away from your ears. You may place your left hand and forearm on the bed for stability as you bend deeper to the side. Turn your gaze towards the underside of the raised arm or towards the palm of your hand. Take 5 breaths and repeat on the other side.
Knees to Chest Pose (Apanasana)
Lie on your back and draw your knees toward your chest. Wrap your hands or arms around your legs. Take 5–10 deep breaths, drawing your knees closer into your chest with each exhale. The pressure on the abdomen improves digestion, releasing bloating from the belly and tightness in the low back.
Supine Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana Variation)
Supine pigeon is sometimes known as the Eye of the Needle. Begin this pose by lying on your back. With your feet on the bed, bend both knees about hip distance apart. Cross your right ankle over your left thigh just above the knee. Lightly flex your toes back towards your shins. You may want to stay here if this is enough sensation in your outer hips. If you would still like more stretch in the hip, lift your left foot off the bed, drawing your left knee towards your chest. Clasp your hands behind the left thigh and use your right elbow to gently press the right knee away from your body, deepening the external rotation in the right hip. Relax any tension in the shoulders, neck, or jaw. Take 5–10 breaths in this posture. Release and repeat with your left ankle crossed over the right thigh.
Supported Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Conclude your gentle stretches with Savasana. Lie down on your back and place a pillow under your knees for support. Keep your head flat on the bed in alignment with your spine. Use a blanket to cover yourself to stay warm. Release any controlled breathing and fully relax all effort for 5 to 10 minutes. If you’re just starting your day, you may want to set an alarm so you don’t fall back asleep!