As much as I would love to call myself a morning person, I am much more prone to hitting snooze and waiting until the very last minute to jump out of bed and get ready in (literally) a whirlwind.
And while my morning cup of coffee might serve as a tad bit of motivation, it wasn’t until I was introduced to a mindful morning routine that I was finally able to start my day off the way I wanted: with gratitude and ease.
I discovered that even just 20 minutes of yoga in the morning was enough to supercharge my day with energy and dramatically impact the outlook I carried with me in the hours that followed.
No longer was I frazzled, chugging coffee and racing around.
Instead, I started my day with clarity, gratitude, and joy. And those are three characteristics I would trade over feeling overwhelmed any day!
Ready for more energy and clarity in your mornings?
Try out this 20-minute morning yoga flow, and then let us know how it impacts your day!
This is an excellent pose to warm up and stretch the entire spine.
- Begin on your hands and knees, with wrists aligned directly beneath the shoulders and knees aligned directly beneath the hips.
- Exhale to round the spine, bringing the chin in towards the chest while firmly pressing the ground away from you. Strongly engage the core here.
- Then on the inhale, drop the belly and arch the back. Gaze is slightly lifted as shoulder blades squeeze together.
Repeat these movements for 2-3 minutes. Feel free to move as slowly as you like, taking your time to integrate breath and movement while you slowly awaken the body.
Maintain the same Table-Top position you had in Cat-Cow pose.
- Now, inhale the right hand out in front of you and the left leg out behind you. Powerfully stretch through the hand and leg, strongly activating the muscles. Keep the core engaged.
- On the exhale, reach back with your right hand to grab your left ankle.
- Actively kick your foot into your hand and up away from you. Take the gaze up.
This can be a powerful backbend, so only move as deeply into the posture as feels right for you. When you’re ready to release, extend the arm and leg before lowering back down to Table Top position. Switch sides.
Now it’s time to get the oxygen circulating throughout the body by continuing to link breath and movement through some more dynamic asanas.
Plus, what better day to embrace the new morning light than through sun salutations! There are multiple styles and flows that you can try, but this is a nice easy one to start off your day.
- Inhale lift the arms up.
- Exhale to swan dive forward over the thighs. Pause here in your forward fold. If it feels nice, take your hands to the opposite elbows and sway from side to side.
- Then, plant the hands and step back into Plank Pose.
- Exhale with a strong core, lower down into Chaturanga Pose. To do this, you will keep the core and thighs strong as you bend at the elbows to lower your body (similar to a yogi-style push-up.) If this is too difficult, drop your knees down to the ground for additional support.
- Inhale to come to Upward Dog. The tops of the feet press firmly against the ground. Spread your palms wide, then straighten the arms to bring your torso and legs slightly off the ground. This is another fantastic back bend, so breathe here as long as feels enlivening and good for you.
- Now, exhale to come into Downward Dog. Tuck the toes and lift the hips high into the air. Press firmly into the hands and work towards pressing the heels into the ground. (However, it’s better to have high hips and a straight spine, even if it means the heels come off the ground slightly).
- From here, walk, hop or step your feet to meet your hands at the front of your mat.
- Inhale to slowly rise.
- Exhale to bring your hands back to heart center.
Notice the effects of the movement on your body. Repeat 3-5 more times, depending on how your body feels. You can always work up to more Sun Salutations later.
Get deep into the thighs and groin while also inviting a nice backbend into your morning practice.
- From Downward Dog, step the right foot forward to meet your hands at the front of your mat.
- Drop your left knee down. If you have any knee problems, pause to support your knee with a blanket or other prop.
- Slowly inhale to lift the arms up overhead.
- Now, bend the back leg so that you can grab onto your left foot with one or both hands.
- When you’re ready, release the hands to the ground and step back to Downward Dog. Switch sides.
This is both a balancing posture and a gentle heart opener. Breathe into any tension that arises.
- With the right leg extended, cross the left foot over the right thigh. Keep the left knee pointed towards the ceiling.
- Inhale the right arm high, then exhale to take the elbow to the left knee.
- Continue twisting to the left, moving from the core at all times. On each inhale feel your spine grow a little longer. On each exhale twist into the pose deeper.
Stay here for five breaths. Gently untwist and switch sides.
- Lie on your back with the soles of your feet firmly planted beneath you.
- With the thighs hugging in towards one another, begin to lift the hips up towards the sky while rolling the spine up off the mat. Avoid tensing the buttocks without losing the height in the hips.
- You can role slightly onto the shoulders and clasp your hands behind your back if that feels comfortable for you.
Stay here for a few breaths, then release the hands to roll back down onto your mat, vertebrae by vertebrae.
Even though it is an energising morning yoga flow, don’t forget to take at least a few minutes for savasana at the end of your practice.
As you allow your body to fully relax and rest on your mat, you might like to set an intention for the rest of your day.
After this quick but effective yoga practice, you might even find you don’t need that second or third cup of coffee!