The alarm goes off, you roll out of bed then walk over and unroll your yoga mat. You sit down, close your eyes… and where do you start?
It's said that in the early hours, the mind is at it’s most open to receive but after a long night’s sleep, the body can sometimes be a little stiff. For this reason, it’s a great idea to kick off your morning with breath work, meditation, and some asanas that will help to warm up and unravel the body.
Try this morning yoga sequence to get your day started!
Alternate nostril breathing can help to calm the mind and balance the brain.
Sanskrit: Nadi Shodhan Pranayama
1. Press your right thumb gently down on the right nostril and breathe out through the left nostril.
2. Remove your right thumb from the right nostril and breathe out from the right. Breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left.
3. Continue the circle of inhaling and exhaling for nine more rounds.
This combination of flexion and extension is a great way to wake up your spine and send blood flow throughout your body.
1. Begin on your hands and knees with your shoulders lined up over your wrists and your hips stacked directly above your knees.
2. As you inhale, slowly drop your belly down as you lift your head up.
3. Exhale and round your spine, drawing your chin to your chest.
4. Repeat for five rounds, connecting your breath to each movement.
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Downward-Facing Dog always seems do the job of waking people up in the morning. Maybe it’s the combination of the mild inversion bringing blood to the head or stretching the backs of the legs, whatever the reason may be, it works!
Sanskrit: Adho Mukha Svanasana
1. From Cow pose, gently straighten your arms and legs to form an upside down V-shape with your body.
2. Bend knees enough to lengthen your spine and shake out your head to free up your breath.
3. Take five slow inhales and exhales through your nose. Slowly walk your feet toward the top of your mat upon completion.
Low Lunge pose gives the body a stretch in the front of the hips and improves both strength and flexibility in the legs.
1. Start from the top of your mat and step back with your left foot, leaving your right foot at the front.
2. Lower your left knee down to the mat and bend your right knee 90 degrees.
3. Inhale and lift your arms up overhead, as you exhale, bend deeply into your front knee.
4. After five breaths, step your left foot forward to the top of the mat. Return to standing and repeat on the other side, with your left foot in front.
Continue to open the front of your body with this gentle backbend.
Sanskrit: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
1. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your arms down by your sides.
2. Push down through your feet and lift your seat up off the mat, opening the front of your hips.
3. Stay up for five breaths. Gently lower your hips back down and rest for a few breaths.
4. Repeat this cycle three times, pausing in between repetitions.
Supine Spinal Twist helps with digestion and releases your lower back through a single leg spinal twist.
Sanskrit: Supta Matsyendrasana
1. From lying on your back, draw your right knee into your chest, rotating your hip gently in it’s socket.
2. Drape your right knee across your chest and lower it down over to the left side of your body.
3. Extend your right arm out to the right and if your neck allows, turn your gaze to the right. Remain in this shape for ten breaths and then return to center.
4. Repeat with the left leg for ten breaths. Return to center and draw both of your knees gently into your chest.
1. Extend your legs and place your arms down by your sides.
2. Turn your palms up and soften your body down into the mat.
3. Start with the top of your head, relaxing your crown and work your way down the rest of your body.
4. Lay here quietly with your eyes closed for five minutes.
Finish off your practice by settling your mind for the day ahead.
1. From Corpse pose, roll onto your side and rise into a seated position. Sit in a comfortable position—on a block, pillow, or simply on your mat. Allow your hands to rest gently on your legs.
2. Bring your awareness to your breath as you inhale for a count of four and exhale for a count of four. Keep returning your attention to the breath, even as the mind wanders.
3. Remain here for a few minutes. When you’re ready to come out of the meditative state, slowly open your eyes—fresh and ready for the beautiful day ahead.
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