You wake up. You’re slow and groggy. Even though you’re walking around the house, you still feel like you’re in bed sleeping. It’s time to wake up and get energized for the day! How are we going to do that? With some good ol’ Yoga.
Yoga has been practiced for centuries, and for good reason: Yoga is a low-impact activity that provides the same benefits as a normal exercise program. Practising yoga can increase general health and stamina, reduce stress, and reduce lower back pain.
So, what are the best poses to do in the morning to get us awake and energized? Here are 10 easy yoga morning stretches to jump-start your day:
1. Child’s Pose
Start in a kneeling position and bring your chest down to your knees with your forehead on the floor. Reach out straight in front of you, extending your arms and placing your palms flat on the floor, pointing in front of you.
Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose to expand the back of the chest and widen the ribs. Exhale through the nose and sink the buttocks back down toward the heels feeling the spine gently curving over the thighs.
Take 5-10 breaths in this position.
2. Cat / Cow Pose
Start on your hand and knees with your wrists beneath your shoulders, your knees beneath your hips, and with your back straight (tabletop position).
As you inhale, look up and reach your tailbone toward the sky as if you’re trying to making a U shape with your back. As you exhale, tuck your chin to your chest and reach your tailbone to the floor as if you are making an arch with your back.
Take 5 breaths.
3. Downward Dog Pose
This stretch imitates a dog stretching, hence the name.
Start in tabletop position (see above). Place your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Pressing back, you lift your knees off the floor, keeping your arms straight, and lifting your tailbone up. Press your heels to the floor to stretch your hamstrings.
Take 5 -10 breaths in this position.
4. Warrior One Pose
For this position, we start by standing up straight. Step your left leg back 3.5 – 4 feet. Bend your right knee so that it is above the ankle and turn your left foot in slightly. Raise your arms (palms together) directly above you, reaching up, and look up.
Take 5 – 10 breaths in this position, then repeat, reversing leg positions.
5. Warrior Two Pose
The Warrior Two pose is similar to the Warrior One pose except, in this pose the arms are held out to the side and the head is looking forward. The back foot is now at a 90-degree angle instead of turned in slightly.
Take 5 – 10 breaths in this position.
6. Tree Pose
This is another standing pose that helps to strengthen your legs and improve your balance. Start by standing straight, then shift your weight to your right foot. Bring the sole of your left foot up to your inner right thigh. If this is too difficult, place your foot on your calf instead. Hold your hands together in a prayer position in front of your chest.
Hold this pose for 1 – 2 minutes and then switch legs.
7. Standing Forward Bend Pose
Standing straight, let your upper body hang. Your neck and head should be relaxed, and your knees bent at the start. If you can’t feel any tension in your lower back, start to straighten your legs.
Inhale and lengthen the spine, exhale and move your head slowly towards your feet.
Take 5- 10 breaths in this position.
8. Triangle Pose
Begin this pose in a standing position, then widen your leg stance to about a leg-length. Turn your right foot out to the side with the heel aligning with the center arch of the left foot. Hold your arms out parallel to the ground and reach out to the right side, keeping both legs straight. When you can’t reach out further, pivot your arms so they stay in line, moving in opposite directions. If you are comfortable and balanced, look at your top thumb.
Take 5 breaths in this position then repeat, switching sides.
9. Chair Twist Pose
Start this pose by standing with your feet together. Bend your knees and sink your hips back as if you’re sitting down in a chair. Reach your arms up on each side of your face. This is the chair pose.
As you inhale, lengthen your spine. As you exhale, place your hands together at the center of your chest in a prayer position. Then twist to your right, placing your left elbow outside of your right thigh, looking up over your right shoulder. On your next inhale return to chair position, and on your next exhale repeat the twist to your left.
Repeat this with 10 breaths.
10. Camel Pose
Start in the kneeling position. Gradually bend your upper torso backward until your arms are extended backward, with your hands touching the soles of your feet and the head extended.
If this is too difficult, then an easier way is to simply lean your upper torso back with hands on your hips, until you can feel your legs stretching.
Take 5 – 10 breaths in this position.
Alright! We have finished our yoga stretches and feeling energized! Yeah! Still feeling groggy? Maybe you just haven’t gotten your blood circulating.
After doing these poses every morning you’ll soon realize the great benefits yoga has to offer. I know that yoga has helped me a lot whenever I’ve had lower back pain, and when it didn’t I soon realized it was my bad posture that was the issue. Either way, this yoga routine will have you out of bed, and feeling ready to take on the world in no time!