Some days, it’s hard to get out of bed. We can do all the right things—go to bed early, prep our meals, plan our cute outfits—and yet when our alarms go off, the struggle not to hit snooze is very real. Fortunately, there are simple stretches we can do at home to elevate our energy levels and set ourselves up for a productive day. We’ve created an easy yoga sequence you can do right when you wake up. Read on for your new morning yoga routine!
Start your day with this quick, beginner-friendly yoga flow that includes warm-ups, forward folds, backbends, and standing and seated postures to get your blood pumping, focus your mind, and set the mood for your entire day. Try the following yoga poses in order, and hold each for at least five deep breaths. Practice ujjayi breathing during each asana (yoga pose), inhaling and exhaling through the nose to increase oxygen and build internal body heat. These 10 poses are great for when you don’t have time to head to a full yoga class but still want to make time for wellness and reap the benefits of practice!
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
- How to: Sitting on your heels, bring your torso forward and rest your forehead on the ground in front of you. Extend your arms toward the front of the mat with palms facing either up (for a more energizing, receptive quality) or down (for more grounding). Knees can stay together or come apart, so that your chest rests in between them.
- Benefits: Relaxes spine, neck, and shoulders; stretches lower back; calms the body and mind
- Tip: You can take this position anytime you’re feeling light-headed or fatigued during your yoga practice, or if you simply want to rest. (In Kundalini Yoga, there is even a practice of intentionally falling asleep in child’s pose for five minutes—don’t forget to set an alarm!—to feel more energized.)
Marjaryasana-Bitilasan (Cat-Cow Pose)
- How to: Come into a tabletop position on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. On your inhale, come into cow pose by curling your toes under and dropping your belly while gazing up toward the sky. Transition to cat pose on your exhale by releasing the tops of your feet to the floor, rounding your spine, and bringing your gaze toward your belly. Repeat, syncing your movement with your breath, until you feel complete.
- Benefits: Promotes a healthy spine; improves abdominal strength
- Tip: This flow of movement can be done quickly or slowly. Play around with your breath and movement, and notice how your feel. Cultivate an inner gaze by practicing with your eyes closed.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
- How to: From tabletop position, move your knees back a couple inches, tuck your tows, and send your hips to the sky to create an inverted V shape with your body. Spread your fingers and toes as wide as you can on the mat to get as much grounding as possible.
- Benefits: Stretches upper body, hamstrings, and calves; helps boost blood circulation throughout the body
- Tip: Point your pointer fingers forward, pressing your hand knuckles into your yoga mat, and imagine suctioning, or clawing, your hands to the earth.
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
- How to: Start on the belly with feet hip-width distance apart. Place your hands on the mat underneath your shoulders. Straighten your arms, keeping them in close to your rib cage, to peel your chest and upper ribs up off the floor.
- Benefits: Opens up the back, chest, and shoulders
- Tip: Try hovering your hands above the earth and seeing how high you can lift. This can help you notice how much weight you’re putting on your hands!
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
- How to: Stand tall at the top of your mat with your feet hip-width distance apart and your arms by your sides. Engage your legs and draw your tail bone down. Relax your shoulders, and gaze straight forward.
- Benefits: Improves posture and mental clarity
- Tip: Try practicing mountain pose whenever you are standing in line for something or if you’re getting ready for a big presentation or stressful situation. This simple stance packs a punch!
Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
- How to: From mountain pose, bend your knees and try to get your thighs as parallel to the floor as possible while keeping your tail bone down and your chest lifted.
- Benefits: Strengthens the ankles, calves, and spine; develops core strength
- Tip: If you have a block nearby, try squeezing between your inner thighs. Remove the block, and come back into the pose using the same squeezing energy.
Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I Pose)
- How to: Come into a lunge position with your back heel facing inward and your front foot in line with the arch of your back foot. Keep your front knee directly over your front ankle and both hips facing forward. Bring your arms up overhead. Repeat on the other side.
- Benefits: Strengths chest, arms, and legs
- Tip: If it doesn’t feel right or you can’t quite get both hips to face forward, come into a wider stance or even a low lunge to get the same benefits.
Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose)
- How to: From Warrior I, turn your hips to face the side of the mat and fan your arms out so that the same arm as your front leg is reaching forward and the same arm as your back leg is reaching behind you with palms facing down. Keep your front knee bent at a 90-degree angle, and stretch your arms so that they’re energetically pulling away from each other. Gaze out over your front middle finger. Repeat on the other side.
- Benefits: Strengthens legs, ankles, and arms
- Tip: Your spine should remain straight with your head lifting up. Notice if you’re leaning too far forward (into the future) or too far back (into the past), and see if you can come back into balance (in the present).
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose)
- How to: From tabletop position, slide your right knee forward toward your right hand and slide your left leg back. The right foot will come behind the left hand, although the angle of your knee will vary based on body shape and bone structure. Square your hips to the front of the mat, and bring your torso down into a forward bend over your bent right leg. Relax, breathe, and let go. Repeat on the other side.
- Benefits: Lengthens and opens up hip flexors; stretches the back
- Tip: Pain in the hips often reflects emotional pain. Opening up your hip flexors in pigeon pose can help you relieve stress and release tension you’ve been, knowingly or unknowingly, holding onto.
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
- How to: Lay down on your back, let your feet fall out to the sides, and bring your arms alongside your body. Let your breath come naturally, close your eyes, and rest.
- Benefits: Calms the mind; relaxes muscles; improves concentration
- Tip: Don’t skip savasana; this pose allows the body to rest, receive, and integrate the benefits of the practice.
What’s your favorite morning yoga pose? Let us know in the comments below!
By Practyce Team
April 26, 2022