Save all your yoga moves for your 6pm Tuesday class that you sometimes get to? Not anymore! Bringing your practice into bed isn’t just uber convenient, it also has major benefits for your mind and body too.
“Yoga is a wonderful way to transition your day whether that be from sleep to waking or from being active to sleep,” says Vyda Bielkus, co-founder of Health Yoga Life, which offers daily classes in its Boston and Cambridge studios. “Doing yoga in bed is a way to be gentle and quiet with the self. It can be very restorative,” she adds.
Tonight (or tomorrow AM), try these five poses...
1) Reclining Goddess Pose
Follow Bielkus’ directions: Lie on your back with the soles of your feet touching and knees splayed open. Keep your arms alongside your body or reach them over your head for a deeper stretch. “Focus on your breath moving in and out of the body,” she says. “The pose will open up the hips and also settle the mind.”
2) Child Pose
Another of Bielkus’ favorites, this one’s a great pose to connect with yourself and just take a pause. “Kneel on the bed, bring your big toes to touch, separate your knees, draw your hips over your heels, and bring your torso and forehead to the bed. Arms can remain by the side of your body or can stretch out in front of you,” she explains. Easy, peasy—and totally doable no matter how big your bed or how exhausted you feel.
3) Supine Twist
This is a very accessible and impactful pose for lengthening the spine and neutralizing any odd sleep patterns or shapes we may make in the night, says Ava Johanna, a yoga and mindfulness teacher featured on publications such as MindBodyGreen and Wanderlust. “By bringing a knee across the chest to the opposite side of the body and turning the chin in the opposing direction, you receive a gentle twisting stretch that helps to send blood throughout the spinal column.” Quick tip from Johanna: “When practicing any twists, it's important to not add too much external leverage (ex. forcing the twist with your hand outside of our natural range of motion), as this can cause tweaks by ‘pushing’ it too hard. You'll want to do both sides, but it may not be entirely symmetrical on each side as our bodies are not by any means symmetrical!”
4) Happy Baby
This stretch is wonderful for opening the hips, decompressing the lower back, and combatting long hours of sitting at a desk, says Johanna. Laying on your back, capture the ankles or outside edges of the feet and pull your thighs down to either side of your torso while pressing the lower back down into the mattress. “If this feels good, you can sway from side to side massaging your lower back.” You can do this in the morning to gently wake up the lower body and before you go to sleep—especially to combat any of the pain that comes from working at a desk all day, she adds.
5) Feet Up
A favorite classic, this move helps you relax before bed or as you start your day, says Caleb Backe, a certified personal trainer and health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics. First, place pillows or folded blankets near a wall or headboard. Sit on the bed with your head facing the ceiling, breathe deeply, lie on your back, and lean your feet against the wall with your head on the bed and your pelvis and lower body lying on the pillows or blankets, he explains. Stretch your hands away from your body, palms up. “Keep your feet steady so that you can stay with your legs in the same place without moving. Stay in this position for 5 minutes.” The healthiest way to finish this pose, he adds, is to slide your legs down the wall, bend your knees, and sit down carefully and slowly.
What to wear
Regardless of what time of day you work in your yoga, one thing is for sure: the right underwear can make a huge difference. Go for Uwila Warrior’s Kickin’ Butt pair. Silk wicks away moisture better than any other natural fiber fabric, and with our perfect fit guarantee, you can be sure you’re getting the right pair for you. Happy yoging!