No doubt about it, mornings can be tough. You might be one of those lucky persons who jump out of bed at the first sign of day light – congratulations! For the rest of us, it’s a good thing we have yoga and strong coffee.
Welcome to your new morning yoga routine. This yoga sequence is designed to gently stimulate your muscles, increase blood flow, and awaken your body after a night’s rest. Do the poses in order to start. After you have been practicing for a couple weeks, feel free to mix up the order or add new yoga poses to spice things up.
Do this yoga workout every morning and you’ll be feeling energized and ready to take on the world with more zest and focus.
Grab a yoga mat, or towel, and energize your mind, body and asana!
#1. Cat/Cow Stretches
Cat/Cow Pose increases flexibility of the neck, shoulders, and spine. The movement also stretches the muscles of the hips, back, abdomen, chest, and lungs.
While Cat/Cow Stretch may look “easy,” it is a powerful pose for the mind. The breath synchronized movement increases coordination, fosters intentional focus, and invigorates prana (the vital life force in the body). Furthermore, it is associated with increased emotional balance and stability of the mind.
This lengthening of the spine improves circulation to the discs between the vertebrae, which in turn relieves stress from the back and calms the mind.
As you breathe in, look up. As you breathe out, look down and round your back. Repeat for 1 minute.
#2. Child’s Pose
This pose really opens up your hips, thighs, ankles and lower back.
You will begin to relieve stress while extending and opening your lower back as well. This pose will put minimal strain on any one part of your body, so it’s good for the beginning of your routine.
Child’s pose massages the muscles in the front of your body while stretching the muscles of your back. When you massage the muscles in your front and stomach, you will more than likely be improving your digestive system while boosting your immune system.
Breathe and hold for 1-2 minutes.
#3. Cobra Pose
Cobra Pose will stretch your lower back, chest and shoulders. The pose opens the heart area and shoulders to promote flexibility.
When performing the Cobra Pose, try to make sure that your hips do not lift off the ground to start. Keep your elbows slightly bent. Once you get stronger, and more flexible, you can straighten your arms at some point, but don’t push it. If your hips lift, engage your legs to protect your back.
Take a deep breath and push your arms under your shoulders to life up your chest. Breathe deeply into the stretch for 1 minute. Lower down slowly.
#4. Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog creates an intense stretch through the back of the legs, particularly through the thighs, calves and ankles. It also builds strength and heat through the hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders, as the upper body works to press the torso towards the legs.
This is considered an inversion pose. Fresh oxygenated blood is brought into the head to help refresh energy and help to stimulate the various organ systems of the body. This pose is the ultimate “pick-me-up!” and can be done anytime you feel a little foggy.
Make sure to bend your knees as you press up into the pose. Feet and hands should be shoulder distance apart. Do not force your heels to the ground; especially important when you just wake up. Peddle your knees to alternatively stretch out the back of your legs. Gently shake your head side to side to open the back and side of your neck.
Hold the pose and breathe for 30 seconds to start and work up to 1-2 minutes as you get stronger.
#5. Standing Forward Bend
It is very important to keep the hamstrings open to reduce strain and tightness in the back. If your hamstrings are tight, keep a bend to your knees. Don’t force your legs to be straight.
Wrap hands around opposite elbow to dangle in “Ragdoll”. You can sway from side to side, shaking your head gently to open up the neck and lengthen the spine.
Breathe deeply for 1-2 minutes. Roll up very slowly, one vertebrae at a time to come to standing.