This goes out to everyone that wants to add a little zest to their mornings. Doing yoga at the very beginning of your day helps you to boost your energy levels, setting the tone for the day to come. With these three simple yoga exercises, you’ll transform a groggy morning into a bright one.
Why you should practice yoga in the morning
Yoga is the perfect way to start your day. The balance between vigorous movement and soothing stretches will help you ease into your body. Create a bit of warmth and get things going to kickstart your day. You don’t need any prior experience to do these three exercises; all that really matters is that they feel good to you.
Cat Cow Pose (Marjaryasana Bitilasana)
Ever heard the saying, you’re as young as your spine is flexible? Our spines carry us around all day, helping us sit upright and maneuver ourselves into all kinds of daily activities. Maintaining spinal strength and flexibility is vital to stay mobile.
- Start by coming into a tabletop position, placing your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips, hip-width distance apart.
- Then, from a neutral spine, take a deep inhale and tilt your tailbone upwards. Drop your belly down low and lift your gaze up. Reach your collarbone to the front of the room, broadening your chest.
- Next, reverse each motion while taking a deep exhale. Tuck your chin to your chest and push your shoulder blades away from each other. Press down into your shins and push your hips forward, tucking your tailbone in.
- On your next inhale, come back into cow pose again. From here, take one breath per movement and go at your own pace.
- When you’re feeling things warming up, feel free to become a bit more explorative. Shift your weight forward and backward, for example, or incorporate a barrel roll with your chest. Find what feels good to you.
- When you’re ready, come back to a neutral tabletop position.
Having a particularly rough morning? Cat Cow can be done seated on the edge of your bed as well. Place your hands on your upper legs and go through the same spinal movements as described above. For other variations, have a look here.
Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar)
If you’re pressed for time and can only squeeze in a few minutes of movement, opt for a Sun Salutation. This has to be the O.G. of all energizing postures – hardly any Vinyasa class goes without at least a couple of rounds of Sun Salutations. A series of twelve postures help you increase blood circulation and kickstart the working of your organs.
- From your tabletop, push the mat away and lift your hips up and back, coming into a Downward Facing Dog. Feel free to take a generous bend into your knees and paddle your feet out here, slowly coming into the pose.
- Make your way to a forward fold at the top of your mat by lightly stepping forward in however many steps you need.
- When you get there, allow your torso to hang heavy over your legs. Again, feel free to keep a slight bend in your knees. Shake your head yes and no to release any tension in your neck.
- From here, slowly roll up to a stance one vertebrae at a time. Your head comes up very last.
- Lift both arms overhead on your next inhale and reach them up to the sky.
- Dive back down into your forward fold on an exhale.
- Inhale to create a flat back, coming into a halfway lift. Think of your body as an upside-down L-shape here. Your hands can be on the floor or on your legs, as long as you can keep a straight, long spine.
- Your next exhale brings you back into your forward fold.
- Step your right foot all the way back on your next inhale, coming into your Lunge. Your gaze is out front, chest wide.
- Firmly plant your palms and step your left foot back to come into a plank pose.
- Slowly lower down about halfway, coming into your Chaturanga Dandasana on an exhale.
- From here, lift up into a Cobra pose or Upward Facing Dog, keeping your back body active. Press the tops of your feet down and pull your chest forward. Take a deep inhale.
- Tuck your toes and push yourself all the way back into your Downward Facing Dog. Exhale here.
- Repeat for four rounds, aligning one breath per movement.
If you’re not familiar with Sun Salutations, we encourage you to find a video that will guide you through a couple of rounds. Like this 10-minute flow by Yoga With Adriene.
Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
Our back body is often neglected while exercising, yet it is so important. It strengthens the muscles that help with good posture and relieves back, neck, and shoulder pains. Finish your morning yoga session giving it your all. Locust pose may look easy, but if you engage your whole body, it’ll give you that sweet endorphin rush to start your day off with!
- Lower yourself down onto your belly, place your arms to your sides, and keep your feet together.
- Take a deep exhale to clear your system, and on your inhale, lift both legs and your torso up.
- Pull your arms to the back of the room, rotating both shoulder blades onto your back. Keep your gaze out in front of you, making sure there is no extra strain on your neck.
- Hold it here for 10 seconds, engaging every single muscle in your body. Challenge yourself to lift up a little bit higher and higher. Remember to breathe.
- Release, coming back all the way onto your belly. Create a pillow by placing both hands in front of you, resting down your forehead on top. Roll your head from side to side to release the crinkle in between your eyebrows.
- Repeat for a total of three times.
And there you have it; a morning yoga exercise routine that’s the perfect jumpstart to your day, leaving you ready to take on just about anything. You got this!