You already start every morning with a stretch, a yawn, or maybe a roll of the shoulders. With Yoga, you can add mindfulness to your morning movements. The element of meditation in a Yoga routine provides an opportunity to center yourself as soon as you wake up and set an intention for the day ahead. Just 15 minutes of Yoga can also reduce stress and early morning muscle stiffness while boosting energy and metabolism.
To get your day started on the right foot, here are 7 Yoga poses we love waking up with. Read on or watch the poses in our guide on HWX Digital Studio!
1. Reclined Bound Angle Pose – Supta Baddha Konasana
This pose can be done in the same place where you sleep. In bed! Lay flat on your back, bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together. Relax your shoulders, rest your palms on your stomach, and breathe deeply and slowly as you stretch your thighs, groin, and knees. Other benefits include lowered blood pressure, decreased heart rate, and relief from fatigue.
2. Cat/Cow – Bitilasana Marjaryasana
This pose gently stretches and warms up the spine and neck, hips, abdomen, and back while stimulating the organs in the belly. Move to a hands and knees position with your wrists directly under your shoulders, knees directly under your hips, and a straight back. Take a deep breath. As you exhale, gently round your spine to the ceiling like a frightened cat and tuck your chin to your chest. Then, as you inhale, slowly lower your back and draw your tailbone up and in while you lift your head. Repeat these movements for about one minute.
3. Locust – Salabhasana
Lie face down on your stomach with your arms by your sides and your palms facing the ceiling. As you inhale, raise your chin, chest, legs, and feet. Keep your legs together and your arms at your sides. You should be balancing on your abdomen. Hold this pose for a few breaths. As you exhale, slowly return to your beginning position. This core-strengthening pose improves posture and blood flow while activating the back muscles and opening the chest. It can also aid in digestion and increase focus.
4. Downward Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana
This pose activates the lower body, waking up your hamstrings, calves, and ankles while stimulating blood flow. Move to your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Your hands should be a little wider than your shoulders. Place the balls of your feet on the ground and lift your knees. Slowly straighten your legs and lift your hips toward the ceiling. Relax your neck and suck in your navel to lengthen your spine. When you are ready, slowly lower your heels to the floor. Hold this pose for at least one minute.
5. Extended revolved crescent lunge/dragonfly twist – Utthita Parivrtta Anjaneyasana
Begin standing, then bend the right knee at a right angle and extend the left leg back into a lunge position. Twist your torso over the right leg while reaching straight up with your left arm and straight down with your right arm. After holding the pose for up to one minute, repeat on the opposite side. Benefits include stimulating internal organs as you open your rib cage on each side as well as stretching hip flexor muscles and calves.
6. Bridge – Setu Bandhasana
Lie down on your back, then bring your ankles as close as you can to your glutes. Hold your ankles with your thumbs up. Slowly inhale and lift your hips as high as you can. Keep your neck flat. Hold this pose for up to 30 seconds, then slowly lower your hips. This pose can strengthen your back, glutes, legs, and ankles while opening the chest, heart, and hip flexors. It’s also perfect for rejuvenating tired legs.
7. Plow – Halasana
Lie on your back with your arms at your side and your palms facing down. Lift your legs and point your toes to the ceiling. Keep your legs together and straight, then bring them over your head as you push down on your palms. Reach your toes to the ground. Hold this pose for 30 seconds. Then, bend your elbows back and rest your hands on your back for support as you slowly lift your legs. Gently lower your legs back to the ground one vertebrae at a time to stretch your spine and activate your upper body. Other than stretching your neck, shoulders, and spine, this pose can be therapeutic for backaches, headaches, and sinusitis.
Many thanks to Shannon Brown for helping us with this blog post. Shannon has been teaching group fitness since 2007 and joined our HWX team in 2020. She currently teaches Yoga, Cycle and Dance classes at Republic Fitness and Healthworks.