Feeling achy from lying in bed all night? Want to grab a little moment of calm before the day begins? Do these seven morning stretches—before you even get out of bed.

By Karen Asp
July 23, 2019
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Morning—and the accompanying morning routine—often comes too early for many people; it also often starts without peace and quiet. Most people are trying to get the kids off to school or get themselves ready for work (or both), feed the dog, eat a quick bite if they’re lucky, and chug a cup of coffee (forget fitting in a morning workout)—all reasons most mornings are best described as chaotic.

But mornings don’t have to be this way, especially if you do a few simple morning stretches before you get out of bed. “When you stretch in the morning, you’re helping your body wake up, start functioning more efficiently, [and] even increase blood flow to the brain to improve concentration,” says Samantha Parker, movement, yoga, and kinesiophobia specialist in Washington, D.C., creator of YoMo, and author of Yoga for Chronic Pain. Better yet, feel-good hormones from the stretching exercises can kick in to improve your overall mood, even before that first cup of coffee.

These seven morning stretches won’t take long (less than 10 minutes for most people), and the best part is that you can do them while you’re still in your PJ’s, giving yourself a few minutes of calm before the chaos. Unless otherwise directed, hold each pose for at least 30 second, and pair with a little stretching before bed for extra credit.

Half-wind relieving pose

Lying face up in bed, bring your left knee toward your chest, wrapping hands around the shins. Hug knee to chest. Release and switch sides.

Supine tree pose

Starting face up in bed, bring your left knee over your hips and let the knee fall to the left side of your body on the bed or supported on your left arm. Keep the left knee at a 90-degree angle with the inner thigh facing the ceiling as you slide the bottom of your left foot toward the right thigh. Release and switch sides. 

Supine spinal twist

Still lying face up in bed, bend the left knee and bring it in toward your chest. Using your right hand, draw the left knee across and over toward the right side of the body. Extend your left arm to the side at shoulder height or, bending the left elbow, place the arm in a goal-post shape on the bed with your palm facing the ceiling. Gaze toward the left arm. Release and switch sides.

Hamstring stretch with ankle rolls

Lying face up in bed, bring your left knee to chest and extend the leg straight up to the ceiling. Place your hands behind the hamstring or calf. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, hug the leg closer to your belly. Hold. Now point and flex the left foot four times and do four ankle rolls to the right, then to the left. Release and switch sides.

Pelvic tilts

Lying face up in bed, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the bed, below your hips. Drawing your belly button toward the mattress, tilt the pelvis toward your shoulders and lift your hips a few inches. Release and repeat four times.

Bridges

Continue lying face up in bed. Lift your hips off the mattress one vertebra at a time until your back is off the mattress and you feel the majority of your weight on your shoulders. (No weight should be on your neck.) Slowly roll back down to the mattress and repeat four times.

Full-wind relieving pose

Lying on your back, draw both knees into your chest and hold onto the backs of your thighs or knees as you hug your knees in. If comfortable, roll your shoulders off the mattress and bring forehead to knees. Pause for five seconds before allowing your shoulders and back to roll back onto mattress. Tip your chin down to lengthen your neck (the back of your head should be in contact with the mattress) and continue hugging for 30 seconds.

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