Morning Yoga: 5 Poses to Start Your Day

Start your day with these 5 yoga poses – you can even do them in bed!

If you are anything like myself you may be able to wake up early, but it’s hard to get out of bed. Or maybe you are not a morning person at all and you have to set five alarms just to make it to work on time.  If you are rolling over to your cellphone to check social media before getting out of bed you may be setting yourself up for a day full of fatigue. Try starting your day off with these morning stretches instead. These can all be done from the comfort of your bed and will awaken the body for the day ahead!

1. Full Body Stretch: As you awaken your body from sleep, start to wiggle your fingers and toes just as you do when coming out of Savasana. Lay flat on your back and extend your arms up over head. Stretch through your entire body from your fingertips down to your toes. You may even point and flex your feet to bring awareness into your body. Many of us sleep on our sides in a fetal position. Taking a full body stretch activates each part of our body for movement and sends a signal to our brain that it is time to wake up

2. Neck Rolls: Neck rolls may release tension in your neck and shoulders and are a great way to slowly awaken the body to movement. Start seated in Sukhasana (or crossed leg pose). If it is hard for you to sit cross legged then sit on the side of your bed with your feet on the floor as you would sit in a chair. Root down through your sit bones and elongate your spine. Begin with your head straight and gaze forward. You can choose to have the eyes open or closed. Lower your chin toward your chest and roll your head to one side, right or left. Then roll it center again with your eyes facing the floor; stretching the back of your neck. Roll your head to the other side and then back to center, lifting your chin parallel with the floor. Only circle the neck in the range of motion that feels comfortable for you. Repeat this twice more, keeping your breath smooth and steady.

3. Shoulder Rolls: This is a great stretch to awaken stiff upper back and shoulder muscles in the morning as well as to combat the hours to come, sitting at your desk. Start seated in Sukhasana (cross leg pose) or seated at the edge of your bed with your feet on the floor. Sit up tall by elongating from your sit bones, through the spine and up through the crown of the head.  Start by simply shrugging your shoulders up towards the ears and taking them back and down creating a circular motion – do this several times. Now try placing your fingertips onto the top of your shoulders. Move your elbows in towards each other and then take them back out to the side so your thoracic spine also benefits from the movement. Just as we did for our neck rolls, repeat this motion several times breathing smoothly.

4. Seated Cat-Cow or Spinal Flexes: The benefit of cat-cow pose is that it brings focus to your mind by coordinating breath with movement. Remaining seated, bring your hands on to your knees and sit up tall. Take a deep breath in and on your exhale move the abdominals back, roll your shoulders forward, move your head down and round your back for cat pose. On your inhale lift the chest, roll the shoulders back, move your thoracic spine in toward your chest and take your head back slightly to cow pose. Continue moving back and forth between cat-cow allowing the breath to guide the body. Starting your day off by breathing consciously and moving your spine allows the mind to start clearer and with purpose.

5. Cat-Cow from Table Top: Start on the floor on all fours in table top position with your shoulders over your wrists, your hips over your knees and a neutral spine. Spread your fingers nice and wide and plant your hands down firmly. Take a deep breath in and out to prepare the body for motion. On your next inhale, move your chest forward between your arms, and gently take your gaze up, coming into cow. On your exhale scoop the navel toward the spine, release your head down and gaze toward your abdomen, coming into cat. Move back and forth, slowly between these positions several times. Let your pace be guided by your breath. Moving between cat-cow not only warms up your spine and energizes you for the day ahead, but also massages the internal organs including the adrenal glands, which help regulate metabolism and how stress effects the body.

About the Author

Sabrina Zellis started her yoga path with a dream board and a need for change. Realizing she wanted to live mindfully in the modern world, she took a leap of faith to be a full-time yogi. Sabrina completed teacher training in Fiji with YogaWorks and is now a 200 RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher). She considers herself a fruit loop in a world full of cheerios and works hard to find the namaste in each day.

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