Creating and practicing a good morning routine is a great way to begin your day on a positive note. In the digital age that we live in, it’s easy to slip into the habit of checking your cell phone the moment your eyes open. This is especially true if your cell phone is your alarm and you wake up to see all your notifications. If that’s your case, I would advise buying an old school alarm clock to avoid your cell phone in the morning. Instead, begin your day with non-digital interactions such as meditation, music, a nice hot shower, reading, or my absolute favorite—yoga. Here are five yummy morning poses you can do to say good morning to your body.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Begin on your hands and knees and gently bring your knees apart while keeping your big toes touching. Sit up straight (inhale) and on your exhale begin to bow forward, bringing your body in between your knees. Your hands are extended out in front of you, palms down, your forehead is on the mat, and your breathing is steady. The benefits of this pose includes stretching of the hips and thighs, spine elongation, and relieves stress.
Cat (Marjaryasana) – Cow (Bitilasana)
You can flow into this pose from child’s pose by coming into a table top position. Your hands are grounded on the floor, your knees are hip length apart. Start with cow pose: On an inhale, begin to arch your spine and allow your belly to relax. Lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling. Draw your shoulders away from your ears. On your exhale, begin to curve your spine toward the ceiling (imagine what a cat looks like when they stretch and curve up) release your head down. Flow back and forth between these two poses a couple of breaths. These poses will help with back flexibility, having good posture, and breathing.
Thread the Needle (Parsva Balasana)
Next, come back to neutral table top position and begin to sit back as if you were going into child’s pose. On an exhale slide your right arm under your left arm, keeping that left arm extended out in front of you, and the right arm extended out under it. Your right ear is on the mat and your head is facing to the left. You can be fully seated or lift your hips to the air. Soften into this pose by breathing deep inhales and exhales. You should feel an opening in your shoulders and chest. Come out of it slowly, the same way you went into it and repeat on the other side.
Downward Facing Down (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Possibly the most known pose in yoga is Downward Facing Dog. This is a strengthening posture where you will feel every part of your body activated. It’s a great way to create energy flow in the morning. From thread the needle, go back to neutral table top position. Slowly begin to lift your knees off the floor and begin to shift your hips up and back into the air. Your feet should be hip distance apart. Your arms begin to extend out in front of you, all ten fingers are grounded, and you want to make sure there is an internal rotation of your biceps, that are shoulder width apart. Because this is the first down dog of the day, have a slight bend at your knees and begin to peddle out your feet. When you feel settled hold the posture for eight breaths.
Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
From downward facing dog, begin to bend your knees and look at the space in front of you in between your hands. Slowly, guide your feet and legs towards that space. Let your upper body and head dangle down in front of you. Have as much of a bend in your knees as you want here. Because this a light morning practice, we are not focusing on the stretching of the hamstrings. Let this be a relaxing pose, where you release tension from your neck and shoulders. Allow your arms to dangle and touch the floor or hold on to opposite elbows and sway from side to side. To finish your morning flow, very slowly, begin to come up vertebra by vertebra, your neck and head being the last one’s to rise. Thank your body for your morning movement and for being with you for the rest of the day.