5-Minute Yoga: Relaxing Bed Yoga
You Can Do Yoga!
Begin With Breath
Yoga is more than just stretching and balancing. It is a way of life. Yoga embraces the whole person, to lead you on a path of well being, physically, mentally, and spiritually. You do not need to embrace a specific religion to enjoy the benefits of yoga. The spirit of yoga welcomes all. What you do need is a desire to grow, and a desire to love yourself beyond where you are today. Yoga is appropriate for all age and skill levels, it's benefits are far reaching.
This series of articles is written for people who have not yet explored yoga, but would like to. It will cover not only some basic poses for beginners, but the philosophy behind yoga. If you want to be more flexible, read on. If you want more balance, then continue. It only takes five minutes a day.
The most important part of a yoga practice is breathing. Becoming aware of the breath is the basis for all poses. Before you begin this or any yoga practice, take a few moments to quiet your mind and focus on your breath.
Breathe deeply and check in with your body. Listen to your breath. Notice how you feel, physically and emotionally. Allow yourself to notice and observe your body, your breath and your emotions.
Before you begin your practice, continue breathing deeply for a few more moments. Allow your mind to connect to your body. Now, you are in a place to begin.
When learning yoga, learning poses typically come before practicing philosophy. It is important to find out that you can do a pose. The struggle with self to overcome fear, hesitation and embarrassment will lead you on a path of growth and increased body awareness.
We all start at the beginning. Not knowing any yoga poses. Not understanding the seemingly complex thought system embraced by the enlightened gurus. At the beginning, we learn. We begin our yoga practice exactly where we are today. We don't worry about where we were yesterday, or where we want to be tomorrow. Today, we begin where we are. We breathe deeply and begin.
As we learn simple poses, our mind slowly overcomes the ego who tears us down at every opportunity. Our true self learns that we are strong, capable, and smart. As we work through each pose, our true self is lifted. There is no perfect pose in yoga. The perfection is found in the practice. The practice of breathing, connecting the mind, body and soul, and the practice of moving through the poses leads us to find perfection in each moment. We forget about being "perfect" and we meet ourselves exactly where we are.
The boost in confidence that follows creates a desire to improve our lives in other areas, and this juncture is where yoga philosophy comes in. The philosophy embraces breath, connection and life. It leads us to a higher place of acceptance and confidence, as we learn that where we are is exactly where we need to be.
5 Minute Yoga: Relaxing Bed Yoga
Relaxing Bed Yoga Step-by-Step
Relaxing bed yoga is a way to unwind at the end of a stressful day. Whether you've been driving long hours in the car, sitting at a desk all day, or shopping, this yoga will help stretch the tightness out of your hips and back, and it will help calm your nerves. Begin by bringing your awareness into your body and breathing deeply. This is the essence of yoga.
Note: You will need a pillow or yoga block for this practice.
1. Bring knees into chest: Laying on your back, breathe deeply and gently bring your knees toward your chest. Slowly rock side to side. Arms can wrap around the shins, or can be under the knees around the thighs. If your back is too tight to bring the knees in toward the chest, keep your feet on the bed and rock your knees gently side to side. Remember to breathe deeply. Feel the stretch in your hips and lower back.
2. Windshield Wiper: Bring both feet to the bed or mat, keeping knees bent. Press knees together and walk feet out wide. Gently drop both knees to the left, and then to the right, similar to the movement of a windshield wiper. After a few repetitions, add the hands and forearms, dropping hands across the body, opposite the knees. Repeat a few times, then extend the length of the arms across the body, opposite the knees. After repeating a few more times, drop both knees to the left and both arms to the right. Breathe deeply and hold for about five breaths. Rock knees and arms side to side again, then drop knees to the right, arms to the left. Allow your eyes to follow your hands.
3. Knees to Chest: Bring knees back into the chest and rock side to side, breathing deeply, releasing tension out of the back.
4. Back Crawl: Return knees to center. As you inhale deeply, extend the right leg and the left arm away from the body. Exhaling, bring the hand and knee back to the chest. On the next inhale, extend the left leg and the right arm away from the body. Exhaling, bring the hand and the knee back to the chest. Repeat this several times on both sides, inhaling deeply on the extension and exhaling and hand comes to knee. This cross body movement helps with coordination, it helps with brain development, and it relaxes the central nervous system.
5. Knees to Chest: Bring knees in to chest and rock side to side slowly while breathing deeply.
6. Reclining Pigeon Pose: Return feet to mat or bed, keeping knees bent. Cross the right ankle over the left knee and slowly bring the left knee toward the chest. If it feels comfortable, wrap your hands around your left thigh to help pull it closer and deepen the stretch in your right hip. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for several breaths.
7. Right Hip Stretch: Release the left thigh and return the left foot to the bed or mat. Keep the right foot crossed over the left knee. Slowly drop the left knee open to the left. The right foot slowly comes toward the bed, as the hips rotate to the left. Feel the stretch in your right hip and low back. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for several breaths.
8. Reclining Pigeon Pose (left side): Bring the left knee and right ankle back to center and release the right foot back to the mat or bed. Slowly cross the left ankle over the right knee. Gently bring the right knee toward the chest. You may use your hands to carefully bring the right thigh and knee closer to the chest to deepen the stretch. Breathe deeply and hold for several breaths.
9. Left Hip Stretch: Return the right foot to the mat or bed and keep the left ankle crossed over the right knee. Slowly lower the right knee to the right. As the left foot drops toward the bed or mat, you will feel a stretch in the left hip. Adjust hips and knees until you feel a gentle stretch in your hip and low back. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for several breaths.
10. Knees to Chest: Return to center and bring both knees into the chest, rocking side to side. This not only relieves tension from your hips and low back, but it also calms the central nervous system. This movement helps the body move from the stressful "fight or flight" mode to a more calm "rest and relax" mode.
11. Reclining Spinal Twist: Gently bring the right knee closer to the chest. As you inhale, extend the left leg all the way to the mat or bed. Exhaling, gently cross the right knee over the body. Extend the arms outward, like a T, with palms facing the ceiling. Breathing deeply, bring your awareness into the right hip, shoulder and chest. Hold for several breaths.
12. Knees to Chest: Slowly release the spinal twist and bring both knees back into the chest. Rock gently side to side.
13. Reclining Spinal Twist: Gently bring both knees closer to the chest. As you inhale, bring the left knee in closer while extending the right leg away from the body. As you exhale, slowly cross the left knee over the body, gently twisting the spine. Only drop the knee as far as feels comfortable for your hips and back. Open arms wide, with palms facing the ceiling. Breathe deeply and notice the stretch in your hips, shoulder and chest. Hold for several breaths.
14. Supported Bridge Pose: Bring both knees into the chest and rock side to side. Return feet to mat or bed and find a pillow or yoga block. Gently lift the hips off the bed or mat and slide the pillow or yoga block under the hips. This supported bridge pose helps realign the sacrum and pelvis. It also takes stress off the low back while gently allowing it to stretch. Hold this restful pose as long as you'd like.
I am a certified yoga instructor, massage therapist, and life coach. I want to help everyone achieve their best life, today. Using the tools I've learned in yoga, massage and life coaching, I want to help you improve your life from the inside out.
Yoga is an important component of a complete life, as it combines the essence of breath, movement and feeling. Practicing yoga daily will help with your peace of mind, as well as balance and flexibility.
As I get older, I realize that some things that I used to do are no longer comfortable, so I have adjusted my yoga practice to be realistic for every body type, regardless of age, size, fitness level or experience.