My morning yoga routine wasn’t always positive. When I first started, I remember wanting to cry after I kicked my legs up in the air for the first time. As I was laying flat on my back trying to stretch out my legs, they felt like cinder blocks. My back, neck, and shoulders hurt as well. I was 19-years-old, and I knew this shouldn’t be so hard. I also knew that if I ignored the pain, I would only feel worse, and, to me, it was already bad enough.
Spending time caring for my body has been an empowering process.
Here are six morning yoga tips for your morning to make yourself feel better too.
1. Yoga in bed.
A morning yoga practice can begin before you even get out of bed! This may sound lazy, and it isn’t considered a “real” practice, but hey, life is stressful, and doing anything is better than nothing. Start by kicking those legs into the air. If your hamstrings are exceptionally tight, stretch one leg at a time. Circle your feet around to wake-up your ankles. Toes are confined in shoes all day and need to be stretched too. Finally, let your chest and legs fold together to hug one another and slowly rock from side-to-side.
2. Rest in child’s pose.
Next, roll onto your stomach and into child’s pose, balasana. Sometimes I get stuck in this pose; not literally, but emotionally. Exhaustion and fatigue take over, and I want to fall back asleep. The stress of what could happen in the day rushes in, and that’s when you know it’s time to move to the floor and wake up. This sounds easier than it is. We all have our morning routines, and it’s easy to get distracted and never roll out that yoga mat.
3. Circle your joints.
Roll your neck side to side, roll your wrists, shoulders, and hips around. Although, if you are still in bed, the hip circles could be awkward, so do pelvic tilts instead. It’s easy. Just flatten your lower back and then arch it. You may not arch very much and might feel your ribs and upper body moving more. That’s okay, make it a small movement, and day-by-day it will get better.
4. Cat/Cow floor pose.
Don’t even brush your teeth yet, just roll to the floor. Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees and hips stacked. This is a great moment to discover how wide or narrow your shoulders are. Let the wave of your breath move the pelvis, torso, and head. Feel the connection between your neck and sacrum.
5. Moving meditation.
Explore moving your body in an intentional way. Center the mind on the moment. Feel the temperature, hear the sounds, and feel the ground beneath you. With each breath, greet the day. Remind yourself it’s a new day, and you are a new person. Fill your lungs with new breath, and, if you’re not in a rush, proceed to move through more postures.
6. Add strength.
Before you start your day, maybe you want to add strength. Great! Just extend one leg at a time into plank from cat/cow. Hold it for one breath. If your lower back hurts, lower your knees and build up to a full plank by practicing a modified version. If one breath feels right, take three or four. If this is good, add in a yoga push-up. Your chest should come toward your wrists. Bend the elbows a couple of inches hugging them toward the ribs, and then push back up into plank. Build up to 10 push-ups before resting in child’s pose with your arms either under your forehead or resting down by your ankles.
It takes effort to show up every day and take care of yourself. Nobody can do it for you. I can assure you, though, that the effort is worth it. Kick your legs up in the air like a happy toddler and thank yourself for moving toward a positive morning routine.
When Danielle Mallett isn't writing she can be found swimming in the ocean or dancing. She is a Certified Foundation Trainer, Massage Therapist, National Academy of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer, and Yoga Instructor living in Santa Cruz, CA. For over nine years, she's been committed to writing The Gateway Series with a goal to have Book 1 published near the end of this year. Check out her Healing Arts Blog.