Mornings. Some people love them, some people...not so much. If your morning routine consists of walking to the coffee machine with eyes half open and turning it on, this post is for you. Our lovely Mikayla has gathered her top 5 poses for waking up the body. Why wait until after work to dive into your yoga routine? When you practice yoga first thing in the morning, it sets the tone for the rest of the day. You wake the body up slowly and are able to clear that early morning fog sooner and will actually look forward to the rest of your day. Good Morning!
This pose is a great way to start your day on the right foot! When you get out of bed, plant your feet firmly on the ground and stand up tall. As you inhale, lengthen your spine as you reach your hands up and interlace your fingers with your palms facing the ceiling. As you exhale, begin to lean over to one side. Gently switching between sides and you can repeat this as much as you want and even hold on each side for a few breathes.
Once you have finished with Parsva Tadasana, its time for a few sun salutations to make your way into Downward Dog. I like to start my day off with two or three. Moving from cobra, bending at the knees, make your way into Downward Dog. Remember to keep your feet hip width apart with a gentle bend in the knees if your heels aren't touching the ground and imagine expanding your shoulders. You can spread your fingers wide and even give a bend in the elbows if your having trouble making that upside down V shape. Hold here for a few breathes. To come out, bend both knees, look to the hands and walk or hop to meet them.
Tree pose is a great way to find your balance first thing in the morning. Be easy on yourself, sometimes it's hard to balance after just waking up. Begin to balance on your left foot by grounding down the toes into the mat. As you lift your right foot, first place it just by the left ankle to see where you are at. If you feel stable, begin to lift the foot placing it somewhere on the left leg, avoiding the knee, and reach the arms straight up to the ceiling. Once you reach the pose, if you find that you are sinking into the left hip, pull up from the right to create a straight line. Hold here for 3-5 breathes. You can bring your hands into prayer to the chest and hold for another 2-3 breathes and then release and repeat on the other side.
Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana
This pose is a great way to warm the legs up and get the blood flowing in the morning. Moving from Downward Dog, inhale your left leg straight back and swing through the left foot all the way to meet your hands at the top of the mat. Begin to ground down with the front foot and slowly lift the arms all the way up to the ceiling. Try to imagine moving in slow motion so that your legs can engage and build strength. Once your arms reach the ceiling, exhale deeper into the left leg by bending the knee and keeping the back heel up. Bring awareness to the front leg also by using the inner thigh muscles to turn the knee out. Breathe here for 5 rounds and slowly bring the hands down to the mat and step back in Downward Dog. Repeat on the other side.
Upward Bow (Wheel) Pose
Only attempt wheel if you have properly warmed the back up. Lying on the floor, bend your knees up so that the sole's of the feet are connected to the mat as close to the sit bones as possible. Bend your arms and bring your hands to the floor by your head with your fingertips pointing towards your shoulders. Begin to root down through the feet and and as you exhale, engage the buttocks and begin to lift the hips, keeping the feet parallel. Once hips are lifted, begin to root down through the palms of the hands also, lifting the crown of the head to the floor. You can stay here or begin to move into full wheel by stretching the arms and lifting the hips higher, grounding down with the hands and feet, expanding the shoulders. Hold here for 3-5 breathes and then slowly come back down in reverse, gently rolling the back down and pausing lying on the ground. Repeat 1-3 times.
Join Mikayla for Yin Yoga on Friday mornings at 9 and 10:30 am.
Images by Instinct Photography