To get a jumpstart on your day, try these five morning yoga moves that are sure to give you more energy and clarity.
Make Time for Yoga
Simply planning a 10-minute routine to include in your morning preparations can a make a world of difference to the rest of your day. It's always helpful to have a couple of poses or brief routines to turn to. When you have more time in your schedule, indulge in a 30- or 60-minute morning practice.
There are many benefits to performing yoga in the morning.
- Since the body is stiff from inactivity, gentle movement will help get all systems working.
- Subtle twists stimulate digestion, helping to reduce constipation.
- Focused breathing helps to cleanse the lungs and nose.
- You'll be more clearheaded and focused to meet the day.
- You'll open up energy pathways throughout the body, increasing energy.
Consider your morning practice to be a sacred moment when you focus solely on your needs. If you have a family, consider getting up 45 minutes before the rest of the household to allow for this quiet time to center yourself and give you strength to prepare for the rest of the day. Try practicing outside to listen to the birds wake up and watch the sunrise. Or, create a special place in your living room or bedroom with objects or talismans that are important to you.
Five Morning Yoga Moves
Some poses are more beneficial to perform in the morning because they are more invigorating, so we'll focus on those in this article. Use these five morning yoga moves to create a short sequence. Repeat as often as necessary for a longer session. If you're new to yoga, click on the blue links for instructions on how to perform each pose.
When you perform this asana, you limber up the spine and awaken breath. You can perform Cat and Cow separately, up to 20 times each and always returning to a flat back, but if you combine them into one flowing sequence, you'll encourage more energy. You really can't do anything wrong in this pose -- just make sure the hips and knees are in alignment and the shoulders, elbows, and wrists are too.
As you arc backward, this great posture stretches the entire front of the body and stimulates the internal organs. The key is not to put strain on the neck or back while trying to place the hands on the heels. Beginners should use blocks by their heels and maintain good form while training the body to slip into the pose fully.
This standard yoga pose both calms the mind and increases energy, so it's a great one to do in order to clear out the morning cobwebs. Your hamstrings may be tight first thing in the morning, so lower the heels to the floor gradually. You have to cycle through Down Dog a couple of times in order to stretch them fully.
To improve stamina, perform this series. Standing poses increase strength and help you focus. Pick your favorite from Warrior I, II, or III. Concentrate on form or move smoothly from one to the next.
Include a subtle twist to invigorate the spine, stimulate the internal organs, and relieve stiffness in the neck. Remember the twist come from the abdominals, with the head the last to turn. Extend as far as your breath takes you. This may vary from morning to morning, but even a slight twist has benefits.
Always end your morning session in Corpse Pose, or Savasana, to allow the body to adjust.
The Sun Salutation Sequence
Sun Salutations awaken the body with breath, and each pose is designed to invigorate the body.
If you really want to spark up your morning practice, or if it's a bit chilly, do the Sun Salutation Sequence in Vinyasa Flow style. If you need to cool off or just want to build intensity gradually, don't jump from one pose to the other; instead hold each posture for 20-seconds or so before advancing to the next one. Remember, you'll need to do Lunge Pose with both the right and left legs, so if you do the sequence more than twice, remember which leg you're on!
Great DVDs for Morning Yoga Practice
Try these DVDs to expand your five morning yoga moves into a full repertoire.