Yoga is an exercise form that can be practiced at any point in time during the day. Variants such as chair yoga, desk yoga, after-hours yoga, and even beer yoga stand testimony to its versatility. That said, practicing in the morning is a lot more beneficial as you feel relaxed and refreshed through the day.
Since you do not move much while sleeping, your muscles feel sore when you wake up. Yoga helps to stretch out sore muscles in the morning. It also improves blood circulation and concentration – the two must-haves to have a productive and positive day. To start you off, here is a simple yoga routine you can follow every morning to awaken your muscles and sharpen your senses.
1. Corpse Pose (Shavasana)
The corpse pose is easy on the body but the true challenge lies in the mind.1
- Lie on the mat with your arms and feet slightly apart and rest.
- Try and clear your head of all thoughts. Counting your breath can help you do this with more ease.
- Notice how each muscle group is being released and relaxed as you breathe.
2. Skull-Shining Breath (Kapalabhati)
Kapalbhati is a necessary prerequisite in a yoga routine as it allows you to cleanse the abdomen and prep the stomach muscles for a workout. It provides a burst of energy to tired cells and stimulates the nervous system very effectively. After all, every exercise begins with the brain!
- Sit straight in the diamond pose.
- Place one hand on your tummy and take a deep breath.
- Exhale in a forceful spurt.
- Repeat this procedure as many times as you can.
3. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
The bound angle pose stimulates the heart and improves circulation. It also stretches the thighs, groins, and knees.2
- Start by sitting on the mat with your back straight and legs stretched out straight in front of you.
- Bend your knees and pull your legs in by holding the soles of the feet with your hands. Try and keep the knees in line with the floor as you do this.
- Breathe in and out while holding the pose for as long as you are comfortable.
4. Wind-Relieving Pose (Pavanmuktasana)
Aptly called the wind-relieving pose, this is ideal for reducing gas and bloating.3
- Lie down on the mat and bring your knees close to your chest.
- Hold the knees and press down on the tummy by holding your knees close to you with your hands wrapped around the legs.
- Once you are in this position, loosen the abdominal muscles and relax.
- Remember to take deep breaths.
5. Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
- Begin by stretching your legs out in front of you while seated.
- Bend the right leg at the knee while keeping the left leg straight.
- Raise your left arm and cross it over your right knee.
- Use the other arm to support yourself.
- In the final pose, your spine takes on a gentle “twist.”
- Release and repeat on the other side.
6. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
The downward-facing dog pose is one of the most popular yoga poses. This pose helps to stretch out the arms and legs effectively.
- Start by lying down on your tummy.
- Use your arms and toes to bend into an inverted “V” shape.
- The key here is to lay your palms flat on the mat and keep your heels as close to the mat as possible.
7. Cat-Cow Pose (Chakravakasana)
The cat-cow pose focuses on the neck. This oft-ignored part of the body is the one prone to spondylitis and other issues that affect the quality of life. The cow pose and cat pose, when alternated, can help stretch out not just the neck but also the spine.
- Place your hands and knees on the floor.
- Your hands should be shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart.
- Keep your back neutral and straight.
- Exhale and do the cat pose or marjaryasana.
- Round your spine and tuck your tailbone inward.
- Meanwhile, drop your head and tuck your chin inward. The top of your ankles should lay on the floor.
- The next inhale is for the cow pose or bitilasana. This move should start at your tailbone and flow up to your neck.
- Stick your tailbone upward, arch your spine, then look up at the ceiling.
- Curl your toes so that they touch the floor.
- Repeat the flow for 5 to 10 rounds.
8. Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)
The final asana in the routine is to build focus. Vrikshasana or tree pose is effective can improve your concentration.
- Start by placing one of your feet on the other knee while standing.
- Once you find your balance on one foot, raise your arms up and join the palms together.
- Fix your eyes on a point.
- Stay in this position for as long as possible.
- Release and repeat with the other leg.
9. Meditative Relaxation
Relaxation is not typically an asana but it can be done at the end of your practice to relax the muscles. This will clear the mind, reduce stress, and improve cognition.4
- Lie down on your mat and loosen each muscle group consciously.
- Take deep breaths and exhale slowly.
- Most importantly, try to keep the thoughts out for a while!
Always use a good yoga mat that can support all of your body, head, and toes included. Play some soothing music in the background and breathe consciously while you perform the routine.
|↑1||Khanna, Radhika. POSE. Xlibris Corporation, 2013.|
|↑2||Yoga Journal. Active Interest Media, Inc., 2008.|
|↑3||Yoga Journal. Active Interest Media, Inc., 2008.|
|↑4||Grossman, Paul, Ludger Niemann, Stefan Schmidt, and Harald Walach. “Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis.” Journal of psychosomatic research 57, no. 1 (2004): 35-43.|