Good morning! Not enough sleep, too many dreams, or none at all?! Sometimes waking up seems hard to do. When you reach for the snooze, try reaching for yoga instead! These simple yoga poses will leave you feeling empowered, strong, and focused for the day ahead!
Child’s Pose Balasana
This pose will allow you to gradually wake up. First thing in the morning, it is easy to get bombarded by things we have to do or feel pressured by the external world. This pose will give you a few extra minutes to just be with yourself, turning your gaze inward so you can set an intention for yourself and your day. Enjoy this quiet time to discover what it is you truly need and what serves you best. Come to your hands and your knees. Place your big toes together and take your knees slightly wider than your hips. Rest your bottom down toward your heels and rest your forehead on the ground, reaching your arms out in front of you or back behind you. Stay here for 5-10 breaths.
This pose is great for creating mobility throughout the spine. Do you ever wake up feeling stiff or kind of out-of-sorts? Usually when we sleep, we sleep on our side or on our belly, which are not ideal positions for our neck, shoulders, or back. This pose not only feels great on the back, but also helps bring our spine back into its normal curvature by alternating between flexion and extension, bringing us back to neutral. Come to your hands and your knees. Place your hands directly under your shoulders and place your knees directly under your hips. On your inhale, press through your hands and the tops of your feet and shins as you reach your chest forward. Allow your belly to soften towards the ground, creating a slight arch in your back. On your exhale, round your spine and look slightly toward your belly. Repeat this 3-4 times.
Half Sun Salutation / Ardha Surya Namaskar
This series of poses is a great way to feel energized and motivated! These linked poses mean “saluting the sun,” so it’s only natural to do them in the morning when the sun is out. These poses will increase your heart rate, promote even breathing, and stretch and strengthen the body. This is a great way to start your day. Start at the top of your mat in Tadasana, Mountain Pose. Inhale as you reach your arms over your head and lift your chest slightly. Exhale as you reach down to your toes for a forward fold. Consider bending your knees slightly to hinge forward from your hips, but keep your leg muscles strongly engaged. Inhale as you lift your chest up to a half-forward fold, lengthening through your spine and reaching your sternum forward. Exhale as you return back down to your forward fold, hands by your feet. Inhale as you reach your arms up and over your head, coming back standing. Exhale hands together at your heart.
Warrior 2 / Virabhadrasana 2
This pose is great for increasing stamina and building strength. Sometimes in order to face the day we need a little boost and this pose will bring out your inner warrior: ready to face any challenge or obstacle with a willingness to persevere and find peace. This pose will leave you feeling energized and strong. Stand facing the long edge of your mat. Take your arms out to your sides, parallel to the ground. Take a wide stance with your legs, so that your feet are directly under your wrists. Turn your entire right leg out to face the top edge of your mat and turn your back foot in slightly, aligning your right foot’s heel to your left foot’s arch. Bend your right leg deeply, so that your thigh is parallel to the ground, and align your knee with your foot. Straighten your back leg. Lengthen through all four sides of your torso evenly and lift your chest. Gaze softly over your front hand. Take 5 breaths here. To come out, straighten your right leg and bring your hands to your hips. Turn your right foot in, so that your feet are parallel to one another. Remaining in your wide stance, pause here for a breath or two. Repeat on the other side.
Easy Seat for Meditation Sukhasana
Meditation is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for the day ahead. In the morning, we get to set our intention for the whole day that lies before us. It is a new opportunity to be present and kind to ourselves and to others. Sukhasana is an easy seated position, (maybe you remember it as “criss-cross applesauce”) which makes it a great pose for meditation. Come to a seat by crossing one of your legs in front of the other, so that your shins are crossed at the center and your knees can rest on the inner edges of your feet. If this is uncomfortable for you, try sitting on a blanket or a cushion. Sit with a lengthened spine and widen across your collarbones. Feel your chest lift slightly and notice your shoulders relax. Let your hands rest on your knees with your palms faced open in honor of being open-minded. Feel free to close your eyes. Begin to notice your breath enter your nose and notice your breath exit your nose. Breathe in deeply and breathe out deeply. Consider setting a mantra for your day, for example, “I am brave” or “I am strong” or “I am focused,” whatever resonates with you today. Remain here for 1-5 minutes.
Enjoy the day!
Ashley Corlis, Fabletics Master