What’s your morning routine? Do you wake up early and do a workout before tackling emails and phone calls? Perhaps you start with a morning meditation to calm the mind and stay present. You can listen to a podcast while you have breakfast and enjoy your coffee. Or, maybe you’re not exactly in the morning and the best you can do is get out of bed at the last possible minute, get ready, and get to work. However you start your morning, you need to do what’s best for you and help set the tone for the day.
And if you’re looking to revamp your mornings, adding yoga to your routine might be a good place to start. These morning yoga poses could really make a difference. âYoga helps us cultivate more presence, awareness, clarity and ease,â says Krissy Jones, co-founder of Sky Ting. “I firmly believe in starting the day by shaping yourself from the inside out, before going out into the world and letting our surroundings shape us. In the morning you have the opportunity to set the tone of your mental landscape and your energy frequency These are the big benefits, and of course there are tons of physical benefits as well, like lubricating the joints and fascia and awakening the brain and tissues by circulating blood and muscle. oxygen throughout the system! “
Alo Warrior rug ($ 100)
Plus, it may be easier to engage in a morning session because your day hasn’t been interrupted by unexpected meetings or fires to put out at work, adds Tahl Rinsky, a yogi and Centr trainer, who designed the new four-week fitness platform program. Yoga and Pilates Centr Align program.
As to which style of yoga is best for the morning, it depends on your personal preferences. “It depends on your intention. Do you want a slow, restful day? A restorative or gentle yoga practice is great,” says Dani Schenone, RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) and Holistic Wellness Specialist at Mindbody. âAre you looking for a great start or a source of energy to jump off a long to-do list? Vigorous practice of vinyasa will help. Don’t worry about the length. Even five to ten minutes of movement is enough. It’s a matter of ritual and intention, a prescription. “
Jones believes your yoga practice should change over time. For example, you would do a different practice in the morning versus evening, summer and winter, and as you get older. In general, she recommends backbends, inversions, and greetings, all of which will help wake up the body and prepare the mind.
Before you start your morning practice, Rinsky recommends turning your phone on in silent mode, removing yourself from distractions, and committing to the session. And Schenone suggests practicing Pranayama (or breathing exercises): âTake several deep breaths in the pose you want (I prefer the baby pose in the morning). Take a deep breath, fill the belly and hold this inhale upward for a few moments. Then push a deep sigh out of the mouth. Now do it six more times. “
Most yoga sessions will include a warm-up, so Jones says you don’t need to do much beforehand. “I love taking my time in the morning and lengthening the warm-up section of my classes because my body is super tense after (hopefully) eight hours of sleep!” she says. “Doing yoga in the morning is so different from the afternoon, when the body is warmer and has been moving for a few hours already.”
And you might want to keep some refreshment nearby for enjoyment during your practice, like a cup of water or your favorite hot beverage. “I often train with matcha on the side. There’s nothing quite like a good sip in between chaturangas,” Schenone explains.
Morning yoga poses to try
Any kind of movement in the morning should help you focus and get started, but instructors especially recommend these poses to start your day.
1. Dog lying down
All three instructors suggest dog down. “[It’s] great for opening up the back line of the body, âsays Jones. âYou can’t start your day without walking your dog! The down dog has a 60 degree triangular shape. Start in a plank position with the shoulders on the wrists, then tilt the hips to this triangular position. Pro tip: bend your knees! It helps to lengthen the spine. Schenone says it’s not a resting pose, so straighten the shoulders, knit the ribs, soften the heels, and breathe.
And don’t be frustrated if you can’t put your feet flat on the ground, Rinksy says. It takes practice.
2. Cat Cow
“[It’s] the best way to open up the spine and create fluidity in the joints, âsays Jones. âStart on all fours on a table. As you breathe in, arch your back and look up at the ceiling, exhaling around your spine and tucking your chin to your chest. “
3. Torsion in the supine position
âLie on your back, pull your knee against your chest and twist,â Rinksy says. “It creates space in the lower back which can be beneficial for many people, especially if their job is to sit at a desk all day.”
4. Front fold
âFrom the dog down, place your hands on the back of your mat, folding up forward,â says Schenone. âLet your hands hang down like a monkey. Relax the neck and jaw. Consider holding onto opposing elbows or joining your hands behind your back. This pose lengthens and frees the spine and opens the posterior aspect of the legs.
5. Sun Salutations
Jones says this is traditionally meant to be performed to honor the rising sun, where you face east. âThis series is a practice in its own right. When I don’t have a lot of time in the morning, I do five sun salutations and I feel ready for my day,â she explains. âThis is where I really start to connect my body to my breath and cultivate a sense of moving meditation. There are six poses in this series. To learn them, we have a mini sun salutation class on Sky Ting TV which breaks down the series. “
With your chest on the floor and your hands positioned on either side of your shoulders, push up with your arms and push your chest forward. Rinksy says it opens up the chest and brings energy to the heart.
7. Mountain pose
âFrom the front crease, get into a standing position (keep your back flat as you go up!),â Says Schenone. âRaise your arms to the sky, grab your right wrist and lean to the left. Lift the chin off the chest and breathe, opening the side of the body. Come back to the center and switch sides.â It is an anchor pose that improves posture and body awareness. In addition, it facilitates alignment.
Lunges are performed in all types of workouts, and it’s an especially good move in the morning. Rinksy says they wake up the hip flexors which can twitch.
9. Modified side plank
âGet back on the table. Lift your right leg out to the side and extend your left leg a long way behind you,â says Schenone. âRaise your left arm to the sky. Consider lifting your top leg off the ground. Perhaps reach back with your upper hand and grab the upper foot, opening the chest. It’s a juicy heart opener that I love to do every morning. Release the foot and switch sides. “
The modified side plank stretches the anterior side of the torso; strengthens the core; helps to train balance; and opens the front of the shoulder.
10. The pear tree
This is definitely for more advanced yogis. âThe pear tree is similar to coffee without the crash,â Jones says. âIt’s an amazing way to light up the brain and get the blood flowing. Find a teacher for this one! You will need some in-person advice or a really good video to understand all the nuances of the pose. If you don’t. Don’t configure this one correctly, you can do more harm than good. “
11. Extended side angle
âTurn to one side and extend your arms out to the side at shoulder height, then separate your legs at an equal distance,â Rinsky says. âTurn your right leg and foot outward 90 degrees so that your toes point up on your mat; bend your right knee until the thigh is parallel to the floor and slightly turn your left toes upward. Align the heel of your right foot with the arch of your left foot. Keep your back leg straight. Inhale and pull your left hip slightly forward. Then, with your torso open to the left, lower your right arm so that your forehead is resting on your right thigh. You can make this stronger by reaching the floor or staying as it is. This movement opens up the side of your body and increases the heat in the legs. “
12. Solid wheel
Jones says backbends are confidence boosters and heart openers, and they keep you flexible. âFor a full wheel, start lying down. Bend your elbows and place the hands next to the shoulders with the fingers down,â she says. âBend the knees and part the feet at hip height, just below the knees. As you breathe in, press down on the floor with your hands and feet and get back into shape.
13. Child pose
Here is a pose that is not at all intimidating. âStep into tabletop pose (shoulders to wrists, hips to knees). Widen your knees and bring your toes to the touch,â says Schenone. âLeave your forehead on the ground, stretching your arms long. Those deep breaths we talked about earlier are helpful here. The child’s pose opens the hips, centers the mind and stretches the lateral body.
Yoga equipment for your practice
Lululemon The reversible 5mm mat ($ 88)
This Lululemon rug has a grippy top layer that absorbs moisture.
Gaiam Yoga block (set of 2) ($ 12)
Yoga blocks can help you deepen your stretches and provide more stability for your poses.
Reehut Yoga wheel ($ 30)
Use this yoga wheel to stretch and relieve muscle tension.
Manduka Professional yoga mat ($ 120)
Manduka’s yoga mat has a closed cell surface so your sweat does not seep into the mat. It has supportive cushioning and a performance grip.
Lululemon Stackable yoga cushions (pack of 2) ($ 48)
They are great if your knees need a bit more cushioning during your practice.
Alo Grounded non-slip towel ($ 68)
Lay this towel on your mat to absolutely prevent slippage.
Tumaz Yoga Strap / Stretch Band ($ 9)
A yoga strap is so essential for stretching. I even like to use mine at the end of the work day to relax.
Amazon Basics Extra thick exercise yoga mat ($ 21)
If you prefer a yoga mat with extra padding, you’ll like this extra chunky version. It has a textured foam construction for better grip.
Manduka Organic Yoga Mat Cleaner ($ 18)
This vinegar based cleanser will disinfect and restore your yoga mat. It has a soothing lavender scent.
Next: 6 Yoga Poses That Can Relieve Stress Like Whoa
This article originally appeared on The Thirty
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