Whether you need a little energy boost to start the day or want to get
your body warmed up after a night of sleep, yoga is a great pick-me-up
in the morning. Yoga is an excellent way to transition from sleep to wakefulness.
Plus, it gives you a moment of calm and clarity before the rush of the
If you don’t have time for a yoga class in your morning routine,
try these five moves for a bright start to your day. During all moves,
breathe evenly in and out through your nose.
Get into a tabletop position on your hands and knees, with your back straight
and long (aim the crown of your head toward the wall, not the floor).
On your inhale, lift up your head and tailbone while your stomach relaxes
and drops down. On the exhale, draw your back up and round it while your
chin draws toward your chest. These are simple poses that offer a great
way to stretch the body, especially the back, and take some deep breaths.
2. Downward Dog
This is one of the more well-known yoga poses, and one that can get the
energy flowing in the morning. Start in tabletop and on your exhale, lift
up from the hips, reaching your sits bones to the sky. Don’t worry
if your legs are not straight – the intent is to lengthen the spine,
and it is better to keep the knees slightly bent and the heels off the
floor than to strain. Spread through the shoulders, and distribute the
weight throughout your entire palm to eliminate wrist strain. Hold the
pose for a few breaths.
This basic standing pose strengthens the core and posture and is good for
balancing, Gorman says. Stand straight with your feet a little bit apart
and make sure your balance is spread equally between them. Once your feet
feel rooted to the ground, point your tailbone toward the ground while
using your thigh muscles to stretch and lengthen your legs. Envision your
spine making a straight line from the tailbone to the crown of your head.
Keep your arms at your side or in prayer position as you breathe through
the pose for up to a minute. You can also stand against a wall for support.
4. Forward Fold
This move is nice for releasing tension and getting your legs ready to
move for the day. From mountain pose, exhale and bend at the hip hinge
as you lengthen through the crown of your head, initially maintaining
a straight back. Then allow your body to surrender over your hips. Lift
through the pelvic floor, and support your body by wrapping your arms
around the back of your legs, or supporting arms on a yoga block. Keep
your head hanging toward the ground and relax the neck. Bend your knees
slightly if your legs are too stiff. Breathe in and out through the nose
as your hold the pose and relax into it with each exhalation. When finished,
press through the feet, engage the abdominal muscles and on an inhale
bring your arms up followed by your torso as you straighten from the hips;
lower your arms on the exhale.
5. Child’s Pose
This is one last chance to melt away tension and calm the body before you
start the day. From tabletop, lower your knees to the mat, a little more
than hip width apart and move your hips back down toward the heels. Stretch
your arms out in front of you and rest your head between your arms, with
the forehead on the floor. As an alternative, you may place your arms
along side your body.
Remember to talk with your doctor before undertaking any new exercises,
especially if you have health issues, such as chronic back, neck or shoulder
pain. With any new pose, don’t strain your muscles or try to push
the body too far. Yoga should never hurt. These moves are for stretching
and relaxation, and the more often you do them, the better you will feel.