Dark winter mornings. A cold bedroom. A bad night’s sleep—and joints so stiff and achy you can barely move. If that describes your wake-up “routine,” yoga teacher Naomi Sophia Call knows how to make getting up easier: 15 minutes of yoga in bed!
That’s all it takes, says Naomi, to shake off the cobwebs and loosen your joints and muscles before your feet hit the floor. And who can say no to a workout done in your PJs? “You are the architect of your morning,” says Naomi, who’s taught yoga for 30 years and works for a chronic pain rehab clinic in the Scripps Health Network near her home in Carlsbad, CA. “I’ve taught this to patients with debilitating pain and even people in their 90s, and the change in their flexibility and demeanor—they used to look so contracted—is dramatic.” (For proof, see the box on her student, JoAnne.)
Here, Naomi shares stretches from her book, Yoga in Bed. Just be sure to check with your doctor before trying the poses.
- Begin by sitting on your heels. You can also place a pillow or blanket underneath your buttocks (variation).
- As you exhale, bend forward at the hips, bowing over your thighs. Bring your forehead toward the bed as your arms release to the sides of your body. You can also place a pillow under your forehead and bring your arms up (variation). Soften the tailbone back and feel your spine lengthen with each exhalation. Pause and breathe. Inhale up and release.
- Draw your knees up toward your chest and wrap your arms around your legs. Press your shoulder blades back toward your bed, keeping your chest open. Pause in this position for a few breaths and see if each exhalation helps you release your knees toward your chest a little further.
- For a variation on this pose rock from side to side, looking in opposite direction of knees for a full twist.
Single knee twist
- Keeping your left leg lengthened, bend your right knee, keeping your foot on the inside of your left leg. Your arms are comfortably out to your sides, at rest on your bed. Stretch your right knee over to the left side. Allow your hip to roll up off of the bed into a twist. Look toward the right. Pause and take a few breaths. You will notice the more you drop the knee over, the more the right shoulder will lift. Gently pulse between pressing your knee toward the bed and stretching your shoulder back.
- Release the right side and move into the opposite stretch with your left leg. Now your right leg is lengthened down and your left knee is bent and stretched over your right leg. Look in the opposite direction. Release and pause.
- From a sitting position on your heels or pillow, inhale and raise your arms in front of your torso to shoulder height.
- Exhale and draw your arms behind your back as you clasp your fingers together.
- Press your knuckles or fists down toward the bed as you open up through your chest and sternum. Squeeze your shoulder blades back and together.
- Exhale and allow your body to hinge forward as you bring your forehead toward the bed.
- Gently inhale as you bring your arms up toward the ceiling or let them rest on your tailbone. Breathe, slowly release and pause.
Naomi’s yoga tips
- Set a goal that you can achieve without frustration. Even doing just one stretch can make a difference.
- Start with deep breathing. Lie on your back, close your eyes and rest your hands on your navel. Imagine your belly as a big yellow balloon. As you inhale, feel your belly pressing out toward your palms. Pause, and then exhale, feeling your navel drop back toward your spine. Repeat for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Hold each posture for several full breaths (inhalation and exhalation).
- Stop if you feel pain. Never “power through” a stretch.
For more info, visit naomicall.com.