You’ve probably heard of sun salutations – surya namaskara. In essence this is a sequence of poses that, in one form or another, is part of many yoga routines. It’s a good overall stretching routine that ensures most of your important body parts get ample focus and blood flow.
This bed version of sun salutations includes some of the same ideas, modified for doing them on a bed.
The aim in sun salutations is to do this all as a gentle flow, from one step to another. It’s fine at first to keep stopping and referring to these notes. Over time it’ll connect together, as you learn the routine.
SKY REACHING POSE
We’re going to do it sitting down.
Start with your hands resting at your sides.
Raise your hands out to each side – the right hand to the right, the left hand to the left. Continue to circle them up toward the sky. Touch the palms together above your head.
Bend slightly backwards. Stretch up.
If you can’t sit up, lay down and stretch your hands above your head. Press them gently down into the bed. If you’re able to, turn so you can hang a bit over the edge of the bed to give your back a bit of a curve.
From your stretching-to-the-sky pose, sweep your arms forward and let the palms separate. Stretch out your legs before you. Fold at the waist into a forward bend.
If you aren’t able to sit up, then simply stretch your arms toward your toes.
This is uttanasana.
Usually the next part of the salutation is to bend at the waist and put your hands on your knees, but that’s a challenge to approximate in bed. So we’ll we’ll at least get the bend part going.
Lay back and gently curl your shoulders up. Now bring your knees in toward your chest. Wrap your arms around your knees.
Hold and breathe.
Plank pose, or kumbhakasana, is an amazing pose that is known throughout the exercise and health world. It builds up strong core muscles that are important in daily life.
Lay on your stomach. Put your toes on the bed and then lift up with your arms. If you can’t hold full plank pose on your hands and toes, you can lower to your elbows as a modification.
Engage those core stomach muscles.
You can also lower your knees to the bed.
If your mattress is fairly squishy, this might be a pose where you have to be on your knees and forearms, to give you better stability. Do whatever works in your current situation. The aim is still to engage the stomach muscles to help build their strength.
Remember, it’s fine to modify. Modify away, to suit your current level. Find an alternative that is safe and fits your health and fitness level. We are all different!
Cobra – bhujangasana – is another great spine-stretching pose. This also feels amazing to me. If it doesn’t yet for you, that’s fine. Give it time 🙂
From plank, press your hips down and stretch out your toes. Lift the crown of your head up toward the sky.
Look left and hold. Look straight and hold. Look right and hold. Look straight again and hold.
Stretch your head up.
Sit cross-legged on the bed. If you aren’t able to sit, lie on your back.
Keeping your thumbs touching, rotate your palms so they face away from you. Point your palms at the floor. Now rotate your palms down so they face you and your fingers are pointing at the floor. Rotate your wrists so the backs of your hands are touching and point your fingers at your chest. Now continue the rotation so your fingers are pointing at the sky.
Lift your hands toward the sky, allowing your elbows to come together briefly as you do. As your hands move up, and separate them.
Make a big vertical circle with your two hands, your right hand going right, your left hand going left. Each one traces half the circle. Then bring them back to meet at your chest.
Bring your hands to your chest. Place the palms together.
Press your hands out away from you, to the front. Swing each hand to its side, making a big horizontal half-circle. So the right hand moves outstretched to your right and the left hand moves outstretched to your left. They stay parallel to the floor.
When both hands are fully out at either side, reverse and swing both hands in front of you to meet at the full extension before you.
Draw that in to you.
Go back to the beginning of the Sun Salutation and start again. See if you can go a little deeper into your bends the second time through.
You are now done with the Sun Salutation portion of the routine. Rest and tune in with your body for a moment.
How does your body feel?
Always check in with your body. Avoid labels like “good” or “bad” – simply listen.