In-Bed Yoga Poses For When You’re Feeling Extra Lazy

Let’s face it: As much as you want to get a substantial workout each day, there are days when staying in bed sounds much nicer. For those days, or if you need some gentle movement to motivate your way out from under the covers, you can tap into the magical powers of a gentle yoga flow. 

To get your bedtime yogi routine on, we talked to Jennifer Dixon, owner of Thrive Yoga and Wellness in Chattanooga, TN. She’s an experienced registered yoga teacher, authorized ashtanga yoga teacher, and an expert-level certified personal trainer with the Institute of Fitness and Nutrition Sciences. Here are five poses she says you can practice in or near your bed.

Supine Cobbler’s Pose. Dixon calls this pose the “trifecta of awesomeness,” which is why it tops her list of go-to in-bed yoga poses. “Supine Cobbler’s Pose helps you relax and feel grounded, and undo the forward nature of daily activities, like looking at computer screens and small phones,” she says. “Finally, because hips tend to tighten up with time and sedentary lifestyles, you also get the added benefit of mobility work in your hips.”

To perform the pose, Dixon says: 

“Laying on your back, take your arms out to either direction (like making a T). Bend your knees as much as is comfortable and bring your legs together. Let your knees fall out in opposite directions. Try to bring the soles of your feet together. Slide your feet up towards your groin as much as you comfortably can with heels and soles together. You basically make a diamond. Let your inner thighs and knees relax with the help of gravity. With just three to five minutes, you should feel a difference.” 

Modifications to make Supine Cobbler feel even better:

If you have tight hips and inner thighs, Dixon suggests you place a pillow outside either thigh for added support. If you want to enhance the stretch across your chest, place a pillow lengthwise along your spine and lay down on it. If you want to stretch the mid-upper back more, turn a pillow perpendicular to your spine (so making a T with your spine) and lay down on it.  

Wind Removing Pose. Dixon says this was the “single best pose” in helping to relieve her low-back pain when she first started practicing yoga. “That’s because this pose helps to stretch the hip flexors, which get tight from sitting too long, and it helps to build mobility in your hips, which also get tight from sitting,” she says. “Also, because you’re compressing the belly on this pose, you get the added benefit of some massaging of the intestines. She says there’s a reason it’s called “wind removing pose!”

To perform the pose, Dixon says: 

“Laying on your back, bring your right knee in towards your chest. Leave your left leg outstretched; you can bend that left leg if you need to. Wrap your hands around your bent right knee, just below the knee joint, on your shin, and gently pull that thigh closer to your chest. Try to bring your shoulders back down on the bed and away from your ears. Hold this three to five minutes then do the other side. You can do this with both knees in towards your chest as well, which makes for a great low-back stretch.”

Modifications to make Wind Removing Pose even better:

Once you can get your knee to your chest, Dixon says to try taking the knee out to the side of your rib cage for a better stretch. You can make this move a twist and take the bent leg over to the side, which stretches your IT band in your thigh and your piriformis muscle in your tush. With both knees into your chest, you can make little circles with your knees to help get into the hips a little more. 

Supine Half Pigeon Pose. “This is one of the best hip openers you can find in yoga,” says Dixon. “That’s why you also find a version of this pose in physical therapy, and stretches with major sports and other physical activities.” When you practice the half-pigeon on your back in bed, it helps to focus the stretch on the muscles in your rear and back of your thigh. “Practicing this pose three to five minutes on each side helps to build mobility in your hips, and create space for your lower back.” Dixon says that, especially if you can get the opposite knee to your chest, you may find this pose aiding in digestion, as well.

To perform the pose, Dixon says: 

“While laying on your back, bend both knees and place your feet flat on your bed. Cross your right foot over your left thigh. Keep your right foot flexed. If this is an intense stretch, stay right there. If you are still seeking sensation, try bringing that bent left leg in towards your chest by sending your right arm through the triangle created by your left thigh and bent right leg. Use the right hand to wrap around the left shin. Your left hand will reach along the outside of your left leg to grab the right hand. Breathe. Repeat on the other side after three to five minutes.”

Modifications to make Supine Half Pigeon feel even better:

If you want to make the pigeon pose a twist, let your foot fall flat on the bed, says Dixon; this intensifies the stretch on the outside of your crossed leg. Square your hips when you draw knee into your chest; the crossed hip comes in and pushes the opposite hip out. Turn and do this pose starting with your bottom on the headboard. When you cross the leg over, if you can keep your bottom flat on the wall, you’ll notice a deeper stretch. 

Supine Twist. Do this on-your-back twist pose before bed, or after you’ve completed the first three poses on this list; you don’t want to do it if you’re too stiff, but the benefits are huge and the release is amazing. “As you bring your knees close to your abdominals, the twist helps to just move things right along and may provide digestion assistance,” Dixon says. “Another benefit of this pose is that it helps to stretch the low back muscles out as well as the outer thigh muscles. You also get a great stretch in your upper back and neck if you look in the opposite direction of your knees.” Start with three to five minutes, spending more time on whichever side is stiff (if you feel you need to). 

To perform the pose, Dixon says: 

“Laying on your back, bring both knees into your chest and give them a squeeze. Let your knees fall heavy over to one side. Try to stack your knees and hips. Spread your arms out wide, making a T.  Try to get both shoulders to press into the bed. Gaze in the opposite direction of your knees. Hold for a few minutes, then use your hands to help push those knees back to your chest. You may need to give them a little hug. Repeat on the other side.”

Modifications to make Supine Twist feel even better:

To intensify the stretch, try crossing the top leg over the bottom leg, like crossing your legs at the dinner table, says Dixon. Alternatively, if the stacked hips are too easy, cross the bottom leg over the top leg to intensify the hip flexor stretch.

Banana Pose. This hands-over-head pose was “probably the first stretch you instinctively did as a baby” before falling off your plate when you started waking up to an alarm instead of whenever you felt like it, says Dixon. “This pose feels amazing and helps you feel like you grew a few inches, especially first thing in the morning,” she says. “You’ll get an amazing stretch on the outside of your body from the shoulders down through the obliques and even across the outer edges of your thighs.” This may feel natural to do in the morning, but Dixon says it’s equally amazing as a wind-down stretch before bed. 

To perform the pose, Dixon says: 

“Laying flat on your back, bring your feet together and stretch your hands overhead, clasp your hands. Stretch your hands in opposite directions of your feet; play with pointing and flexing your toes here. Take your feet, still close together, and your hands, still clasped overhead, towards the right; you’re going to make a banana shape with your body. Try to keep your hips and shoulders on your bed; the outside body is going to want to raise up, if it does, don’t take your hands and feet out so far. Hold this for a few minutes, come back to center and repeat on the other side.”

Modifications to make Banana Pose feel even better: 

Dixon says to play with crossed legs in this posture, the most intense of which is taking the outside leg and crossing it over the inside leg. For instance, if you were taking your hands and feet to the right, you’d cross the left foot over the right foot.

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