Starting your day right can make all the difference in how energized and focused you are, and a good morning yoga practice will help you do just that. Here’s the perfect blend of yogic breathing exercises and poses that will set you up for a perfect day.
Gentle Stretches, Energizing Asanas, And Deep Breathing
Your morning yoga routine should start with some simple stretches that warm up your muscles and loosen you up, allowing for simple movement. You should then zero in on poses and breathing techniques that free your mind, calm you, and help you focus. A morning exercise session should also help kick start your digestion by working the core muscles and smoothly massaging abdominal organs. This combination can help you be both mentally and physically prepared for anything the day throws your way!
1. Sukhasana: To Calm You And Lengthen Your Spine
Sukhasana, the easy seat, will help lengthen and stretch your spine. Sukhasana also gives you a sense of inner calm that can prepare you for the stresses of the day ahead.
- Simply sit cross-legged so one ankle lines up in front of the other.
- Hands resting on the knees, sit on the front of your sitting bones and assure there is a gap between your pelvis and your feet.
- Open up your shoulders, pressing the chest front and reaching up from your spine, relaxing the shoulders.
- Let your face relax, feel your tongue soften and jaw release. Inhale and exhale gently and calmly.
Apanasana: A Good Stretch
This is a stretch you can do as soon as you wake up and before you even hop out of bed. Apasana helps to stretch your spine as well as shoulders. It also massages your back and abdominal organs, helping to improve digestion, ease back pain, and open up the hips.
- Lie down on your back with your legs stretched out. Have your knees separated. Bend the knees into your chest.
- Move the knees in closer and put your arms around both legs.
- Roll to one side then the other, repeating several times.
2. Pranayam: Focus Your Attention
Yogic breathing techniques or pranayam can help you clear your head and bring your focus to your breathing. This helps declutter the mind and focus better. Attempt some of these breathing techniques before you move on to the next poses.
Even Ratio Breathing: Do even ratio breathing for around three minutes, where you focus on inhaling for three counts and exhaling for a count of three. Gradually build up to five counts on each.
Just take care that breathing feels comfortable and not forced or painful. To quiet yourself, exhale for longer and inhale for shorter counts. Six Counts of exhaling to about three of inhale are a good level to build up to.
Nadi Shodhana: Alternate nostril breathing helps to clear blocked energy channels in your body. In doing so, it also helps calm the mind and release any stress or pent-up tension and even fatigue.
- Sit comfortably with a relaxed soft smile on your face
- Place your left hand on your left knee with the palm facing up. Use the small finger and ring finger of your right hand to keep your left nostril closed as you inhale from the right nostril
- Next, close the right nostril with your thumb as you exhale from the left nostril
- Now exchange so you inhale from the left nostril and exhale from the right
- Continue for five minutes and return to your normal breath
3. Tadasana: Focus The Mind And Galvanize Your Body
Tadasana, like yogic breathing, also focuses your mind and prepares your body for the asanas you perform after this.
- Stand with feet hip-distance apart and allow the tension in your tailbone to fall away to the floor, pulling your stomach in simultaneously. Your rib cage should stand up out of the pelvis.
- Draw your shoulders back away from your ears. Let them rest.
- Move to the ceiling with the crown of your head, feeling the spine lengthen and stretch up.
- Breathe deeply, with your chin parallel to the ground through the pose.
- Hold for one minute.
Take tadasana a little further
- Start in tadasana and inhale as you lift your arms overhead, allowing the fingers to interlock.
- With your fingers joined, turn your palms up skyward.
- Reach a little to your right so you feel the left side of your body expand as you bend.
- Take care not to lose your balance – your feet should be firmly rooted even as you reach skyward.
- Take five breaths before exiting the pose as you breathe. Draw your arms back down to your sides and back into tadasana.
- Repeat the sequence, this time reaching to your left.
4. Chakravakasana: To Boost Circulation And Aid Digestion
Cow pose offers a soft massage to abdominal organs and the back and is a good way to warm up for your spine. Cat stretch helps in a similar manner, aiding digestion, toning up your abdomen, and relaxing the mind. It also boosts blood circulation.
- Begin on the floor on your hands and knees
- Line up your hips over the knees and shoulders above the wrists
- As you inhale, arch your back and lift your sitting bones as well as chest up into cow pose.
- As you breathe out, round your back with the chin and pelvis tucked into cat pose.
5. Shavasana: To Relax And Round Up Your Routine
End your yoga session with some time allocated in the shavasana . This pose is meant to relax you, ease anxiety, lower blood pressure, and leave you feeling refreshed.
- Lie on your back, on a mat or comfortable surface with your arms angled at 45 degrees to your body, palms facing up
- Your shoulders should be relaxed away from your ears
- Concentrate on one part of the body at a time, slowly relaxing one section at a time
- Begin with your feet and work your way up to the crown of your head
- Gently close your eyes during this asana but don’t fall asleep!