If you saw our post about why it’s so beneficial to practice yoga first thing in the morning but you’re not sure how to get started, this posts for you. Technically, any pose can be done in the morning so you can’t really go wrong but if it’s the first thing you do when you roll out of bed you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you start with some more gentle poses to warm up your body a bit and lengthen your muscles and fascia that can get tight while we’re at rest. Here are few examples of poses that can help wake up your mind and body. With each of them focus on taking deep, full breaths allowing your ribs and belly to expand as you inhale. This will bring more oxygen into your body and give you a nice boost of energy – you might even feel like skipping your first cup of coffee… maybe.
Rocking Table Top
Start in a tabletop position with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Then, walk your hands one hand distance forward (about 5 – 10 inches) and shift your shoulders over your wrists, this brings your body into a slightly angled tabletop position. Take a deep breath in while you’re here. As you exhale, shift back into child’s pose by moving your hips toward your heels and your chest toward your things. Inhale and lift back into your slanted tabletop, exhale into child’s pose. Move through this sequence about 8 times are as many as you enjoy doing.
Seated Side Stretch
While sitting on your heals or cross-legged, walk your left hand away from the side of your body while extending your right hand up and over toward the left. Work to press the right hip and butt towards the floor while the fingers stretch far to the other side for a nice stretch along the side of your body. Repeat on both sides.
Start in a tabletop position then extend both legs behind you for a momentary plank pose. When you’re ready, exhale and move your hips to the sky. Downward dog is a great pose for opening the shoulders and stretching the torso and legs. It usually feels really good to pedal the heels while you’re in a downward dog to help stretch the calves and hamstrings a bit more.
From a seated position, extend your left leg out on the floor in front of you. Bend your right knee and draw your heel toward your butt then place it on the floor. Reach your left hand into the sky and sit as tall as you can. Then, twist so you can bring your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh. With each inhalation, think about sitting taller. With each exhalation, maybe twist a little deeper. Using the breath to help move deeper into the twist can help protect your body from stress caused by forcing it to fast to soon. Repeat on both sides.
Half Sun Salutations
Start in mountain pose with your feet under your hips. Inhale and reach your hands up overhead. Exhale and fold forward towards the floor with your knees slightly or really bent. If you have tight hamstrings and back muscles, try not to feel bad about it, just let your knees bend melt towards the floor as much as you can. As you inhale, come into monkey pose by bringing your hands to your shins, sticking your tailbone behind you and the top of your head to the front of your space. As you exhale, fold forward again. Inhale and reach your hands all the way up overhead again. Repeat 3- 5 times.
From a standing pose, bring your hands to the floor and step one leg way back behind you. Lower your back knee to the floor and position your front foot under your front knee. Take a breath or two here while your hips sink a bit toward the floor. To increase the intensity of this pose, move into anjaneasana by lifting your hands up overhead and feeling your sides stretch longer. Repeat on both sides.
Tip Toe Balance
This pose can be tricky in the beginning but it’s a great way to feel grounded and challenge your balance. Start from the floor or standing. Bring your big toes together and your heels slightly apart. Move into a position where you’re on your tiptoes, your knees are very bent, legs are together, and you’re upright through your torso. To challenge your balance, you can shift your gaze upward or close your eyes and/or extend your hand overhead.
Breath of Fire
This pranayama, breathing exercise, is a great way to stimulate the digestive system and increase blood flow throughout the body. While performing this breath, you’ll breath out quick bursts of air from your nose. It’s almost as though you’re trying to blow out a candle by exhaling through your nose. An inhalation will naturally occur after such a strong exhalation so work to just focus on forcing air out. Engaging the core by drawing the low belly in is super important as well. Check out this video for a more in-depth explanation.
Practicing one or several of these poses can be a great way to start your day, even five to ten minutes can create a positive impact.