Get Up On The Best Side Of The Bed – 4 Morning Yin Yoga Poses

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Do you struggle getting out of bed in the morning?  I remember when Yin Yoga was my solution for winding down at the end of the day.  It was a gift to myself when I worked it into my busy schedule.  Over the past year, Yin Yoga snuck into my morning routine.  It is not a gift but a requirement.  Get up on the best side of the bed How do I guarantee it’s part of my day?  I eliminate the hassle of finding a place to do it.  I do these poses in bed as I wake up.  Sometimes I drift back to sleep in a pose.  It allows me to begin my day with a bit more energy.  Give it a try.

Remember, every body is different and no exercise works the same for each of us.  Since we are not together, please, please, please pay extra attention to your body and discontinue any exercise if there is pain.  Try these four exercises to wake up connective tissue, get energy flowing and ease gently into your day.  (Tip: Read the entire article.  Review the full description of each pose before attempting.)

The Approach

To “let go”, use a yin approach.  Below is my quick overview of a Yin Yoga approach.  To learn more, check out Bernie Clark’s Yin Yoga.

  1.  Come into the shape/pose. 
  2.  Wiggle around a bit.  (Explore the pose.)
  3.  Find your edge.  (The place where you feel a little tension/sensation.)
  4.  Build a fort for support.  (Is part of your body “hanging” and creating muscle tension?  Support it so muscles can release but maintain the edge.)
  5.  Hangout awhile.  (3-10 minutes – You may have to work up to that.)
  6.  Let go.  (Encourage yourself to “melt”.  Feel tightness?  Replace it with ease.)

The Props

Poe Wellness Solutions, The Coaching Yogi

Since you are in bed, don’t worry with fancy props.  Needing the “right” prop becomes another excuse to miss your morning Yin.  Use what’s there ~ pillows, sheet, blanket, your body, your pet, your partner, etc.  I don’t worry with a timer for my morning practice.  Stay in the pose until you feel like moving or use the snooze on your alarm to alert a transition.

 

The Exercises

1.  Pentacle

Morning Yin YogaThis is a great first shape of the day.  Use this shape to bring awareness to the body and to practice feeling energy flow throughout your body. There was a time I did not think it was possible to truly feel the movement of  energy in my body but with practice and focus, I am amazed at all I feel.  In my AM practice, I return to Pentacle between all poses.  It’s a great way to check in with the body and simply notice.  

Getting In

  1. Transition to your back.
  2. Sweep your arms out to your sides, beyond the head and toward the corners of the bed.
  3. Separate your legs with your feet reaching toward the corners of the bed.
  4. Enjoy several gentle breaths, gradually deepening each inhale and exhale.
  5. On an inhale, reach your arms and legs toward the corners of the bed getting as big as you can – spread the fingers and toes wide.
  6. As you exhale, let go of the reaching and melt into the mattress.
  7. Repeat reaching and melting 3-5 times.
  8. Relax into melting.
  9. Hang out awhile.

Safety/Tips

This may be the first movement of your day. If you prefer to sleep in a curled-up position, notice the subtle sensations of the body as you find your way to your back and slowly transition into the position.

Time In Position
As long as you like.

Getting Out
No need to exit the pose.  It’s a simple transition to our next shape.

Areas Impacted
Entire body

 

2.  Bananasana

Morning Yin Yoga with Poe Wellness Solutions

This pose is surprisingly intense.  During the night, your body produces thin wisps of collagen fibers between muscles.  This “fuzz” develops due to inactivity and can easily be broken each morning as you begin to move.  Notice the fuzz breaking free and offering greater smoothness of movement.  (NOTE:  With prolonged inactivity such as with injury or immobilization, the fuzz doesn’t break down each day but instead continues to build up, intertwine and tangle.  We become “fuzzed over”. Adhesions form and mobility is compromised.  Yoga, massage and various physiotherapies help break down the fuzz, adhesions and scar tissue that may develop.)

Getting In

  1. From Pentacle, slide your right leg toward your left.
  2. Slide the right arm toward the left.
    ~ Your right hip and shoulder should remain heavy and grounded into the mattress.
    ~ Your right leg and arm may not make contact with the left. No worries! See tips below.
  3. Enjoy several gentle breaths, gradually deepening each inhale and exhale.
  4. On an inhale, reach your right arm and leg as far to the left as possible.
  5. As you exhale, let go of the reaching and melt into the mattress.
  6. Repeat reaching and melting 3-5 times.
  7. Relax into melting.

Safety/Tips

Bananasana with arm support
Support the lifted elbow & explore the neck by turning the gaze.
  • Listen to your shoulders. If they are unhappy with placement of arms, return arms by your sides.
  • Anchor/support your leg by crossing one leg over the other.
  • Anchor/support arms by grasping hand or elbow with the opposite hand. Placing a pillow under the arm or elbow is a great support.
  • Wake up the neck by exploring the direction the chin points.

Time In Position
As long as you like.  You may feel the edge/resistance shifting during the pose.  Use that cue to either go deeper into the shape or move to your next pose.

Getting Out
Return to Pentacle by slowly sliding right arm and then leg toward corners of the bed.  You may enjoy hugging knees into the chest to release the back. I often doze off in Pentacle for a bit.

Areas Impacted
Moves whole side of the body. Depending on tightness you may notice sensations between shoulder blades and in lower back.

Meridians Stimulated
Gall Bladder, Heart & Lung if arms stretched beyond head.

 3.  Half Saddle

Yin Yoga In Bed, Morning Yin Yoga

Most people find this to be a very intense pose.  First thing in the morning, my goal is to make it as gentle as possible. This may require a bit of exploring and a gentle inviting of your muscles to relax and fuzz to release.  Find a subtle edge and relax.  If there is pain anywhere or it becomes too intense exit the pose.  If you cannot get settled, wiggle out of the shape and set up a second time.  Your body may become more inviting to the shape. Remember: It’s all an exploration!

Getting In

Preparing for Saddle Pose
With knees bent & feet wide, gently sway knees from side-to-side.
  1. With knees bent and feet wide, gently sway knees from side-to-side like windshield wipers.
  2. Let knees settle to the left. (CAUTION: If any knee pain, exit shape.)
  3. Explore right leg options.
    ~ Use right hand to adjust placement of right foot, knee, thigh, etc. This will change intensity of pose.
    ~ Flex or extend right ankle.
    ~ Place left leg or a pillow under right knee if it is unsupported.
  4. Notice lower back. If lower back is unsupported, use pillow or covers to support and release lower back.
  5. Explore left leg options.
    ~ Left knee bent and dropping to the left.
    ~ Left leg supports right knee.
    ~ Left leg reaches long.
    ~ Hug left knee into chest.

    Yin Yoga In Bed, Morning Yoga Routine
    Adjust placement of foot to explore intensity of shape.
  6. Explore arm options.
    ~ By side
    ~ Snow angel the arms & find a place that feels good
  7. Explore several full breath cycles.
  8. Allow breath to return to normal.
  9. Repeat on other side.

Safety/Tips

  • Where your body is lifted away from the bed, find a way to support it.
  • Your body is extra tight in the AM.  Take a few breaths to relax and soften into the shape. If softening does not happen and there is pain, exit the shape.

    Yin Yoga in Bed, Morning Yin Yoga
    If the lower back is uncomfortable, use a pillow to create support. This allows the back to release & find ease.
  • If there is any knee pain, exit the pose.
  • If you exit the shape, take a few moments and try a second time.  Often times the body needs a second invitation to enjoy a shape.

Time In Position
As long as you like.  You may feel the edge/resistance shifting during the pose.  Use that cue to either go deeper into the shape or move to your next pose.

Getting Out
Return arms to side, roll to the left, extend right leg, make any movement that makes sense, return to Pentacle for several breaths.  

Areas Impacted
There is a lot going on here. You experience a big stretch for hip flexors and quadriceps and possible compression in the lower back, knee and ankle.

Yin Yoga in Bed, Morning Yoga Routine
If the knee is not in contact with the bed, support with a pillow.

Meridians Stimulated

  • Stomach, Spleen, Urinary Bladder, and Kidney lines
  • If your arms are overhead, you will also work the Heart and Lung meridians.

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Twisted Root/Reclined Twist

Yin Yoga in Bed, Morning Yin Yoga Twisted Root

This is my favorite!  I love a good twist.  It’s amazing how the two sides of your body can be so different.  Maybe you feel it in your lower back, maybe your hip or shoulders.  Definitely enjoy several deep, full breaths.  As you expand and settle with the breath sensations change from one breath to the next.  

Getting In

  1. From Pentacle, bring arms to sides, bend knees, place feet flat on bed.

    Yin Yoga Twisted Root in bed
    Begin with knees bent, feet flat on the bed and legs together.
  2. Cross right knee over left knee.
  3. Shift hips to right.
  4. Lower knees to left.
  5. Explore twist.
    ~ Knees – Move knees closer or further from torso.
    ~ Arms – Shift arms from along side torso to beyond head.
    ~ Head – Turn gaze from side-to-side.
  6. Explore several full breath cycles.
  7. Allow breath to return to normal.
  8. Repeat on other side.

Safety/Tips

  • Do not push into the twist but relax.
  • Use props to support knees or shoulders that do not stay in contact with the bed.

    Yin Yoga Twisted Root Prep
    Cross on knee over the other and begin to wiggle into a twist.
  • Explore placement of arms. If tingling persists when arms are extended beyond head return arms to your sides.

Time In Position
As long as you like.  You may feel the edge/resistance shifting during the pose.  Use that cue to either go deeper into the shape or move to your next pose.

 

 

Getting Out
Slowly roll to back, hug knees to chest, return to Pentacle.

Areas Impacted
Shoulder joint, upper & lower spine depending on placement of knees, possibly lumbar and sacroiliac joints

Yin Yoga Twisted Root with Knee Support
If the knee is not in contact with the mattress, use a pillow for support.  Lucy acts as a sandbag to ground me in the pose. Silly cat!

Meridians Stimulated
Lung, heart, intestine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  Savasana

Morning Yin YogaIf you prefer, enjoy a traditional Savasana (steps included below).  I prefer returning to Pentacle (return to top of article) .  There is something about starting the day by getting as big as I can that makes me feel strong and ready for the world.  I use this time to set my purpose or intention for the day.  Helps keep me on target and feeling a bit more focused.      

Getting In

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Relax shoulders away from ears.
  3. Extend arms by your sides, palms up allowing the shoulder blades to lie flat.
  4. Lengthen back of the neck by slightly tucking the chin toward the chest.
  5. Gently rock your head from side to side to balance weight on the back of your head.
  6. Move legs apart wider than hips.
  7. Explore the shape.  Wiggle around.  Let go.

Safety/Tips

  • Allow the body to relax and feel heavy.
  • If tension persists in the lower back, bend and support the knees.
  • Possibly support the head/neck with pillow.
  • Adjust or exit the pose if any pain, tingling or numbness occur.
  • If relaxation has adverse effects (anxiety, panic, drop in blood pressure, dizziness, etc.) seek assistance.
  • Check with with health care professional before beginning a yoga practice if you are on medications that could impact your response to the practice.

Time In Position
This may be when you need the timer/alarm.  It’s easy to drift back to sleep.

Getting Out
Deepen your breath.  Bring movement to fingers and toes and maybe roll your head side-to-side.  Notice the movement your body wants.  Gradually make larger movement.  Shift to your side for several breaths, find your way to seated with your feet on the floor.  Welcome to a fantastic day!

Areas Impacted

  • Full body relaxation
  • Mind relaxed but aware of the body and paying attention to energy flowing within the body

Meridians Stimulated
No stimulation but a time for body and nervous system to assimilate impact of other poses.  This is when it all comes together.

Summing It Up

This post is part of a series addressing the benefits and challenges of Yin Yoga.  The focus is waking up with Yin and breaking down the connective tissue fuzz that develops as we sleep.  A Yin practice has physical, emotional, mental and energetic impacts.  As with any exercise, pay attention to how you feel.  Your body is providing you with a wealth of information.   Enjoy exploring all that you can learn about you!  If interested, check out Yin poses for reducing back pain and to help fall asleep.

Interested in learning about the Yin experience from Yin practitioners? Check out Yin Yoga: Everything You Need To Know For Success.

If you find your mind particularly busy during a your morning practice, use this time to create your day’s intention or purpose.  Your Yin practice is a great place to settle your body and your mind.

Let us know what else you would like to know about Yin Yoga.

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Meg Poe

Meg Poe

Meg Poe is The Coaching Yogi, founder and owner of Poe Wellness Solutions, Integrative Health Coach and teacher of movement and mindfulness. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a Masters in Exercise Physiology, is a Duke University certified Integrative Health Coach and a 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher. As a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, Meg partners with individuals and groups as they wake up to their mind, body, life, health and happiness. Partnering with people to live their optimal health and happiness is my passion. Let’s do this! Check out the 1:1 Coaching page and schedule a free 30-minute informational call today.

4 thoughts on “Get Up On The Best Side Of The Bed – 4 Morning Yin Yoga Poses”

  1. Avatar

    Thanks, Meg! I’ve printed this out and am putting this by my bed so I see and remember to do these poses first thing in the morning. Looking forward to starting this tomorrow morning!

    1. Meg Poe

      Hi Pat,
      Yay! Hope you find it a great way to start the day. Some mornings I have time for only one pose and it still feels great. So if pressed for time, no worries. Do what you can and enjoy!

      In health + happiness,
      meg

    1. Meg Poe

      Hi Constance,

      Glad you enjoyed the information. Lucy is always a fan of yoga and any attention she can get. Currently, I am teaching classes via Zoom. First class is at no charge so you can determine if we are a good fit. If you are interested, join us. I am sure Lucy will be there. Click here for Class Schedule.

      In health + happiness!
      Meg

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