Whether you’re a morning person or not starting your day with a short yoga sequence can infuse energy and make your transition into the day a smooth one. In the early morning, our mind is still quiet, and our body is ready to respond to movement after, hopefully, a good night sleep.
Practicing yoga in the morning has a stimulating effect both physically and mentally. It can improve your concentration and help you stay focused and efficient throughout the rest of your day.
Establishing a new routine indeed requires intention and work, but given the gains, it appears to be worth it. Remember that consistency will get you there. Then, once you start enjoying the benefits, you’ll be more inclined to make an effort, and it will become a habit.
Try this simple morning sequence. Remember to breath throughout the session and get your day off to a positive, efficient start.
Child’s pose can be a great starting point for your morning sequence. You might not be fully awake yet so start easily with this resting, relaxing posture. Rest your forehead down on the mat and give your back body a good stretch with your hands extended forward and your hips as close as possible to your heels. You can keep your knees together or spread them apart towards the sides of the mat.
Take a few deep breaths expanding your chest while inhaling, and sinking deeper towards the heels during exhaling.
If you’re ready, proceed with the sequence, otherwise, stay as long as you need.
From Child’s Pose go into standing on all fours for a cat-cow pose. Make sure you adjust yourself so that your hips are right above your knees and your wrists and shoulders aligned vertically against the mat. These two asanas are often used together to create a gentle flowing movement. You inhale at cow pose as you lift your chest and tailbone toward the ceiling and exhale at cat pose as you arch and round your spine up. This flow stretches and massages the spine using your breath to lead the movement.
Breath through this flow for a few minutes or stay longer if you feel the need.
From Cat-Cow pose curl your toes in and press back into Downward-Facing Dog by lifting your knees from the floor and keeping your arms straight. Push your chest toward your thighs and bring your sitting bones up. To lengthen your hamstrings push your heels toward the ground. However, bear in mind that focusing on long spine and hips high is more important than having your feet entirely on the ground, so keep your knees bent if you need.
Feel free to move within the pose and start walking in place putting one heel down at a time.
This pose strengthens the limbs while stretching and energizing your entire body.
Stay here for 5-10 breaths.
From Downward-Facing Dog walk your feet toward your hands and let your body bend forward. This pose is about stretching the back and hamstrings. Don’t over push it though, as it should be comfortable and relaxing as well. Keep your knees bent, and your spine long during inhale and as you exhale move your upper body closer to your thighs so you can slightly go deeper. As you progress with your practice, you can try and straighten your legs.
This pose stretches your hamstrings and helps you calm the brain and relieve stress.
Take 5-10 breaths in this pose.
From Standing Forward Bend roll up slowly. Alternatively, you can rise by hinging from the hips with a long spine. Inhale, keep your palms close to the sides of your body facing out and raise your arms toward the ceiling forming a full circle until your palms meet. Try to keep your shoulders low and press your palms against each other. Engage your abdominals and feel the stretch of your belly and shoulders. Hold for a few breaths. Exhale as you circle your arms down and fold back into Standing Forward Bend.
From Standing Forward Bend inhale and lift your torso half way up to straighten and prolong the spine. Press your fingertips against the floor to help raise and lengthen your back. If your back rounds bend your knees or set your hands higher, you can place them your shins or use yoga blocks for support. Take a few breaths and release your back into Standing Forward Bend.
This pose rejuvenates and stretches your spine and legs.
Try moving several times between Standing Forward Bend and Standing Half Forward Bend. Pay attention to how your breath controls the movement as you inhale on your way up and exhale as you lower down.
From Standing Half Forward Bend extend your right leg backward and move into Low Lunge. Put your right knee on the ground with the toes long, or tucked, and make sure your left knee is right above your heel. As you gently sink in, feel the stretch along your right thigh and groin. If you feel comfortable and stable, proceed to raise your arms and lift your chest. If this is too intense for you, keep your hands on your left knee or rest your fingertips on the ground on each side of your hips.
Stay here for a few breaths and at last exhale take your arms down and move into Downward-Facing Dog by bringing your left leg backward.
To switch sides extend your right leg forward, lower your left knee to the ground and keep your toes long or tucked to repeat the Low Lunge.
From Low Lunge curl your toes in, if they were long, and lift your knee from the ground. Now bring your front leg backward into Plank. Your body should be in a straight line from head to heels. Press back with your heels while the crown of your head aims forward. Keep your shoulders over your wrists vertical to the ground and make sure you don’t “sink in” with your lower back.
This pose engages your entire body; it strengthens your arms and builds a strong core.
Try to stay here for 20-30 seconds and don’t forget to breathe through it. As you advance in your practice, you’ll be able to stay in this pose for extended periods.
From Plank exhale into Downward-Facing Dog, then walk to Standing Forward Bend and rise. Now, from standing at the edge of your mat turn to one side and step your feet wide apart. The width of the step correlates to your height; if you’re tall, your step should be more extensive. Align your feet to the edges of your mat and turn your toes slightly in. With hands on your hips inhale and lift your chest. As you exhale, fold your torso forward while keeping a long spine and touch the mat with your fingertips. Take a few breaths and at exhalation lower your upper body further and bring your hands to align the fingertips with your toes. Keep your elbows bent and pointing backward and press your palms into the mat.
Stay here for 5-10 breaths.
From Wide-Legged Forward Bend lift your torso up halfway to move into a stimulating twist. Put your right hand directly under your chest and at exhalation stretch your left arm up toward the ceiling into a twist. Keep your arms vertically aligned and make sure the twist originates from your torso and not your hips. Take a few breaths and switch hands.
Once done on both sides release your hand to the floor then bring both hands to your hips and on inhalation rise with your spine long and return to standing position.
Twisting presents important benefits. It promotes a healthy spine and helps stimulate your internal organs.
From standing position exhale and step your right leg back, so your feet are wide apart. Verify that your left foot is pointing to the top of the mat and turn your right foot out, so the left foot heel is aligned with the center arch of the right foot. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and aligned over the legs. Gaze at the tip of your left middle finger and during exhalation bend your left knee, so it’s directly over the ankle. Engage your feet and hands, straighten your spine and avoid leaning your torso toward your left side.
Stay here up to one-minute breathing, then on inhalation bring your right leg forward to switch legs. When done put your arms down, bring your leg forward and return to standing position.
This hip-opening pose energizes the entire body, relieves backaches and enhances your strength and sense of stability. In addition to its physical benefits, this pose increases your ability to focus and concentrate — a great position to tie this sequence and send you to your day with a boost of clarity.
Consider wrapping up this sequence with a few minutes of conscious breathing while sitting in a comfortable position. It will allow you to refocus your energy and set your intention for the day.
Have a wonderful day!