7 Yoga Stretches to Wake You Up

If you wake up stiff and achy, one of the best things you can do to improve the day ahead is to set aside 10 minutes to stretch and move your body.

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If you wake up stiff and achy, one of the best things you can do to improve the day ahead is to set aside 10 minutes to stretch and move your body.

This short and simple flow will help you to release tension residing in the body from the previous night's sleep. It will leave you energized and ready to tackle the day.

No props needed, so without further ado roll out your mat and get going.


1. Toe Squat - Kneel, with your toes curled under. Sit back on the heels. Reach your arms up overhead. Spread the fingers wide. Start to rapidly open and close the hands. Doing so for about 30 seconds. Reach the arms out to the sides, folding the thumb inside and fingers over. Bend at the elbows, tilting the hands out as if pouring from two pitchers. Flip the thumb to the outside of the fingers, then make half circles with the wrists. Release and shake out the hands.

2. Table top - Come down to all fours, untucking the toes. Wrists under the shoulders, and knees under the hips. Inhale, dropping the belly, lifting the gaze and curling the tailbone up. Exhale, rounding and contracting the spine. Repeat for a few rounds of breath. Keep the hips over the knees, while walking the hands forward until the forehead lowers to the mat. Melt the heart down.

3. Back bend - Drop the elbows to the floor, sliding forward on to the belly. With elbows under the shoulders, draw the shoulder blades back and shine the heart forward. Point the toes back. Breathe in to the rib cage as you hold here. Lower down, bringing the hands besides the ribs. As you inhale, squeeze the shoulders back, lifting the chest and floating the hands up in Cobra. Keeping the lower body glued to the mat. Exhale, to lower back down.

4. Downward dog - Tuck your toes underneath. Lift the hips up and back. Bend deeply in to the right knee and push the left heel towards the ground. Switch legs. Repeat through twice. Kick the left leg up to the sky, bend the knee and open the hip up.

5. Standing sequence - Step the left foot through to the top of the mat. Spin the back heel down and toes out to the right. Lift up in to Warrior 2, bending in to the right knee and pushing the knee open over the middle toe. Reach the arms front to back parallel to the mat. Keep the shoulders over the hips. Reverse your Warrior, bringing the right hand down to the back leg and reaching the left arm up and back. Switch to extended side angle, with the left forearm on the left thigh and right arm up and over. Straighten the left leg and reverse the arms once more. Stretch the left arm far forward, then lower it down to the shin. Draw the right shoulder back as the right hand reaches up in to Triangle.

6. Low lunge - Bend in to the front knee, bringing the fingertips down to the mat. Lift the back heel, and drop the back knee to the mat for low lunge. Hang out here, or bend the right knee and reach the left hand back to grab hold of the foot for a quad stretch. Release. Straighten the left leg and fold forward to stretch the hamstrings.

Repeat 5 and 6 through on the other side.

7. Seated - Drop down to seated. Extend the legs out in front of you. Bring your right knee in towards the chest. Step the right foot over the thigh. Hugging and holding the right knee with the left arm. Bring your right hand back behind you, twisting to the right. Find length in the spine as you hold here for a couple breaths. Unwind, aligning the right ankle over the left knee. Set the hands back behind you. Bend the right knee, drawing the legs closer towards you while holding this figure four shape. Repeat on the other side.

Prefer to be guided by visual and audio cues? Press play on the video below.


Namaste,
Kassandra

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