5 Yoga poses to do before you even get out of bed

Jun 11, 2014 at 5:49 p.m. ET

Don't have time to do yoga? What if you could practise without even getting out of bed? Well, you can. Here are five simple poses you can do first thing in the morning, while still in bed.

These poses will get your joints moving, your blood pumping and your body feeling energised and awake, and you don't even need to get out from under the covers.

1. Child's pose — Balasana

Child's pose

This is a great pose to start the day with and one which welcomes rest and reflection. Roll onto your stomach in bed, stay under the doona if it's still cold out, then kneel with your big toes touching. Have your knees about hip distance apart and slowly move your torso forward to rest between your thighs as you exhale. Tuck and lengthen your tailbone so your bottom comes close to your feet. Don't push into the pose, simply relax into it, feeling your body sink heavily into your mattress. Take a few deep breaths here.

Benefits of the pose:

  • Balasana, or Child's pose, is a restorative pose that invites relaxation, especially in the back, hips, neck and shoulders.
  • It can also have a calming effect and is a great go-to pose for those struggling with stress and anxiety.
  • This pose also stretches the muscles and tendons in the knees.
  • It brings awareness to the breath.

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2. Cat/Cow pose — Marjaryasana/Bitilasana

Cat cow pose

Placing your hands in front of you, underneath your shoulders, rise up to your knees into a tabletop position. Take a look down and make sure your knees are directly underneath your hips and your hands beneath your shoulders. Look down at your mattress and, on your next exhale, curl your back towards the ceiling. As you inhale, sink your chest down as your raise your head to look up. Sync the deep flow of your breath with the slow movement of your body as you alternate between Cat and Cow poses.

Benefits of the pose:

  • This pose increases movement and flexibility in the spine, but is gentle enough to be a great pose for beginners.
  • As your pelvis moves with each transition, your digestive system is being massaged, which means your abdominals and reproductive organs are being stimulated and pumped with blood.
  • This pose can also help with menstrual cramping and is a great pose to do during that time of the month.

3. Happy Baby — Ananda Balasana

Happy baby pose

Once you're warmed up by your breath and the movement of Cat/Cow, move back onto your back and grab your knees into your chest, gently massaging your hip joints as you circulate your curled legs in a clockwise, then anticlockwise, direction. Then, as you exhale, grip the outsides of your feet with each hand, raising your feet to the ceiling and your knees towards your armpits. Straighten the back of your neck and tuck your tailbone, bringing your spine flat along your bed. Breathe, smile and enjoy the joy of this pose.

Benefits of the pose:

  • Like the name suggests, this pose is a fun one to get into and can relieve stress and tension.
  • It can also relieve stiffness in the back, hips, thighs and groin.
  • The pose can also create a sense of calm and be a kick-start for your energy levels.

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4. Reclining Double Leg Twist — Parivrtta Pawanmuktasana

reclining double leg twist

Release from Happy Baby and bring your knees into a 90-degree angle, with your shins parallel to the floor. Spread your arms out beside you like a "T", then as you exhale, allow your legs to drift toward the floor on your right side, making sure your left shoulder doesn't come up from the bed. Look towards your left hand and breathe into all those tight spots. Don't push; instead, release and let go. On the inhale, come back to centre and repeat on the other side. Relax into the pose and take it slow. Don't push through uncomfortable pain.

Benefits of the pose:

  • Not only does this pose give your digestive system a good massage, it also helps increase blood circulation.
  • The twists can also aid in the relief of constipation.
  • It is a great stretch for the neck and back.
  • It releases tension on the muscles around the hip joints.

5. Frog pose — Mandukasana

Frog pose

This pose is an intense hip-opener, so make sure you ease into Frog pose when you wake up in the morning. Your body isn't completely warmed up yet, so you want to make sure you take this pose slowly. Enjoy and feel into the tight spaces at your hip joints; it really is a delicious pose to wake up with. Lie on your stomach and spread your knees as wide as is comfortable. Flex your feet and have your knees and ankles at a 90-degree angle. Reach out in your bed and lower your forearms, if this isn't causing strain. Look down, keeping your neck long as you relax and soften into the pose. Gently move your hips back and forward before letting out a big sigh. Doesn't that feel good? Stay here for as long as you need to. Before you know it, you will be full of energy and ready to start the day.

Benefits of this pose:

  • This pose can bring up some intense emotions. Roll with it, look into it and release as you breathe into this strong pose.
  • It's a deep stretch for the groin area.
  • It can relieve menstrual cramping and stiffness in the back.

Tell us! What are your favourite yoga poses to wake up with? Let us know in the comments below.

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