Anyone who knows me knows I’m a morning person. Half the time my body naturally wakes up right before my alarm, and all it takes is a glimpse of sunlight streaming through the window to bring me complete and utter joy even at 5:30 AM. For me, morning is a fresh start. The day is full of possibilities and opportunities! I also really like my morning coffee.
However, I know this isn’t the case for a lot of the world. I’ve got friends and family members who, if so much as looked at wrong in the morning, will come at you like Christian Bale on the set of Terminator Salvation. Needless to say, I usually attempt to keep my cheerful morning self away from them until after their first cup of coffee!
But, regardless of what sort of mood you wake up in or whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, I’ve got an idea to make your mornings FAB. Seriously, it’s pretty much guaranteed to get your day started off right. You might even find yourself (gasp) looking forward to it when you hear your alarm go off!
Yoga. Yoga is the perfect start to the morning.
And, the best part is that you don’t even have to leave your warm, comfy bed! So, instead of cursing your alarm clock and groping around for the snooze button, greet your day with some gentle but stimulating yoga–straight from your bed.
“Here Comes the Sun” Yoga
(I also highly recommend starting your day off with some Beatles. Guaranteed joy.)
1. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
This pose is great any time, but it’s absolutely delicious first thing in the morning! Lie on your back comfortably, but bend your knees so that the soles of your feet are planted on the bed. Bring your feet together, and then let your knees drop open like butterfly wings. If this is too much on your knees, you can prop them up with pillows (or even yoga blocks if you have them) to give them some extra support. Keep your hands resting gently on your stomach, observing their rise and fall as you breathe. Stay here for only one or two minutes, and then move on to the second pose.
Relieves stress and anxiety, quiets the mind, increases circulation, stretches the knees and inner thighs
2. Pavanamuktasana (Wind Relieving Pose)
Yeah, this one is exactly what it sounds like. It’s supposed to make you fart. Think about it, though. Don’t you want to get your digestion off to a great start before you’ve even begun your day? From Reclined Bound Angle, slide your legs out long, staying on your back. Draw your right leg in towards your chest and hug it to you gently, keeping the left leg long. Stay here for about 30 seconds, and then draw your left knee into your chest, hug both legs, and then let the right leg extend while you hug your left knee. Again, stay for about 30 seconds, and when you’re ready to come out of the pose, release your left leg, lie back, and relax.
Relieves flatulence and constipation, stimulates digestion, releases tension in the lower back
3. Supta Padangusthasana (Reclined Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose)
Lie on your back, legs and arms extended. On an inhale, raise your right leg up (keeping it as straight as you can) and catch your big toe with the peace-sign fingers of your right hand. If this isn’t possible, feel free to use either a yoga strap or a belt to loop the foot and extend your reach. Still working to straighten the right leg (but keeping it bent if need be), use your grip to draw it towards you. Feel the gentle stretch in your hamstring. If you’re very flexible and this is not quite enough to wake you up, you can let your right leg fall out to the right side, maintaining your grip on the big toe. Whichever option you choose, breathe into the pose for about one minute on each side, and then exhale the leg down. Repeat on the other side.
Stretches the hips, hamstrings, and calves, stimulates digestion, relieves symptoms of sciatica
4. Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose)
We’re still on our backs for this one. Hug your knees into your chest, keeping your lower back pressing into the bed and your tailbone reaching long ahead of you. Then, grab onto the outside edges of your feet and open your knees a bit wider than the width of your body, keeping the feet apart as well. Bring your knees close to your armpits (or moving in that direction) and try to move your ankles to stack on top of your knees. Keep your feet flexed. If you’d like a deeper stretch, use your hands to pull your legs down closer to you, pushing the feet back into the palms in return. Get your playful morning energy flowing by rocking back and forth and side to side a few times!
Stretches the inner thighs, fights fatigue, releases tension in the lower back
5. Sukhasana + Seated Side Stretch
Come to a seated position in the middle of your bed. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; it can simply be cross-legged or whatever is most comfortable for you. Sit up tall, let your shoulders very gently drop back and down, and keep the crown of your head lifting towards the ceiling. Take a few slow rounds of breath here, feeling the way your chest expands and your shoulders fall with each inhale and exhale. Then, still keeping your spine long and your chest open, let your right hand come down next to you on the right. Sweep your left arm overhead and reach to the right, feeling the openness in your left side body. Send the breath there. On an inhale, come through center and switch sides so that your left hand is down and your right arm is reaching long above you. Repeat twice on each side.
Stretches the obliques, shoulders, and back, increases alertness, relieves stress
6. Parivrtta Sukhasana (Simple Seated Twist)
Start in your easy seated position, allowing the spine to be tall yet relaxed. On an inhale, draw yourself up, and on the exhale, place your left hand behind you on the bed and bring your right hand on your left knee. Twist your torso gently. Again, inhale and draw up; exhale and twist, almost like you’re gently wringing out a towel rather than cranking a handle. Use your core muscles to bring you further into the twist, and then exhale your way back to center. Repeat the twist on the right side, observing whether or not one side feels more mobile than the other and accepting your body exactly as it is in the moment.
Tones the abdominal organs, increases mobility in the spine and shoulders, calms anxiety
7. Marjaryasana/Bitilasana (Cat/Cow Pose)
Make your way to a neutral tabletop position in the middle of your bed. You can take some neck rolls here if you’d like (it’s a yummy treat for me). On an inhale, drop your navel towards the bed, arch your back, press away from the mattress, and look up (Cow Pose). Let your throat open. Feel the length along the front side of your body. On the exhale, draw your navel back towards your spine and round the back body, letting your tailbone tuck slightly and your head drop (Cat Pose). Feel the strength in your core. Inhale through to Cow Pose again, and then follow it up with Cat. You can move naturally with your own breath here. Remember that it’s not about how quickly you can get to each pose, but how fully you can feel the movement between them.
Relieves menstrual cramps, improves symptoms of sciatica, increases spinal flexibility, encourages mental focus
8. Balasana (Child’s Pose)
What’s a morning in-bed yoga routine without a little Child’s Pose? To close your sequence and gather your focus for the day ahead, come back to your tabletop position. Move your hips backwards towards your heels, letting your torso remain long, draped over your knees, and your arms extended overhead. If you’d like to get into the hips, you can bring the knees apart and let your torso settle between them. Bring your forehead to rest on your bed. Use this moment to take stock of how your body feels, to notice the way your breath flows through you, and to set an intention for the rest of the day. Allow yourself these last few rounds of breath to ground yourself, and then when you’re ready, press into the palms, come up, and you’re ready to greet the day!
Stretches the muscles of the back, stimulates digestion, calms the brain, opens the hips
“Sun, sun, sun, here it comes!”
I’m sending you all my cheery morning vibes, along with plenty of hugs! Remember that today is brand new, and thank yourself for starting it out in such a gorgeous way.