Ever wondered if morning stretches really make a difference? Hopping straight out of bed isn’t a great habit. Instead, it’s better to slowly ease your body into wakefulness by stimulating your muscles and mind.
If you suffer from morning aches and pains, here are a few easy morning stretches from Randi Ragan, a yoga teacher and author of A Year of Living Mindfully: Seasonal Practices to Nourish Body, Mind and Spirit (1).
6 Morning Exercises
This routine will ease muscle tension, loosen up stiff joints, and quiet your mind before your day begins.
1. Full-Body Stretch
You can stay under the covers to perform this stretch. All you need to do is lock your fingers together, stretch your arms above your head and push your palms towards the headboard as you inhale.
As you do so, lengthen your legs and point your toes. Keep your elbows and knees straight and hold for 5 long seconds and exhale. Repeat 3 times to relax your full body.
2. Figure-Four Stretch
Get out of the covers and lie down with your head and shoulders slightly elevated. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on your sheets. Rest your left ankle below your right knee and hold your right shin with both hands. Hold for 5 deep breaths and repeat on the other side to loosen up tight hips, thighs, and glutes.
3. Bed-to-Floor Stretch
Slide to the side of your bed and swing your legs over so that your feet are flat on the floor. Bend your knees and bend at the hip to bring your chest towards your thighs. Dangle your arms and head over your knees, touching the floor with your fingers. Hold for 5 breaths to stretch out your back and shoulders.
4. Knees-to-Chest Stretch
Come back to your bed, lying flat on your back. Bend your knees to touch the bed with the soles of your feet. Wrap your arms around your legs and bring them in towards your chest. Keep your head on the pillow and hold for 10 long breaths to stretch your lower back.
5. Supine Twist
Keeping your knees together, twist your pelvis to bring your right knee to the bed. Hold your left knee with your right hand and turn your neck to the left. Hold for ten breaths and switch sides to ease tension in your spine.
6. Seated Forward Bend
Lying on your back, lengthen your legs and bring your torso up. As you inhale, lengthen your spine. Exhale and slowly bring your torso towards your legs as you reach for your heels. Let your neck hang down and hold for ten deep breaths to stretch your hamstrings, pelvis, and spine.