Would you like to know a secret about yoga? You don’t have to be flexible to start the practice. This preconceived notion of “needing to be flexible” deters people from practicing various yoga flows. The good news is that there are many poses, many of which you can modify, that you can do without ever getting up. That’s right, you can do a series of yoga poses while lying down.
Gentle yoga flows often have restorative benefits, soothing your nervous system and calming the mind. You could say that all yoga is meditative, but there is something different about poses that don’t require you to balance on one leg while contorting your arms, for example. Plus, if you have limited mobility because of age, injury, or illness, restorative poses are more accessible. So if you want to experience deep relaxation, the following yoga flow allows you to reduce tension in the body without ever getting off the mat.
Lie on your back with your legs extended out in front of you and arms relaxed by your sides. Bend both knees and draw them into your chest, grabbing your knees or shins to bring them closer. Make sure that your back, especially your lower back, remains flat on the ground. You can rock side to side a little bit to massage your sacrum, or you can remain static during the pose. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds and then release.
Single Leg Knee-To-Chest Pose
This pose is very similar to the above pose, only you focus on one leg at a time. Lie on your back with your legs extended out and your arms relaxed by your sides. Bend your right knee to draw it towards your chest, grabbing your knee or shin to pull it closer to your chest. Hold your right knee close to your chest for about two to three breaths before extending your right leg up toward the ceiling. Interlace your fingers behind your hamstring, flex your toes, and circle your ankle five times in each direction. Repeat on the other leg.
Single Leg Frog Pose
Lie flat on your stomach with your legs extended behind you and arms placed wherever you feel comfortable. If you want to reduce stress on the chest, place a pillow under your chest for support or more comfort. Bend your right knee and bring it up and out to the side until it’s in line with your hip. Direct your gaze at your right knee or keep looking forward; the choice is yours. You should feel a stretch along your right inner thigh. Remain in this position for one minute before repeating on the other side.
Single Leg Supine Twist
Begin by lying flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep your arms extended out to the sides. Extend your right leg so that it is flat on the ground and then gently roll toward your right side, but keep your shoulders on the ground as you do so. Direct your gaze to your left and hold the position for one minute before repeating on the other side.
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground about hip-distance apart. Make sure that you can reach your heels with your fingertips. Relax your arms alongside your body and keep your back neutral. Squeeze your glutes and core, press through your heels into the ground, and drive your hips up toward the ceiling. Don’t arch your lower back as you raise your hips; rather, focus on keeping the spine in a neutral position. Roll back your shoulders and stabilize yourself with your arms on the ground. Remain here for a second before lowering your body back to the ground. Repeat the movement, going up and down in a controlled manner, for about one minute.
Supine Pigeon Pose
Lie flat on your back and bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Lift your right leg, flex your foot, and cross your right ankle over your left thigh. If you feel a stretch in this position, remain here for the recommended time before switching sides. If you want a deeper stretch, grab behind your left thigh and draw it towards you until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30-60 seconds before switching to the other side.
Happy Baby Pose
Lie flat on your back and bend your knees, bringing them up toward your armpits. Face the soles of your feet toward the ceiling and reach up to grab your arches, if you can reach them. If you can’t reach them, then grab your ankles. The main thing to remember is to keep your shins perpendicular to the floor. Hold this position for one minute, rocking side to side if you want.
This is the perfect way to finish a yoga sequence because it is all about relaxation. Lie flat on your back with your legs extended out in front you, keeping your arms relaxed by your sides. Alternatively, you can rest your hands on your bell if you want. Get comfortable in this position and notice if you feel any discomfort. Settle in this position and close your eyes, taking 10 deep breaths and then hold this pose as long as you’d like.