Rise and shine, it’s stretching it! The best thing to do as you wake up is to implement a stretching routine for your body. Of course, it’s great if you already have a yoga or exercise routine set up in the mornings already; but for those of you who would like to introduce a quick 15-minute routine, these asanas will be perfect for stretching the body, activating the muscles and bringing confidence and balance for yourself overall. And you can do these at home.
*Tip : Try and hold each asana for at least 2 minutes.
Start by doing some gentle rotations of the neck, inhaling as you take the head back and exhaling as the chin comes down to the chest. Then move onto the feet and hands, by extending your legs forward and parallel to one another and extending your arms also with your hands in a fist. Start doing some slight rotations with your feet to warm up the ankle joints and simultaneously doing rotations of the fists, warming up the wrist joints.
As you’ve been sleeping for the last 6, 7 or so hours and your body has been immobile, this asana is ideal to start your routine with as it helps activate most body muscles. Starting with the legs, it stretches the back of the thighs and the calves, but also the legs overall. It opens the hips slightly and it stretches the digestive organs, again a great thing before you have your breakfast. Adho Mukha Svanasana opens the chest, allowing the breath to become deeper and it boosts blood circulation as it is an inversion. When it comes to the arms, this asana not only stretches the arms completely, but it also strengthens them. As you push with your heels into the ground, this brings the focus to Muladhara, the root chakra, bringing grounding and balance for your body overall, starting your day in a more balanced state.
This is a variation using the yoga blocks which is a little bit more supportive for the shoulder joints.
This asana is by far one of my favourites in the morning. It has so many wonderful benefits for the body, I don’t even know where to begin. Firstly, it is provides a great stretch for the back and the spine. This is so important, because often we sleep in different positions which leave the back feeling tense and stuck as we wake up. Uttana shishosana also stretches the arms, shoulders and shoulder blades. Doing this asana in the morning is also great for your digestion, as it stretches the digestive organs and creates movement inside the stomach area. It has a calming effect on the mind by going inwards but also by stretching the lungs, which means your breath will become deeper. On an energetic level, this asana activates Anahata, the heart chakra by opening then chest area, which means you are starting your day with an open heart, bringing harmony, love and joy into your life.
As its name already says, this asana is great for extending the whole body and bringing your physical body in alignment as you begin your day. Extended side angle pose stretches the legs and opens the hips, often this being the area we store a lot of physical, mental and emotional tension in. Keeping your abdomen engaged throughout the asana, this also means it tones the abdomen and stimulates the digestive organs. It is also a great asana for building strength in the legs and for toning them. Keeping the feet firm on the ground, will bring you in a state of feeling grounded and secure. On a mental level, this asana is fantastic confidence booster and an energising pose. Try the twist version also, by bringing your palms together and bringing the opposite elbow on the bent knee.
It’s always a great idea to finish any yoga routine with a Shavasana practice, lying down on your back with your legs extended and relaxed and your arms resting on each side of the body. I suggest a 5 minute Shavasana to follow, in which you mentally go through each part of your body. First observe how you are feeling, and secondly send your appreciation for this part. Through my yoga practice I have learnt to appreciate every part of the physical body, as the asanas give us clarity into just how important each part of the body really is. And practice some deep breathing, by inhaling through the mouth, hold for a few seconds and then exhale, release through the mouth. This will bring your breath in balance and ready to start your day.
Have a great day!