I am one of the most inflexible people you’ll ever meet. Despite having done ballet for almost three years as a child and playing all kinds of contact sports for most of my high school life, I can barely reach my toes now without yelping in absolute pain.
When I was in a meditation session with a few of my coworkers, we did light stretching right after. To my horror, my back produced the loudest crack it has ever made, right in front of my vegan, fitness advocate CEO.
“You need to exercise, Kat,” he said. “Try doing yoga.”
And I took that to heart.
Yoga for People Who Can’t Do Yoga
I did my research. And by research, I meant I typed on Google: yoga poses I can do in bed. Apparently, I shared this sentiment of semi-desperation with many people online. They, too, couldn’t seem to fathom why their bodies have turned rigid after enjoying their youth running and jumping about without so much as a scratch.
One weekend, I decided to try seven yoga poses, all of which you can do on a comfortable mattress the moment you wake up in the morning.
This pose was harder to do than I thought. Also known as the Embryo or Hare Pose, the Child’s Pose is a resting pose that beginners can start with, especially when they’re building a sequence of poses that lead up to more difficult ones.
Rest your shins and lower legs on the bed and bend forward over your thighs. You don’t have to sit on your heels if it still strains your back. Just stretch your spine, relax, and take deep breaths while holding the pose.
If you want to stretch out your back, chest, and abdomen, this is the perfect pose to do in bed.
Lie flat on your belly with your forearms on the bed. Then, gently hoist yourself up with your arms as if you’re about to do push-ups, and then gently arch your back. Look towards the ceiling so you stretch your neck as well. Stay this away after five breaths then lie down flat on the bed again.
Wow, my inflexibility really manifested in this one. In what I thought was a simple back arch brought quite a strain to my lower spine. So when you do this, make sure to do it slowly. Don’t push yourself if you can’t stretch too far back yet.
Kneel on the bed and put both hands in front of you, pushing yourself upwards. Inhale deeply, then exhale as you stretch your back into a nice arch. Hold this position for around 30 seconds, focusing on stretching and lengthening the spine.
I admit I laughed a little when I did this pose for the first time, but this turned out to be one of my favorites after the exercise.
Lie on your back, then bend your knees and lift your legs closer to your torso. Hold on to the edges of your feet. Then, use your upper body strength to pull your knees towards you. Do this for about 30 seconds then gently return to a lying down position.
When I first read “Butterfly,” it took me back to my childhood days when I took swimming classes during the summer. Although the Butterfly pose is nothing like the Butterfly Stroke, they both stretch your shoulder and upper back muscles.
Sit on the bed with your knees bent and the soles of your feet touching each other. Straighten your spine then bend forward until your face is just a few inches above your feet (make sure your feet aren’t stinky). Stay in this position for five deep breaths then sit back up slowly.
Seated Spinal Twist
Prepare yourself for the most satisfying back cracks when you do this pose.
Sit cross-legged on your bed and lengthen your spine. If you can, keep both hips grounded on the bed as you twist your torso to your right. While doing so, place your left hand on your right knee. Hold this pose for a minute then switch to the other side.
Knees to Chest
This pose almost lulled me to sleep. What you should do is lie on your back, bend your knees towards your chest, and clasp your hands around both your shins. Use your arms to gently pull down your legs to stretch your lower back. Stay in this position for five to ten breaths, then stretch out your legs.
Not all yogis were born as flexible as rubber bands. Maybe with a little more practice and a little more consistency, I can reach my toes again – no yelping this time.