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Yoga is a fabulous way to increase your flexibility. Best of all, you can make this form of physical movement as gentle as you like with floor yoga.
You can even do it right after you wake up or the last thing before you turn in for the night. Here are nine floor yoga poses you can do in bed to ease yourself into dreamland or start your day with a smile.
Forward folds are one of the most important yoga poses because they release your lower back muscles. You can do a standing version and let the inversion create space between your vertebrae, easing pain from degenerative disk disease. However, you can also perform this move seated in bed.
Begin by extending your legs straight in front of you. It helps to stick a pillow under your derriere to make sitting straight and tall easier. Reach toward your feet, keeping your back as straight as possible. Once you find the full expression of the move, you can let your spine relax into flexion.
In yin yoga, the pose you might know as “pigeon” is referred to as “sleeping swan.” Regardless of what you call it, it’s one of the best ways to open up your hips. Many people tend to carry a lot of tension and repressed emotion in this area.
Bend one knee in front of you with your lower leg perpendicular to your body. Extend the opposite leg straight behind you. You can remain upright, completing a mild backbend or let your body drape over your forward leg as you open those hips.
If you have back pain, this pose is one of the best ways to release it. It helps elongate all the tiny erector spinae muscles lining your backbone.
Begin by sitting on your heels with your knees spread wide. Extend your arms in front of you, allowing your forehead to fall to your mattress. Feel free to rock side to side gently as you open up your lower back.
In the Ashtanga yoga tradition, this posture is called Janu Shirshasana. You might remember it as a “herky stretch” from your P.E. days.
Bend one leg, pressing the sole of your foot against the inner thigh of the opposite leg. Reach forward toward the foot of the extended leg. Keep your spine as straight as possible first, relaxing into flexion when you reach the full expression as you did in your double-leg forward fold.
You can perform this move lying supine or on your side. It all depends on your flexibility and comfort level.
To perform this move on your side, lie down, allowing your head to rest on your arm. Reach back with your top arm and grab the ankle of your top leg, pulling it towards your buttocks.
If you have more flexibility, start the way you would a forward fold by sitting upright with your legs extended. Bend one knee behind you, placing the top of your foot flat against the bed. Then, slowly lower your upper body back toward the mattress, feeling your quadriceps open as you descend. You might want to put a pillow behind your back for support.
Here’s another fabulous way to open up your complicated hip joint. Begin by lying on your back with both your knees bent. Cross one leg over the opposite knee as if you were sitting cross-legged in a chair.
Then, lift your bottom leg off the floor. You can reach around this leg behind the knee to pull your leg closer or use the strength of your lower body to gently rock side to side, opening this joint.
You can perform a forward fold variation lying on your back. You might want a towel or a strap to make this movement easier.
Lie on your back and extend one leg toward the sky. Reach toward your toes, holding at the calves, or wrap a towel or strap around your foot to increase your range of motion. You can also take your leg to either side to move into your hips.
Supine twists are glorious for your spine. Try these moves if your back aches by day’s end.
Lie down on your back with both legs extended, then bend one at a 90-degree angle. Let the bent knee fall across your body as you reach out with the other arm and gaze in the opposite direction. It doesn’t matter if your knee doesn’t touch your mattress — be gentle with your back.
Corpse pose or savasana is the toughest challenge in yoga — yes, really! It takes dedication to lie still, relax your muscles and clear your mind.
Your final resting pose might also take the form of any position you get into for a comfortable night’s sleep. However, you’ll also feel well-stretched after this workout if you plan to start or continue your day.
Yoga is a glorious form of exercise you can do nearly anywhere. Why not try these nine floor yoga poses in bed tonight?