How many of you are night owls? Do you know people who get up at 4am to workout or do yoga and meditate? I know lots of people like that. And I always wonder: What is wrong with them? Are they suckers for punishment, or are they just extremely disciplined? I have a real problem getting up in the morning. I could get 10 hours of sleep and still struggle immensely to get my rear out of bed. So I’ve decided it has nothing to do with getting enough sleep. I think it's all in my head. This poses quite a challenge when you are trying to start an early morning yoga and meditation practice, especially when you have three little kids who are still sleeping (and can remain sleeping, thank-you).
I’ve tried so much to get my early-morning yoga on. I’ve gone to bed extremely early in the evening. I’ve asked my husband to turn all the lights on and wake my butt up in the morning. I’ve set multiple obnoxious alarms. The only thing this woke up was my ability to annoy everyone around me. I even recently bought one of those light alarms, which slowly light up the room as if the sun were shining. All this did was awaken my knack for building a wall of pillows to block out the light—in my sleep, of course. Then, one morning, I had to get up extra early for an important appointment. If I had been able to move my arms I would have hit snooze another 5 times, but I couldn’t. Blame it on my zombie-like state, but I suddenly had a flash of insight: yoga in bed! Yay! Let me tell you, it really helped me get out of bed—and I had already done some morning yoga! Now I actually look forward to getting up! (Ok, that’s a lie.)
If you have trouble starting an early morning yoga practice, or just have trouble getting out of bed, try these yoga poses and see how it works for you!
Toe Flex & Point: Lie flat on your back in bed. Relax. Begin moving your feet in unison, flexing and pointing your toes. Do this for as long as you feel like doing it. When you feel it’s enough, stop.
Cat stretch: Bend one knee, then hang it over your other leg, creating a nice twisty stretch in your spine. While stretching, hold the pose, and deeply inhale/exhale 3 times. Do this 2-3 times on each side.
Pelvic Lifts: Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the bed. Grab your ankles or calves, and raise your hips while inhaling, lowering them while exhaling. Keep your shoulders and head nice and cozy on the bed. Do around 10-15 lifts.
Bundle Rolls: This is strange little pose, which involves rolling up into a ball (lying on your back, bring knees to body, wrap your arms around your knees tightly), and rolling up and down along your spine. It stimulates the entire spine.
Life Nerve Stretch: Come into the life nerve stretch directly from the bundle roll. That means, as you roll up, roll all the way up to a sitting position, immediately stretch our your legs in front of you and bend down, grabbing your toes. If you’re still a zombie like me at this point, do this slowly! Hold this position and breathe. This pose is wonderful for a stiff back, stretches your legs, and gives you energy.
Spinal Twist: Come into easy pose (i.e., crossed legs). Keep your spine straight. Bring your hands to grab your shoulders, thumbs in the back, fingers in the front. Keep your elbows parallel to the ground. Now, twist your body to the left. Just try to twist your spine, and let your head and elbows follow along. Then twist to the right. Keep twisting at a rapid pace, left to right, left to right. Inhale on the left and exhale on the right (through the nose). Do this for 1 minute (around 45 times). When you are finished, come to the center and inhale deeply. Hold shortly and exhale.
Spinal Flex: Now stay in easy pose, grab your ankles, and move forward and back with your spine. Try to keep your spine relatively straight while leading the movement with your chin. Inhale forward and exhale backward (around 1 minute).
Neck Rolls: Remain in easy pose. Keep your spine straight, and put your hands on each knee with your fingers in Gyan Mudra (index finger touching your thumb). Begin by very slowly rolling your head in a clockwise movement. Exhale when your head is forward, and inhale when your head is back. Go slowly! Do this for around 1 minute, or for however long you please.
Ego Eradicator: Now, remaining in easy pose, extend your arms straight out to the sides, at a 60 degree angle. With your palms facing forward, make fists with your hands. Now stick your thumbs out (like “thumbs up” sign). Make sure your thumbs are facing each other. Do the breath of fire—breathe equal amounts of air at a rapid pace through your nose. (1-3 min.) Inhale deeply while bringing both thumbs together over your head to touch. Hold for as long as you can, exhale and relax.
One-Minute Meditation: Now you should be feeling refreshed, awake and can relax for a minute before putting your feet on the ground and starting your day! Close your eyes, focus eyes on the space between your eyebrows, and concentrate on your breath. If your thoughts wander, just come back to your breath and re-focus on the third eye.
Although I’ve created this series so that you can slowly transition from a lying down position to a sitting position, you can change these around if you want. You can start with these until you get used to getting out of bed and doing a full yoga set. Have a great day!