When a sneeze — just a normal sneeze, nothing of the dramatic, shout-y, ”Achoo”-like-a-dad variety — caused my back right shoulder to spasm and pull in such a way that I was suddenly unable to type, I realized that maybe I was a little bit tense. Maybe I needed some yoga. But wanted to do was nap.
Sleep won, I woke up sore and resolved to practice a bit more self-loving toe touching.
But guess what? Naps (or at least, the art of lying down) and yoga are no longer mutually exclusive. Tara Leann Stiles, yoga instructor and founder of Strala Yoga, is here to teach us all a series of yoga moves that can be done FROM BED. (The floor works just the same, of course.)
These moves are extremely gentle, so you can do them any time of day without a warm-up. If something doesn’t feel great, back off. “Keep it easy with the breath and enjoy,” she says. Put your yoga/pajama pants on and let’s do this. Below, Tara walks us through it.
Meditation, AKA, Simple Breathing
Awesome for focus, calming the mind and connecting to yourself.
Sit however you feel comfortable. Rest your hands on your thighs and close your eyes. Soften here for a moment. Take a big inhale and fill up. Long exhale and relax. Allow your body to be moved by your breath. Rest your attention on your breath. If you notice your mind wandering, see if you can guide your attention right back to your breath. Stay with this for five to 10 long, deep breaths.
Easy Side Stretch
Great to open up your torso, improve breathing and leave you feeling spacious and calm.
From your comfortable seated place, lean a bit toward your left side and then lean all the way toward your right side, letting your arm rest on the bed by your side for support. Let your opposite arm relax up and overhead. Roll around in your torso. Stay here for a few long, deep breaths. Come back up to your middle and go to the other side.
Easy Side Stretch, Leg Extended
Nice for opening up your torso, back and hamstrings. This will leave you feeling open and refreshed.
Extend one leg out to your side. Lean toward your extended leg, bringing your arm down for support inside your leg. Extend your opposite arm up and overhead. Roll around a bit in your torso. See how nice it feels? Stay here for a few long, deep breaths. Come on up and go to the other side.
Good for opening the hips and back as well as calming the mind.
Bring the bottoms of your feet together and your hands behind you for support. Take a big inhale and lift your torso up a bit. Exhale and relax forward over your legs. Relax your head and neck and let your body relax into the stretch. Hang here for a few long, deep breaths and bring yourself back up.
Great for opening the hips and back and feeling energized.
Bring your right leg out in front of you a bit so you are sitting on your right hip. Make sure you are comfortable with no pain or tweaking in your knee. (Bring your foot closer to your body if you are feeling any tension.) Lean forward a bit, bend your back knee and catch a hold of the inside of your left foot with your left hand. If you’re comfy here, slide your foot in toward your elbow and maybe link your hands together, but only if it feels like a nice stretch. Hang here for a few long, deep breaths. Come back to the center and go to the other side.
A bonus move! This is a big hamstring and back opener, and just plain fun. If it hurts, back off. Also, there is no need to straighten your leg all the way. Go as far as you can to feel a nice opening without pain.
From sitting, grab your right leg, bend your knee and bring your leg up and back towards your right shoulder. Your right hand should be under your right calf. Hold the outside of your right foot with your left hand. If you feel stable, bring your right hand to the ground for support and extend your right leg up and out to your right. Your left arm will straighten a bit as you extend your leg. Gaze toward your left. Hang here for a few deep breaths and come back to the middle. Repeat on the other side.
Ahhh. Here’s to feeling better already.