Getting up in the morning can be a struggle, particularly after a restless nights sleep. Thankfully, yoga can work as a natural stimulant to set you up for the day. Through a series of postures, the holistic therapy can help you to leave the house feeling refreshed and revitalised. Better still, you can practice for as long as time permits; if you’re rushing out the door, squeeze in a 5-minute sequence. If you find yourself with a little more time, treat yourself to a slow and steady workout, instead. In this article, we explore the best yoga poses to wake you up. Before getting started, remember to pick up a quality mat and a breathable yoga top.
Popular amongst yogis of all sorts, Downward Dog is particularly satisfying to practice first thing in the morning. From this posture, you can transition into the next few poses to invigorate you for the day ahead.
To practice the asana, begin on all fours with your wrists aligned with your shoulders. Tuck your toes under, lift your hips off the ground and draw them back towards your heels. If your hamstrings are too tight to do this, keep your knees bent throughout the pose. If you need more length, walk your hands forward until the posture feels comfortable. Finally, press your palms into the ground and rotate your elbows towards each other. You are in Downward Dog. Hold the asana for around 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply.
Ideal for waking up the hamstrings, Reclining Big Toe Pose is another popular posture for the AM. If you have a strap to hand, use it to get more extension. If not, don’t worry; you can just reach around your leg and hold your thigh with your hands.
To practice the asana, begin by lying on your back. Bend both your knees and place your feet flat on the mat. Next, lift your right leg off the floor and draw your knee into your chest. If it helps, use your hands to keep it in position. Slowly straighten your left leg and rest it down on the mat. Using your fingertips, take hold of the toes of your right foot. If you can, straighten your right leg. If you can’t straighten it all the way, don’t panic! As long as you can feel a stretch through your ankle and calf, the asana is doing its job. You are in Reclining Big Toe Pose. Hold the posture for 30 seconds before repeating on the other side.
For best results during Cobra Pose, anchor your pelvis into the floor throughout the posture. If you want to take the asana to the next level, straighten your arms for a higher cobra or lift your knees to practice upward facing dog.
To practice the asana, begin by lying on your stomach. Straighten your legs, keeping the tops of your feet on the mat. Next, place your hands underneath your shoulders and draw your elbows back. Press your thighs into the ground and lift your chest by straightening your arms. Finally, press your tailbone into the mat and engage your buttocks. You are in Cobra Pose. Hold the position for around 30 seconds before releasing the backbend. To deepen the stretch, draw your shoulders back and distribute the stretch evenly throughout your spine.
Restorative in nature, Child’s Pose can be used to refresh the mind before heading out to work. To practice the asana, begin by kneeling on your mat. Next, sit back on your heels and lengthen your spine as you inhale. As you exhale, slowly walk your hands out in front of you until your chest is touching the mat. Finally, rest your forehead on the ground and place your arms by your sides. You are in Child’s Pose. Hold the pose for around 5 minutes, or as long as the posture feels comfortable.
Practising Cat-Cow Pose for just a few minutes will open your upper and lower back after a night of sleep. To practice the asana, begin on all fours with your wrists underneath your shoulders. Next, take a deep breath in and arch your back towards the ceiling. You are in Cat Pose. Hold the position for around 15 seconds before releasing the stretch. As you exhale, tuck your chin into your chest and arch your back towards the ground. You are in Cow Pose. Hold the position for 15 seconds before repeating the sequence.
If you tend to feel a little out of it when you first wake up, practice Tree Pose to help you focus. To practice the asana, stand tall with your feet together. Touch your big toes together, leaving a small amount of space between your heels. Next, bring your palms together in front of your chest and engage your abdominal muscles. Slowly move your weight onto your right foot, rooting it to the mat by pressing through the ball of your heel. Next, bend your left knee and lift your foot off the ground. Finally, place your left foot on the inside of your right thigh. You are in Tree Pose. Hold the asana for 30 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.
Mountain Pose is the perfect asana to end your morning routine with. When using the pose, close your eyes and feel any tension in your shoulders, neck, and back melt away.
To practice the asana, stand tall with your feet together. Press down through your toes and spread them apart for balance. Next, tense your quadriceps to lift your kneecaps, then lift up through your inner thighs. As you lift your chest, draw your stomach up and in and press your shoulder blades down. Open your chest by bringing your shoulder blades together, keeping your palms facing up. You are in Mountain Pose. Hold the asana for 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply.
If you’re looking for an alternative to your morning coffee, practice the postures above to wake up in the morning. For best results, it’s important to wear breathable yoga clothes to allow the body to oxygenate. To stay comfortable, try wearing a lightweight yoga vest and a pair of sweatpants.