Waking up in the morning can be difficult. This is partly because our bodies are not used to functioning at this hour, but also because we may have been tossing and turning for hours before finally falling asleep. If you’re finding it hard to get out of bed, try doing some morning yoga as a way to start your day on a positive note!
In this blog post, you will learn about 5 morning yoga poses that are great for reviving energy levels and getting your blood flowing so you feel awake and ready for the day ahead.
Why you should practice yoga in the morning
Yoga is a fantastic exercise to start the day because it serves to loosen up the body while improving mental clarity and increasing energy. Yoga has been associated with overall improved health as well as decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety.
There are many great reasons for practicing yoga; however, morning practice might be one of its best benefits because it helps people go into their day feeling refreshed both physically and mentally.
1. Box Breathing
Ok, so this is not strictly a “pose” in yoga, but if you are just waking up and about to start a practice then this is great way to ground yourself in the present moment before thoughts inevitably start focusing on the day ahead.
To do box breathing, you can sit up in bed or even remain laying down, flat on your back. Using a steady counting rhythm that is slow but still comfortable, count to four as you take a steady, deep inhale. Once your lungs are full, hold your breath for the next count of four. Next, make a slow and steady exhale to the count of four, finishing with your lung empty. Finally, hold your exhale for a count of four to complete one “box breath”.
You may complete as many box breaths as needed.
2. Cat Cow
Let’s start off with something gentle and easy to get your body moving after being still overnight.
To perform the Cat Cow, come into table-top pose on your hands and knees, with hands directly below your shoulders and hips directly above your knees. On an inhale and leading from your pelvis, slowly arch your back as you reach forwards and up with your chest to open the front of your body. Then as you exhale reverse the movement, sucking in your belly, tucking your pelvis in and rounding your whole back.
Repeat the movement a few times, gradually increasing your range of motion as you feel your back and spine begin to loosen up.
3. Downward Facing Dog
The morning is the best time to do yoga poses that stretch your back. This pose stretches out all of the muscles in our backs and it also helps relieve joint pain and improve posture.
To perform downward facing dog, start on your hands and knees in table-top pose. You want your hands to be the same width apart as your shoulders and your feet and knees the same width as your hips. Lift your knees and straighten your legs to come into Plank pose. From here, lift up your hips and push them backwards as you come into the downward-facing dog.
Check out our blog post How to get the most out of Downward-Facing Dog for a detailed checklist on how to do your downward dog.
4. Cobra Pose
It’s important to open the front body after being still for several hours at night. Cobra pose is an easy and effective way to stretch the shoulders and open up the chest allowing us to breathe more deeply and freely.
To perform Cobra, begin laying on your front with legs together and toes pointed. Place your palms flat on the floor, level with your chest. Slowly raise up your heart by arching your back, being mindful to engage the muscles of your core to protect your back. Try to use the muscles of your back as much as possible to lift up, rather than simply pushing up using your arms.
5. Chair Pose
Now that your body is a little loose, lets finish with something a little more energetic to wake up your nervous system and get the blood pumping.
Starting from a standing position (Tadasana), “sit” backwards by bending your knees and lowering your hips as if you were about to sit in a chair. Be mindful to keep your back straight, glutes (buttocks) engaged and protect your knees by making sure that you can see your toes over your knees. Raise your arms up straight and in-line with your torso.
You can hold this pose for a few seconds or until you cannot hold the pose with correct form any longer.
Whether you’ve got time for a whole yoga practice or even just one pose, doing a little yoga in the morning will help engage the connection between your body, mind and breath and going to set you up for an amazing day.