C O N T E N T S
B R E AT H E
breath and body
breathing fully 22
first stretches 36
i n tr oduction
quieting the mind 66
what we eat
for mind & spirit
“There is nothing more important than today.” —Goethe Good morning! Welcome to Yoga In Bed. You are about to learn a new and profound way to enhance your well-being—a simple fifteen-minute series of postures and exercises that you can do in the morning before your feet even touch the floor! Yoga offers you the opportunity to deepen your self-understanding by engaging body, mind & spirit. Anyone can practice yoga, regardless of age, physical condition, lifestyle, belief system, or economic situation. It requires nothing more than your body and your willingness. You don’t need any previous experience with yoga to use this book, and there is nothing else you need to buy. Any loose-fitting sleepwear will be perfect for your new morning routine. With a small commitment of time each morning, in the comfort and privacy of your own bed, you can harvest the many benefits of yoga: a healthier and more beautiful body, increased vitality, emotional balance, an uplifted spirit, and a clear, focused mind. You may even find that aches, pains, and degenerative problems diminish considerably or even disappear. Yoga In Bed is a practical beginner’s guide that safely and gently introduces you to this time-honored practice without requiring special clothing, ‘sticky’ mats, or driving somewhere. You won’t have to find a teacher or, possibly even more difficult, a good parking spot. You have everything you need right here, ready to go.
Estimated to be 5,000 years old, yoga is the longest established system of self-improvement in the world. For many years it was thought that yoga originated during the time of Buddha, around 500 b.c., but archaeological findings in the early 1920â€™s revealed for the first time just how ancient yoga actually is. the birth of yoga
Excavations in the Indus Valley (now in modern Pakistan) uncovered soapstone seals dating from around 3000 b.c., which depicted figures in recognizable yoga postures. These artifacts were created by a culture known as the Vedic people, part of the Indus-Sarasvati civilization, named for the two great rivers along whose banks it thrived.
10 The Indus-Sarasvati culture was surprisingly sophisticated; its people constructed complex multi-story buildings, drainage systems and geometrically designed roads. Further, surviving writings demonstrate that these people sought to increase their knowledge of themselves. They had a profound understanding of manâ€™s true nature and knew the essence of what was needed to live in harmony with oneself and within the world. One of their outstanding discoveries was that by sitting in meditation for extended periods of time, they were able to transcend day-to-day life and connect with their spiritual essence. To enable themselves to do this, they found that it was necessary to strengthen and purify the body, so they sought methods to accomplish this task. Through their quest was born the practice of yoga. The early yogic cultures lived and breathed the wisdom of humanity. They planted the seeds of our evolution, and their words hold vital keys to our happiness and freedom.
The gift of these early masters is that they explored many diverse forms of yoga in seeking realization of their highest human potential. Following their pioneering explorations, countless teachers have contributed their unique wisdom over thousands of years, further enriching the heritage of yogic wisdom and enabling each of us to design an individual path of yoga that nourishes us in our own life. yoga today
Much more than simply a set of postures, yoga is a comprehensive collection of spiritual practices which link individuals to one another and to their own divinity. Even today, new and different combinations of the various forms of yoga are evolving. In the United States alone, sixteen widely-recognized forms of yoga are available (including Hatha yoga, on which this book is based), with countless variations being offered by yoga teachers as they follow their own spirit, rising to meet the needs of their students. why practice yoga?
Quite frankly, because it works. Yoga is easy to learn and helps us feel better. Every day that you practice you can feel the reward of your effort. By doing yoga in the morning, you are beginning your day the way millions of others have before you, and are today, all over the world. Yoga is possibly the worldâ€™s oldest physical discipline; it is described in detail in ancient Sanskrit documents such as the Yoga Sutra and the Bhagavad-Gita, which are over two thousand years old.
The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, meaning “yoke,” the device used to connect a pair of oxen together to perform useful tasks such as pulling a wagon or plow. The early practitioners of yoga believed that in the same way oxen could be yoked to perform vital work, yoga could be used to connect and harmonize body, mind, and spirit. While the meaning of yoga has changed over the years, many believe that yoga is one of our most valued inheritances and an essential practice of life as we live it today.
how to use this book
The Bhagavad-Gita says, “Yoga is the art of proper action.” To take action ‘properly,’ plan a daily health-oriented routine that nurtures your well-being and your spirit. If making this kind
of commitment to yourself is new, start gently, building your practice daily or weekly. Begin by reading both the Breathe and Stretch chapters in their entirety, learning the breathing technique, and designing your initial practice. It may be tempting to skip ahead and begin the postures, but the information in the Breathe chapter is essential to a fuller and richer experience of your practice.
how to use the dvd
The is a new addition to Yoga In Bed. Filmed outsite on a futon, it is the ideal complement to the book as an inspiring option for your morning practice. You can easily choose which chapter(s) to view at any given time. For instance, you could do the stretch chapter one morning, and choose to simply focus on your breathing the next day, etc. The renew chapter offers a relaxing meditation, harmonizing inspirational music of Devakant with the beauty of nature.
b re a t h e
Yoga is said to be “ninety percent breath and ten percent postures.” To people who think of yoga as a series of postures, this may seem strange, but the emphasis on correct breathing is much more significant than most people realize. Many people breath unnaturally—you may find that you will have to re-pattern some of your own breathing habits. The early practitioners of yoga developed conscious breathing as a fundamental means for improving the functioning of their bodies and for increasing longevity. They discovered that breath is linked to the mind; any change in one affects the other. By slowing down the breath, they found that they were able to effectively quiet the mind for meditation. Medical research confirms that focusing attention on quieting your breath slows down your respiratory rate and heartbeat. All systems in your body then respond in harmony, including your thought processes—a ‘relaxation response’ that reduces stress on all organs, and can increase your longevity. For many, this is reason enough to begin a yoga practice. re n e w
In the words of the Yoga Sutra, “Yoga is stilling the activities of the mind.” Although many are first drawn to yoga primarily out of a desire to have a stronger, slimmer, or healthier body, they grow to appreciate the deeper realm of yoga—one that helps create a ‘quiet place’ amidst the stress of twenty-first-century life. A quiet mind can be vital in creating the internal balance that is necessary to maintain and improve the health of the body. The Renew chapter offers helpful guidance in exploring the benefits of meditation and relaxation at whatever time of day is best for you.
Yoga is said to be “the art of living, based on the science of living.” The Emerge chapter of this book offers tools to inspire you once you’re out of bed, including information about the importance of pure water, healthy food and fresh air. You can also explore additional ‘yoga out of bed’ postures (these postures are available as an online supplement to this book from our website at www.findhornpress.com).
c re a t i n g y o u r ow n y o g a p ro g ra m
The tools we offer are simply guidelines—remember to have fun! Yoga can and should be a joyful adventure, not just another chore to add to your already
crowded routine. Feel free to pick and choose your favorite stretches, pausing or repeating as you desire. You are the architect of your morning! Yoga In Bed provides you with helpful visuals of each posture. Your form may not look exactly like the model’s—the postures often look different when done by different people. Another aspect of “proper action” is setting goals that are attainable and maintainable. Create a routine for yourself that you will be able to achieve without frustration. When you take action, doing something is always a positive step in your commitment to your health and spiritual growth.
A small investment of time each morning—first thing, before everything and everyone else—will transform your entire day.
You will discover surprising wellsprings of peace and harmony as you learn how to release stress and hidden tension in your body.
Your exploration of yoga will create a new sense of freedom and a lightness of being as you focus your mind, balance your emotions, and strengthen your body.
You will get more out of every day because your day begins better!
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. —Goethe
B R E AT H E
“Who are you,” said the Caterpillar . . . Alice replied rather shyly, “I-I hardly know, Sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.” —Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Each breath is a wondrous new beginning; it has the potential to renew and change us moment to moment. From the instant we are born to the moment we die, breath grants us our life, one breath at a time. Given its profound effect on the quality of our lives, it is astonishing how little attention most of us pay to the marvel of breathing.
17 Bringing our attention to any normally unconscious activity enhances our relationship with that activity. Conscious breathing increases our energy, clarity of thinking, and emotional stability, making us more effective in everything we do. Learning how to breathe more consciously is essential to the practice of yoga—as it is with any practice that enhances our health and well-being. b re a t h a n d b o d y
We use a surprisingly small fraction of our breathing capacity—only twenty-five percent on average! Many of us breathe by simply expanding and contracting our chests, but natural breathing is actually centered deep in the abdominal area. Cultural norms often undermine healthy abdominal breathing. For example, men are encouraged to ‘stand up
B R E AT H E
straight,’ pressing their chests out and pulling their stomachs in, while women have endured breath-restricting corsets and girdles, and in recent times, the expectation to acquire the “perfect” body. As your body returns to its natural posture and breathes with ease, you will find that you naturally radiate beauty and peace.
The human body takes an average of 24,000 breaths a day, moving about ten thousand gallons of air.
When we breathe consciously and fully, we take air deeper into the lungs, both slowing our respiratory rate and utilizing our lungs more fully. This in turn enables every other system and function, voluntary or involuntary, to slow in response, decreasing our heart rate, metabolic rate, and blood sugar levels. At the same time, the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain and heart is increased.
c o n n e c t i n g w i t h b re a t h
Three primary factors influence our breathing patterns: unconscious imitation, posture, and stress. When we come into the world and take those first breaths on our own, our body is in its natural rhythm. Soon, however, we begin to imitate the behaviors of our primary caretakers, and these behaviors begin to influence the way we move, talk, eat, and—more subtly but just as importantly—the way we breathe. These deeply ingrained patterns of behavior, which are usually unconscious and often inefficient or even harmful, take time and patience to correct. Proper posture plays a key role in the success of our conscious breathing. Many people report feeling disconnected from their breath. One way to reconnect with your breathing is to become conscious of your posture in all that you do throughout the day. A newborn baby’s posture is
perfect, as yet unaffected by stress and uninfluenced by cultural standards. Watch a baby breathe. You’ll see that they will breathe with their whole body. Their breathing is in no way separate from their entire being. Here is a simple experiment: Sit in a slouched position and notice your breathing. Then sit up straight and see how your breathing immediately becomes fuller and deeper. This dramatically demonstrates how improper posture greatly reduces our capacity for breath. Improving your posture and deepening your breath will connect you with an inexhaustible source of beauty, energy and peace. b re a t h a n d e m o t i o n
Breath has a profound effect on our emotions. You’ve probably noticed how your breathing changes when you’re extremely upset, afraid or angered. These powerful emotions create stress that is not released until the breath transmits a canceling message to the nervous system. Once we learn how to utilize our breath to maintain a natural rhythm, we become better able to control emotional swings, preserving our equilibrium in stressful situations. b re a t h a n d t h o u g h t
Conscious breathing is an unsurpassed tool for focusing the mind. When the mind is stressed and overactive, the breath can become shallow and disjointed. When we are happy and calm and our thoughts are clear, we experience a sense of peace and balance. By using the breath to focus our mind, we also clarify our entire thinking process. Conscious breathing provides the key to balancing body, mind and spirit.
Sit up straight, or lie on your back in a comfortable and supported position. Close your eyes and bring your full attention to your breath. Notice and feel your natural rhythm. Take your time and focus on how your breath currently feels. Imagine your belly as a big yellow balloon. As you inhale, fill your belly with air just as you would fill a balloon. Place the palm of your hand over your navel, and feel your belly pressing up into your palm. As you exhale, your navel will drop back toward your spine, deflating as a balloon would do when the air is slowly released. Repeat this rhythm, slowing your breathing rate as you do so. Exaggerate the movement in your belly to sense how much additional breathing capacity you have, especially after exhaling. As you practice abdominal breathing, emphasize exhalation. You must exhale fully in order to clear the lungs for the inhalation.
y o u r f i rs t s t re t c h e s
Take these first waking moments to enjoy the way your body feels when you stretch. Begin by circling and flexing every finger and toe. Feel the stretches moving out into your wrists and ankles. Flex your wrists and ankles a few times and then circle both clockwise and counter clockwise.
On your next inhalation, clasp your fingers overhead and push your palms away from you toward the wall behind you. As you exhale, release the stretch. Now gently roll onto the right side of your body. Use your forearm and hand to press yourself up into a sitting position.
n e c k a n d s h o u l d e r s t re t c h e s
Begin by simply looking to the right as you exhale and then inhale back to the center and exhale to the left side. Repeat two or three times. Next, looking down towards your chest as you exhale, pause, pressing your chin toward your chest. Inhale as you stretch up, looking toward the ceiling. Repeat. Stretch your right ear toward your right shoulder as you exhale. Pause. 32
On the next inhalation stretch up through the center and exhale over to your left side and pause. Repeat as desired. Inhale your right shoulder up toward your ear and exhale back down. Repeat on the other side. Alternate with stretching both shoulders up as you inhale. Pause and hold the breath in. Exhale and fully release.
u p p e r b o d y s t re t c h
Inhale your arms overhead and clasp your hands together, pressing your palms toward the ceiling. Release your arms behind your head, elbows bent with your fingers still clasped. Release your head back into your palms and fully breathe into the chest. Draw your elbows back. As you exhale draw your elbows in toward each other and press your chin toward your chest. Repeat several times. 34
From an upright position, drop each elbow from side to side with each exhalation. Inhaling up and exhaling down. From the center, gently twist from side to side. Exhaling into the twist and inhaling as you come back to the center. You are now ready to begin the posture routine. Gently roll down onto your bed in a reclining position.
As you lay face down, with your feet close together, place the palms of your hands at chest level with the elbows tucked in toward the body. Take a moment to breathe into your belly and feel it pressing against the bed. Inhale as you press down into your palms, lifting your head and chest a
It is important
few inches off the bed. Exhale and lower your forehead slowly back to
to begin feeling
the bed. Repeat twice. Each time lift your body a little further.
how your breath supports your
You may want to pause and hold the cobra for a few breaths. Press up through the crown of your head and out through your sternum or chest. Slowly release your forehead back to the bed, and then bring your arms to rest by your sides. Pause. Bend your knees and allow your legs to move from side to side. This is known as â€˜windshield wiper-ingâ€™ your legs, and helps release your spine. Variation: Keep your forearms down on the bed as you press gently up. This is known as the Sphinx posture. Gently release or repeat, and pause.
a closing to your morning session
Pause and relax with your eyes closed. You might consider sitting in the classic half lotus posture (shown opposite) —but any posture that feels comfortable is just fine! Take a few moments to acknowledge yourself and your blessings before you move on with your day. Feel how much lighter, open and refreshed your body feels.
You are now ready for your day! Here’s to your perfect day ... enjoy every moment!
Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible. —Saint Francis of Assisi
Published on Jul 9, 2010
Published on Jul 9, 2010
A blissfull night’s sleep deserves to be followed by Yoga In Bed — the perfect transition to prepare body, mind and spirit for whatever the...