It is important to start our day in a way that sets us up for success. If we feel good internally, we’ll look good externally. So when it comes to feeling good from the inside out, taking some time to stretch in the morning can make a huge difference. The impact 10-15 minutes can do for the overall health of our body is amazing! Especially on those days when we simply don't have time to work out, making sure we stretch in the morning can help relieve muscle tension and sustain a greater range of motion.
Here are some great yoga poses you can do to stretch your body in the morning!
1. Crescent Moon (Ardha Chandrasana I)
From a standing pose, place your feet together, make sure there is equal weight distribution on both feet firming up to your legs. On an inhale, extend your arms overhead. Interlaced your fingers with your index finger pointing straight up. Draw your lower belly towards your spine as you lengthen the spine and soften your shoulder blades down your back. Interlace your fingers and press the palms up. On an exhale, side bend to the right. Press the heel of the left hand away as you press against the floor with the right foot. Stretch the side body and avoid letting your upper arm move forward. On an inhale come back to center. And repeat on the other side. Recommended hold time: 5 breaths.
2. Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
From a standing position, bring your hands to your hips, hinge at the hips and fold forward over your thighs. Allow a softening of the knees and release your hands to the ground and place them in front of you or beside your feet. You can stay here and hang for a few breaths or you have the option to cross your forearms and hold opposite elbows. Use the inhales to lift and lengthen the torso and use the exhales to forward bend a little deeper. Recommended hold time: 1 minute.
3. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Come to the floor on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Make sure your hips are right over your knees and your shoulders are over your wrists. Tuck your toes under and in an exhale, lift your hips up towards the ceiling, engaging your front quads. Stretch your heels down towards the floor. Firm your outer arms and spread your fingers, as you dig your fingers pads into the floor. Recommended hold time: 1-3 minutes.
4. Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
From Downward-Facing Dog, on an exhale, step your right foot between your hands, so that your knee is right over your ankle. Lower your left knee to the floor and flip your toes so that the front of your left foot presses to the floor. On an inhale, lift both arms up towards the ceiling. Engage your lower belly and open up your chest. Soften your shoulders down your back. Go back to Downward-Facing Dog and then repeat on the other side. Recommended hold time: 1 minute.
5. Seated Twist (Parivrtta Sukhasana)
Come into a comfortable seated position. If your knees are higher than your hipbones, I recommend sitting on a block or a blanket. On an inhale, lengthen the spine and soften the muscles along your neck. Take your right hand and place it behind you, and take your left hand to the outside of your right knee. On an exhale, gently twist over to the right. Use the inhales to create length through the spine and the exhales to deepen the twist. Do this for a few breaths and then switch sides. Recommended hold time: 10 breaths.
Remain in a comfortable seated position for a few breaths and bring your awareness to the rhythm of your inhales and exhales. Focus your gaze on the space right in between your eyebrows. Recommended hold time: 2-5 minutes.