Wake up ready to face the day with a quick and easy yoga routine! According to yoga therapist Judi Bar, E-500 RYT, developing a daily practice of yoga is something almost anyone can benefit from.
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Yoga offers physical benefits like increased flexibility, strength and blood flow. But practicing yoga has an abundance of psychological benefits, too. It boosts your mood, helps you manage stress and can help you get a better night’s sleep.
“There are many options when it comes to finding yoga poses to wake up both your body and your mind,” Bar says. “And for many of them, you can do them right where you are.”
These aren’t all of them by any means, but here are some morning yoga poses that will energize you and get your day started off right.
Alignment Points: Stand tall with feet parallel and relax your tailbone down for a neutral pelvis. Lift up through the spine. Tuck your chin in slightly, and keep your head balanced over your shoulders.
Benefits of Pose: Increases awareness of posture overall. Lengthens the entire spine. Can help improve balance when practiced with eyes closed.
Alignment Points: Stand in Mountain Pose with your feet hip-width apart
for stability, your hands clasped and your elbows out supporting your head and cervical spine.
Benefits of Pose: Backbends stretch and strengthen arms, shoulders, back and core muscles. This pose also aids in better respiration, helps with digestion and increases awareness.
Alignment Points: Sit tall at front edge of the chair with feet firmly on the floor, and make sure your back is off the chair. Reach your arms behind you and put them on the back rest, keeping your arms straight. Watch to make sure the spine is not curled. Your heart should be center and your chin parallel to the floor. Shoulder blades are pulled back. If your shoulders are tight or there is pain in the shoulders, keep your arms lower on the chair.
Benefits of Pose: Fan Pose is a ‘heart opener’ which can stimulate your immune system, open upper respiratory muscles and stretch shoulders and arms. This pose also increases awareness of the action of the shoulder blades.
Alignment Points: Your feet are in a wide stance with toes pointing gently out. Put your palms out and raise arms up to a V. Lengthen your spine and look up towards to wall in front of you where the ceiling meets the wall. Use the chair for extra balance/support if needed. Engage leg and core muscles when lifting.
Benefits of Pose: Pose of Gratitude strengthens feet, legs and arches. It increases focus and awareness as well as core and back strength.
Alignment Points: Stand with your feet about hip-distance apart and circle your hips. Make sure to keep your ankles and knees loose and slightly bent. Try to get weight onto all sides of the feet as you move.
Benefits of Pose: Take It Around Town strengthens feet, legs and arches. This pose increases focus and awareness and loosens up your hips and body.
Alignment Points: Check for proper alignment in body. Use a chair for extra support if needed. Engage your legs and core, and lift your heels off the ground while pressing firmly into balls of your feet. Exhale as you lower your heels to the ground. Gaze at a stationary focal point.
Benefits of Pose: Strengthens legs, ankles, feet and arches. Increases focus and awareness. Increases core strength.
Alignment Points: Stand tall with feet parallel and relax tail bone down for a neutral pelvis and engage your core. Hold palms outward and raise arms up with shoulders down and extend through finger tips. Place weight into your heels.
Benefits of Pose: Increases awareness of posture over all. Lengthens the entire spine. Can help improve balance when practiced with eyes closed.
Alignment Points: Stand tall and draw navel in to engage abdominal muscles. Place hands on upper legs just above the knees as you lean forward into a flat back. Bend your knees if your back and hamstrings are tight. Your gaze should rest down to ensure your head, neck and spine are in a long line.
Benefits of Pose: Aligns shoulders and symmetrically stretches back muscles. Increases balance and awareness.
“Once you begin to develop a daily practice, you’ll begin to feel better all around!” Bar says.