Your mornings set the day’s tone. In a perfect world, we’d wake up before the sun, meditate, head to an hour-long yoga class, and enjoy a yummy juice or coffee watching the sunrise. In real life, who has time for that?! While we may not be able to commit to an hour of practice, we can do something. Read below to find 5 beginner yoga poses to start your day (they can even be done in bed!).
Seated Neck Stretch
Often the neck feels stiff and uncomfortable in the mornings. Begin by finding a comfortable seat and closing the eyes. Give yourself a few moments to breathe deeply. Gently bring your ear towards your shoulder. For a deeper stretch, lightly place your hand on your head and add a bit of pressure to create tension. Hold and repeat on Side 2.
Seated Spinal Twist
Next, we want to wake up the spine. A seated spinal twist is a gentle way to add movement and begin to stretch the spine. Lift the crown of your head to sit tall while making sure shoulders are directly over hips. Place your right hand on the outside of your left knee and your left hand behind to stabilize. Gaze over your left shoulder and press into your hands to twist. Sync the twisting movement with your breath; exhale twist deeper, inhale return to neutral. As you twist, relax your shoulders (don’t shrug them up to your ears) and lift tall to create length in the spine. We cycle in and out of this pose because movement helps break down connective tissue.
Cat-Cow poses are done in tandem and continue our work of stretching the spine while activating the core. Begin on all-fours in table top position with hips directly over knees. Press firmly through your hands to avoid collapsing into your shoulders as wrists, elbows, and shoulders stay in one line. On an exhale, arch your spine upwards creating a C shaped curve like a cat that’s just been scared (maybe after seeing me first thing in the AM? lol). Keep your shoulders and knees stable moving only your spine. Work on bringing chin towards chest while drawing belly button into your spine (similar to sucking your stomach in). Toes can be curled or uncurled depending on preference.
Cat pose is the exhale, cow pose is the inhale. On an inhale drop the belly towards the ground and arch your back. Lift your head and your gaze can be straight ahead or your can lift your head and look to the sky creating a stretch for the connective tissue in the throat. Broaden (create space) across the front of the shoulders by pressing firmly into your hands. Move through these two poses using your breath to initiate movement: Cow-Inhale, Cat-Exhale.
Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
Low lunge stretches the thighs, hips, and creates more opening in the chest. From table top position, Step right foot in-between hands. Line right knee over ankle and slide your left leg back until you feel a stretch. You can keep hands on the ground or lift arms up to the sky (as shown above). My toes are untucked because I lift the left knee from the ground for more of a challenge. Take whichever variation feels best to you. Yoga is all about feeling gooooood!
Add these beginner yoga poses to your morning routine and let me know how you feel!