Starting your day with a short yoga routine is a lovely way to calm your mind and wake up your body before you get stuck into your daily tasks.
I also love yoga last thing in the evening to slow everything down and relax ready for sleep.
So in today’s post, I’m sharing a short yoga routine you can use either first thing in the morning or just before you go to sleep. The best thing about it is that all these poses can be done from your bed, so you can do it as soon as you wake up or right before you settle in for the night.
The whole routine takes less than ten minutes. We’ll be working with the neck, shoulders, upper body, spine, arms, and legs. The focus is on releasing tension and creating a sense of calm relaxation.
Make sure you are wearing something comfortable before you begin. Pyjamas are ideal, or whatever you usually wear for sleep.
Find a comfortable seated position. This could be cross-legged, with your legs out in front of you, or even kneeling.
Concentrate on lengthening out through your spine. Imagine you have a string going from the crown of your head to your bedroom ceiling, pulling you up straight.
Focus on the Breath
Before we start, we’re going to take our focus to the breath. Inhale through your nose for a count of four, allowing your abdomen to rise slightly. Then exhale for a count of six, feeling your abdomen pull back in.
Inhale and exhale through your nose. As you do so, keep your tongue pressed against the roof of your mouth. This helps with facial shape and posture, as well as strengthening the muscles of your tongue.
This may be a body yoga routine, but you know me – I’m always thinking about the face as well as the rest of the body!
As we move through the rest of the sequence, remember to keep using that deep inhale and exhale. Try to keep your tongue in position at the roof of your mouth as well.
Feel yourself becoming calmer and more relaxed as you breathe, sinking deeper into the comfort of your bed.
And we are ready to begin. With each move, work to your own level, depending on how your body is feeling at that moment. Never feel like you need to push yourself to the point of discomfort, and always stop if you feel any pinching or pain in any of the positions.
Our first move gently stretches and releases tension from the neck. Start by dropping your chin down towards your chest. Slowly move it from side to side, making a half-circle.
As you move, notice how your neck is feeling. We often don’t realise that we’ve been holding so much tension and stiffness in our necks.
If you have any neck issues or are feeling especially stiff, you can stay with these half-circles. But if you want to go a bit deeper, start to move your chin in a full circle. This stretches the front and side of your neck as well as the back.
Inhale as you tilt your head back and exhale as you drop your chin down towards your chest.
Always be mindful when you are working with the neck. Keep the movements slow and gentle, being careful not to overextend.
Complete three circles moving in one direction and then switch to do another three as you circle in the other direction.
Next, we are going to mobilise and release the shoulders. Bring them up, back, and down in a rolling motion.
It is such a simple move but is wonderful for relieving tension in this area. And you can easily do it in bed. It is also a good one to use when you are sat at your desk during the day.
Don’t forget your breath here. Keep using that long inhale and exhale as you circle your shoulders around.
After three full breaths, switch directions to roll your shoulders forward and round instead. Then come back into a neutral position, making sure your shoulders aren’t hunched forward or pulling too far back.
3. Seated Cat/Cow
This is a version of cat/cow that you can do in a seated position. It is lovely for mobilising your spine, opening your chest, and lightly engaging your abdominal muscles.
Start by lengthening out through your spine and bring your hands to your knees. It doesn’t matter which position you have your legs in for this move, as we’re going to be working with the upper body.
Inhaling, push your chest out, pull your shoulder blades back, and tilt your head back slightly. Cow.
As you exhale, arch through your spine, dropping your chin down towards your chest. Draw your abdomen in. Cat.
Then repeat the move, inhaling into your cow position and exhaling into cat.
Again, this is a pose you can use during the day when you are in your desk chair. It is very relaxing, helping to calm your mind as well as stretch your body.
Come back into an upright position, lengthening out through your spine. Take your right hand to your left knee and place your left hand slightly behind you.
Take an inhale to lengthen out through both sides of your waist. As you exhale, twist your shoulders and upper body to the left, moving your head to look over your left shoulder. Your hips and legs stay facing forwards.
Stay for three breaths. Release the twist, coming back to centre, and then repeat on the other side.
This simple twist is beautiful for stretching and releasing tension in your upper back, shoulders, and neck.
5. Seated Forward Fold
Extend your legs out in front of you if they aren’t there already. Take an inhale to straighten up, then exhale as you take hold of your legs wherever you can.
You might be able to grab hold of your feet, calves, or knees. You can also bend your legs up slightly if you need to.
The important thing in this pose is to keep your spine straight and long. For most of us, that will mean remaining relatively upright, so we are still looking out in front of us.
If you are flexible enough to fold further forward while keeping your spine straight, please feel free to do so. But there’s no need to come too far forward.
Keep your feet flexed, with your toes pointing up and slightly towards you. This pose stretches out your hamstrings, as well as your feet.
Stay for three breaths, then release back to your original starting position. You can leave your legs long or move back into a cross-legged or kneeling position. Make sure you keep lengthening out through your spine.
This final move stretches out your upper body while inviting energy in through the crown of your head and down through all the chakras.
Inhale to take your arms out and up. Bring your hands together in prayer position above your head, looking up at your fingers.
Exhaling, draw your hands down through your centre line in front of your chest.
Repeat the movement, visualising the energy coming down through your body and activating your chakras.
Do this five times to finish the sequence.
This entire Yoga in bed sequence takes less than ten minutes, is perfect for beginners and is a lovely addition to your morning or evening routine. Taking the time to connect to your body and breath helps you to find a sense of calm.
If you prefer to follow along with a video, you can find this routine here. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel while you are there – I share loads of short Yoga, Face Yoga, and massage sequences to help you on your journey to wellness.
And for those who want to share face yoga with others, I offer teacher training courses in both Face Yoga and Facial Gua Sha.