If you wake up listless or grumpy, or just don’t quite want to get up yet, here’s a simple Yoga Tune Up® pose that  you could do before you even get out of bed! (If there’s someone else in bed with you, you may want to give them a little nudge to make room.) Stretching and strengthening the sides of the body will help realign a scrunched up spine and flush the organs with blood, stimulating and refreshing you and making the waking up process a little easier! (You can also find this pose on the 5 Minute Quick Fix for Lower Back video.)

Read our post about relieving lower back pain.

Discover our lower back pain solutions.


Sarah Court

Sarah Court is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Yoga Tune Up® Teacher Trainer, and the creator of Quantum Leap. She teaches public workshops, anatomy for yoga teacher trainings, and trains Yoga Tune Up® teachers worldwide. She developed and teaches her Quantum Leap continuing education program to make sophisticated movement science easy for movement teachers to understand and apply to their teaching. Sarah received her doctorate in Physical Therapy from Mount St. Mary’s University. She brings significant clinical experience to her teaching, attracting clients and students with a desire to move intelligently, regain mobility, or manage chronic conditions. Sarah is an award-winning graduate of Princeton University, and edited the Yoga Tune Up® blog for 5 years. She has been featured on exercise.com and The New York Times. Find her Yoga Tune Up® schedule here or go to her full website.

76
Leave a Reply

 
76 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
15 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
75 Comment authors
Lou Shapiro

That’s beautiful. Would this be safe, do you think, for my long-time friend who’s had to give up yoga for now because of bulging discs? It seems gentle & stable enough to at least try.

Nadjiba Medjaoui

That’s a nice way to start the day…I will give it a try and let you know how it goes!

Christina

Wow! Love the idea of starting my day with YTU in bed! Flushing my organs with fresh blood a bonus! I am definitely going to try this next time I’m the last one in bed.

Orla

Just tried this after an evening of lots of walking and climbing stairs with 3 heavy books in my backpack. I definitely feel some relief. This will be a nice therapeutic movement to incorporate into my classes.

Barbara Treves

I also tried this stretch both in bed and on my wooden floor with a blanket and agree the friction is less on the floor so I felt I could gain just a little more lateral flexion – plus I didn’t risk waking up my hubby.

Nicole Shahida

I’ve been suffering from some lower back pain for some time and this exercise has proven to be a great stretch! However I do find that I get a smoother and more even stretch when I’m on a hard surface like my wood floors rather than in my soft bed.

Tune Up Fitness

Hi Jenny!

Yes, I would take it very very easy considering your current state of spasm. I’m not sure what you mean by balance the pelvis, but having the floor or bed under you will keep the two sides of your pelvis level so that there is no torque at the SI joint. The beachball adduction activates the adductor group of the inner thigh which will in turn have an effect on pelvic floor and lower abdominal strength.

Jenny Buchanan

hi Sarah, this is helpful. I may even try it in my compromised state of lower back spasm… albiet it gently in bed in the morning.Does the lateral flexion of the spine while supported by the floor (or the bed) help to balance the pelvis as well ? And is the “beachball” adduction of hips also a stabilizer of pelvis and scarum?

Katie Fornika

Now this is something I think even my parents would try! Way to ninja sneak attack in some strength and movement to people’s lives!

Helen McAvoy

Love this article…now i just need to get a new mattress to make the wake up complete!

Jona Joyce

I think this is great! I do this with a few of my PWP clients that are having more of challenge walking. YTU QL ball release and a little twist in sheets to awake up that corso. 🙂

Amy Deguio

I love this exercise – it is is beginning to really awaken and organize my oblique muscles in conjunction with the rest of my core after having my second child 2 years ago – the muscles are delayed in activating and are very imbalanced carrying around my babies! It feels so nourishing and energizing!

Andrea Borrero

i’m going to try this tomorrow morning … my lower back often feels crunchy when i first get up in the morning, and takes a little while to ‘loosen.’ Give then I have active, sometimes strenuous, days – between teaching, practicing and running around NYC, I accept that I’ll have aches & pains to start the day. Also, getting older contributes to how quickly I can “bounce back” but any for of self-massage and anything to re-animate the body, I’ll try.

Linda Abt

How wonderful to start the day by doing something so good for yourself. You have powerful combination of spine flexion in combination with engagement of the obliques, transverse abdominals, rectus abdominis, adductors and quadriceps. As we get older the transition from bed to movement is not fluid. Doing this simple exercise in bed allows us to warm up so that the transition from bed to floor is much more pleasant. Thanks so much.

Rachelle

My partner’s back muscles are so uneven that his entire left side is about .25 of an inch ‘higher/thicker” than the right side. I’m thinking this will help and I’ll be sure to get out of bed while he’s doing it.

Soo

Trina had us try it yesterday; not sure if it made my back feel any better….but I’m definitely willing to give it a try in bed! I’m willing to try anything and everything to make my lower back pain go away so I will be doing this every morning for a few weeks, or at least until my TT is over.

Darren

Trina had us doing a version of this movement today in TT. I must admit, it was the first time i’d seen it.

I suppose that’s why we do things like TT… to see new things for the first time.

Donna

Great way to start the day – as I get older, I find that I need more ways to stretch my body in the morning and get my blood flowing. Thanks for the great idea

Dana

Yes absolutely gonna have to give this a try in the morning! Deep breath and remind myself of my sankalpa. Excellent way to turn the Monday frown upside down!

Cindy

I never thought to do lateral flexion/extension to strech out the lower spine. I would always revert to a rabbit or a paschimotanasana. But this brings lubrication into the spine and allows for deeper elongation of the side and back body to bring relief into the lower back. Added bonus is that the adductors get strenfthened in the pose!!

Renate

Great pose! I’m not sure that will work for me IN bed, but I could imagine getting out of bed to feel that opening and strengthening of the side body. I especially like the intensification of the stretch on each side.

orlena lackenbauer

I am 65 and really starting to feel the stiff morning back. My husband has had two spine surgeries and has fallen into greater and greater flexion and back pain. I appreciate this easy reminder of how to wake up and strengthen the back in an easy and supported position. Before getting up I pull my knees to my chest, laterally rotate the lower spine by taking my knees side to side , then do a bridge pose and add the knee tilts side to side while holding posterior pelvic tilt. I then sflex my arms and legs straight up… Read more »

Emily Faurholt

Fix my back while I am in bed>…. Brilliance!

Lauren

Well, I’ve been waking up both grumpy and listless lately! I’m such a believer in the mind body connection, and always open to find ways to improve it, especially if they include ways to strengthen the lower back – a place I often experience pain. This video was very helpful too in that it clearly articulates and demonstrates the modifications in the body and breath that are necessary to do the pose correctly and to reap the benefits. I will be sure to try it out tomorrow when I wake up! Thank you!

Annette

I am going to give this a try! I get lower back pain often from an injury, and especially lately from sitting on the floor for long periods of time during lectures in Teacher Training. This is a great exercise to do during our lunch to stretch out my back. Thanks Sarah!

Marc

Although I’m not sure I’ll always have the room for this, I gave it a shot this morning and found it to be a great addition to the alarm clock. It felt initially like the standing morning stretch just as we step out of bed but soon felt a bit more awakening. My spine felt longer and more energizing upon standing. Great idea!

Cathy Favelle

YTU in Bed! What a wonderful way to awaken your body and start to bring awareness and circulation into the body first thing in the morning! I also teach many seniors who have asked if there were some poses they might be able to do in bed….YTU has many as I’m just now learning in our teacher training….this is one of my favorites!

Sylvia Baedorf Kassis

I first tried this exercise during the Yoga Tune Up weekend of my yoga teacher training. It’s really fun! The idea of doing it in bed before getting up is perfect when every minute of the day is jam-packed. I have some low back issues, so if I can start my day by being aware and doing supportive, strengthening exercises, that is fantastic!

Marie Mbouni

I love the idea of starting yoga in bed, nothing aggressive, easy, and with lots of benefits back, stress relief…
I have to start practicing this! Thank you!

Becky Marshall

Always looking for stretches that I can do in bed to help me “wake up” before actually getting out of bed! This has the added bonus of helping with my lower back, which can be a sensitive area. Thanks!

Jen Zweibel

Recently I have had severe lower back pain and nothing seems to help. I have been practicing asana consistently for the past year and then all of a sudden this back issue crept up on me. I will definitely start to use this stretch every morning to help ease the tension. Thank you!

nadine wallace

I live with chronic lower back pain and I tried this stretching exercise this morning. It’s an awsome gentle stretch for the lats and helps me to breathe into the stifness I feel in my sacrum.

Brian W

I have often always thought that we should be more like our pets. When your dog or cat get up from rest, the first thing they always do is stretch. When I wake up, I often run straight for the coffee, or run straight to work. We should all take some more time in the morning to stretch and loosen up the muscles. This can be particularly important if there are chronic pain issues in the back or anywhere else for that matter. All that junk that gets settled in our bodies when we sleep needs to be worked out.… Read more »

Rachel Mattison

A back strengthening exercise that I can do before even getting out of bed? Sold! Not just and excellent strengthener to the lower back and obliques, but a fantastic lateral stretch for the opening side. I need the extra strength and release in my QL too, so I can’t wait to make this a regular part of my routine. I’ll second Alissa’s comment that I’ll be wanting that king sized bed all the more!

Chau

I had the pleasure of learning about this today! This static stretch move I will be trying tomorrow morning.

Lindsay E

I did a version of this pose for the first time today during a YTU training session and never thought of being able to do it in bed! As a self-proclaimed workaholic, it is difficult for me to fit a yoga session in every single day – this is a pose I will be adding to my at-home repertoire. Can’t wait to give it a try tomorrow 🙂

regina

this is indeed a gentle way to strengthen the waist muscles without risk of aggravating any existing pain in the lower back!

Laura McIntire

This looks a bit more gentle than sidewinder, I’ll give it a try. Sidewinder doesn’t seem to agree with my lumbar spine. I do have a great deal of sensation that I would not classify as positive across the iliac crest (anterior and posterior) during lateral extension. This is something that I’ve been trying to figure out for while and I wonder if anyone else has contended with this issue?
I’ll try out side bending savasana.

Roselea

I do feel shortened and stiff in the side body when I awake, I don’t feel that I have very much space between my ribs and my hips. I often lengthen and twist in the morning but I’ve never tried side-bending, I’m going to give this a try in the am. Thanks YTU.

regina

the fact that someone is laying supine while doing this exercise really forces them to isolate these muscles and helps them relax other over-worked ones!

Millie

This dynamic posture works wonders with my students suffering from stiff and chronic low back pain. It is fairly simple to instruct, and after the first time I have 100% positive feedback from my classes. The wonderful thing is that it is easy to teach and for newbies to Yoga Tune Up, a great way to begin winning their confidence in new techniques introduced into their ‘yoga’ practice. I especially like to teach and demonstrate as a sufferer myself, as it of course I also benefit. I find the lateral flexion and extension with the added visual of the beachball… Read more »

Gari Kylberg

This is just what I need after awakening in the morning feeling stiff from resting on my back all night.

Janet Berkowitz

Great pose for wakening up the low back! The adductors come into play and also lateral flexion.
I will try this pose before getting out of bed sometime – I do sometimes wake up with a cranky low back!

Sarah

Hi Anh,

I would go slowly at first and see how it goes, or perhaps start with a dynamic variation of this pose called Sidewinder that we’ll do in class tomorrow. You might also find that working with your YTU Therapy Balls into your lower back will help with that knot (and we’ll do that in class too!)

anh chi

i have a knot in my left QL, it’s been there for a long time, probably as a result of a L2 compression fracture i had 11 years ago. the initiation of this side-bend on the left is challenging for me (and can tweak my back), but i think this is a pose that could help me in the long term. how do you recommend i modify this?

Christina Cruz

This is an awesome stretch to do first thing in the morning. It really got my blood flowing and reduced some of those morning fuzzy’s which causes that achey feeling in the body. This is also quite invigorating to do laying on a blanket on the floor anytime during the day! Thank you!! 🙂

Alissa Aboud

Thank you so much for this one Sarah. I tried this one this morning when first waking up and it also helped me to lengthen and contract (on opposite sides) of my obliques to assist in lateral flexion. While keeping the entire back side of the body in contact with the bed, you can really feel the intense side bend action – but it’s an accesable pose that anyone can do since you are laying flat on your back. I think I may need a King size bed now though!

Danielle Walsh

i find this yoga tune up pose to be a good gateway for individuals that do not practice yoga on a daily basis. This awakening pose offers a introduction to beginners and all level students to explore the stretching and strengthening sensation in the body before one gets out of bed. This pose awakens the body and starts your day with a little yoga.

Keith Wittenstein

I appreciate the recent focus on waking up and starting the day with yoga in bed. It’s a powerful habit to start your day correctly in the right mindset. It can truly set the tone and direction for the rest of the day so it is worth spending those precious first few moments to take care of yourself.

Sherry Matwe

Nice YTU in bed! Love that with the contraction on the one side you can squeeze tention out of the lower back so needed after sleep; while at the same time on the otherside you get a strech and huge breath, which wakes you. This is perfect for the time and place and how most of us feel in the morning- thank you Sarah.