Sometimes I just wake up, but cannot open my eyes. The weather is grey, the day will be long.
If you don’t have time for a proper Yoga practice at least you should stretch in your bed before going to work. After sleep our bodies are stiff, our joints are closed, so be gentle and mindful!
To wake your body up, to bring some energy to your limbs, and to prepare mentally for any challenge of upcoming hours I will show you a few stretches for mornings.
It takes 10 minutes, and your day will be completely different!
1. Balasana – Child Pose
Whenever you feel tired even if you slept “properly” it is good to give your body some time to wake up.
Rapid movements in the morning are not for everyone! So be gentle, take your pillows, and go into relaxing child pose. Focus on your breath, feel your heartbeat.
Bring comfort to your body, and send a lot of love to yourself! You can turn your head if it feels good… and just enjoy your small morning ritual of sending positive vibes to your body, getting ready to greet another day!
2. Cat & Cow Stretches
After a good sleep our body needs stretch to get out of stagnation. Have you ever seen a cat after its nap?
To stretch the spine and “undo” closing action performed during the night cat & cow stretches can make miracles.
They have an amazing influence on our spine, keeping it healthy and flexible. If you work in the office, and you sit the whole day this is a must to your body!
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- Close your eyes and observe your body.
- Feel each moment of the movement, each vertebrae, each muscle.
- Connect to your breath – inhale when you arch your spine, exhale when you round it
- Keep your palms underneath your shoulders, so there is no pressure on your elbow joints
- Be gentle for your lumbar spine – especially in the morning!
- Repeat these moves a few times, but do not rush, it is worth lasting!
Twists are famous not only for its detoxifying function, but also as great self-adjustment for the spine. If you still need some time choose the lying twists, but if you have already some energy – go for sitting!
- Remember to elongate the spine before you actually twist
- Try to keep your back straight and take your time to see how it is growing
- Be slow and mindful – no pain should occur!
- Be patient – your body will adjust itself properly, but no rush, no push, just breath and enjoy!
- If you close your eyes you will feel your body on a deeper level. Listen to it, and whenever it tells you to change the position – just do it!
- It doesn’t matter how far you can twist – be safe and feel good!
- If you have a partner in your bed you can stretch together!
4. Sitting Twist
To energise your body sitting twist is better, but remember – now gravity is an extra challenge, so make sure your spine is safe and aligned!
- Use arms as a leverage – if you feel fine you can go deeper and deeper with each exhale
- Twists activates your organs, so that your digestion and circulation of blood can improve easily! If you complain about morning constipation this exercise is a must!
5. Time to wake up!
After a few minutes you will feel ready to energise your body and start your day. Bridge and kneeling dancer are 2 of my favourite backbends to open up my eyes (and heart).
New day is about to begin!
- Pressing one palm to the ground open the chest, but be gentle – it is just morning time!
- Bring your awareness to abdominals, especially its lower part and contract them slightly – this will protect your lumbar spine.
- Breath in freshness of a new day when you rise up, and breath out everything you don’t need – perhaps some stress, laziness, tiredness.
Another one is a bridge – beautiful chest opener, performed on your shoulder blades.
If you feel strong and ready go on, and bring one leg up to the sky. Stretching hamstrings and gluts is always beneficial!
Keep on playing with the bridge and your body. Energy is coming, and soon – yes, you are ready to run!
6. Morning Pleasure
Coffee is the perfect end of my morning bed-stretching. Fresh, warm and yummy!
If you don’t drink coffee you can go for green tee, or just use on your palm or forehead a few drops of orange essential oil – it has similar effects!
If you have some big task for today add pranayama or meditation to your routine. It will ground you and make you feel stronger!
Have a nice day!!!
….and after a long day
1. Relax, close your eyes and let the silence restart your mind
Your bed is your Oasis. Whatever happened today just let it go, and take a rest. Before you fall asleep it is good to create a few small rituals to say good night to yourself.
Your tired back, hips and feet might appreciate reclined badha konasana – a beautiful pose for regeneration and letting go! Badha konasana is recommended during menstruation, and in case of tight hip flexors (office work).
Eye pillow with lavender oil can sooth your body and mind. Breath in and out, and relax!
2. Time for Yin
While mornings are great for energetic asanas evening should calm you down. Yin yoga is the best option before you go to sleep, but if you don’t have time for the full class you can do a few things in your bed.
Modified Paschimottanasana (forward bend) is a nice preparation for the night. So take your pillows and support your chest and head on them. Try to relax and let go of any tension which is left in your body.
Take as many pillows as you need to avoid pain in your back or hamstrings. Connect to your heart and breath, and enjoy this rhythm of life!
The best breathing exercise – always and everywhere – is Anuloma Viloma – the alternate nostril breathing.
- Sitting straight take an inhale and exhale through your left nostril counting to 8.
- Now take an inhale with the same left nostril counting to 4.
- Exhale through the right counting to 8.
- Inhale again, and exhale through the left.
- Keep on changing nostrils and breathing in this way.
- Soon you will be ready to sleep, and your dreams will be peaceful and sweet!
Silent sitting, observing your breath, and slowing down your mind’s waves is the best option to restart your brain.
You will feel refreshed, relaxed and calm, if you meditate daily, even for a few minutes. Beginnings are always tough, but once you discover meditation your life can change completely.
Your nervous system will be strong and steady, your breath will deliver the best nutrients to your cells, and your sleep will be better than ever! So don’t give up and try! Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.
Practicing gratitude is not easy, but – again – can change your whole life! We tend to take things for granted while we are so lucky indeed!
Every single day we learn and live, and we seem to forget how blessed we are. Even the strongest experiences gifts. Reminding of it to yourself can help you to handle everyday’s challenges, and makes you more peaceful and happy.
Thanking yourself for another beautiful day, thanking your family and friends for being with you, and thanking Universe for giving you all that you have – beautiful body, mind and soul, and everything around.
Now you are ready to sleep – deeply, peacefully and safely. Good night!!! Have a nice dream! And see you in the morning!