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4 yoga stretches you can do in bed — no mat required

Your local yoga studio may be closed for a while, but that’s no reason to give up on your practice. Revive your inner yogi with this stretching sequence.

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By Stephanie Mansour

If you’re cooped up in your house and don't have a yoga mat, don’t worry. Yoga can still be part of your weekly routine. (After all, the ancient yogis didn’t have mats either.) As a certified yoga Instructor, I created a quick stretch routine that you can do — in bed. There’s no sweating involved, so you can even do the sequence in your pajamas, if you want.

Believe it or not, your bed can be a great piece of workout equipment. It’s soft and provides extra support and flexibility for your body. For yoga, in particular, we want to focus on feeling comfortable in each pose, unlike with other workouts where intensity is the main focus.

1. Wide Leg Inner Thigh Stretch

Sit up tall and spread your legs wide apart. (You can prop yourself up on a pillow if that’s more comfortable.) This position is meant to really stretch your inner thighs, so go ahead and lean forward into this stretch. Flex your feet and squeeze your quads to protect your knees. Take three slow, deep breaths here. Remember that in yoga we breathe in and out through the nose.

2. Wide Leg Side Stretch

From the above position, press your right forearm down onto your right thigh — or the bed. Then lift your left arm up and reach it over toward the right one. This opens up the middle of the body and the side body, all the way from the hip up to the armpit. Hold this for three breaths, and then switch sides and repeat.

3. Seated Twist

Cross your left ankle over your straight right leg. Then turn to the right and twist toward your knee. Flex the straight right leg, and relax your shoulders. As you breathe in, try to sit up taller. And as you breathe out, pull your navel in toward your spine to ring out your internal organs and improve mobility in your spine. Hold this pose for three breaths, and then switch to twist to the other side.

4. Seated Forward Fold

Straighten both legs in front of you and flex your feet. Engage your quads to protect your knees. Reach your arms out to the side and up, and then slowly fold forward over your legs. Allow your head to dangle and your shoulders to relax. Hold this pose for three slow, deep breaths — and then release.

Do this routine in the morning before getting out of bed, in the evening before going to bed, or in the middle of the day when you need a break. It’ll help keep your body limber and your mind calm. Namaste!