After a night in bed, these three exercises get your blood flowing, your thoughts focused and you prepared to face the day ahead. They take just a few minutes and can make all the difference in how productive or stressful your day will be.
This technique is a simple but powerful way to deeply focus your mind and relax your body in the morning.
Using your thumb and ring finger poised on either side of your nostrils, pinch the right side and inhale. Then pinch the left and exhale. Reverse the pattern, inhale through the left side and exhaling through the right nostril. Repeat a few times to clear your head. Known as Nadi Shodhana or Channel Clearing Breath, this technique is a simple but powerful way to deeply focus your mind and relax your body in the morning.
Even when we first wake-up, our thoughts are full of the day’s to-do lists, worries and concerns. A few minutes of silence in the morning helps prepare you for the mental and physical demands of the day ahead. For many of us, this is the hardest part of a yoga practice. Don’t stress about it. Just try sitting quietly for a few minutes – set a timer and start with 5 minutes. You can sit in any comfortable position in bed, on the floor or even find some privacy from others in the bathroom before your shower! Close your eyes and consciously relax your muscles. Let go of tension in your body and think about feeling at ease as you sit. Allow your mind to settle and focus just on inhaling and exhaling.
If other thoughts come to the surface, just acknowledge that they are there, and let them pass. Don’t scold yourself if your mind wanders. Meditating grooms your ability to come back to a peaceful mind even when there are distractions. Calming background music in the background helps some people to let your minds relax.
This is the quintessential morning yoga routine! The moves are intended to warm up your body for deeper poses, and are repeated to build energy. They are also traditionally practiced at sunrise – if you’re up that early!
To work them into your morning regimen without needing a full hour’s practice, try a half salutation. Start standing tall at the front of your mat [tadasana]. Inhale as you raise your arms up towards the sky [urdhva hastasana]. Exhale as you fold forward with a flat back, reaching towards the floor for a forward fold [uttanasana]. Inhale as you bring your hands to your shins and extend the crown of your head outward from your hips in a half forward fold [ardha uttanasana]. Fold deeply once more on your next exhale. Let your last inhale bring you back up to standing, as your hands come up over the head, and then exhale to lower your arms to your sides as you come back to where you started. Repeat as many times as you’d like!
Before you finish, hold a downward dog [adho mukha svanasana] pose for a few breaths. By inverting your body and having your head below your heart, you stimulate blood flow and start your day with energy and purpose.
Do you have a morning routine that gets your day off to a great start? Share your ideas in Comments so we can all learn from each other.