The single best way to wake up, get rid of the aches and pains, and prepare for the day ahead is to get on your yoga mat and stretch out your body.
The following 7 poses will awaken the whole body, and no props are necessary.
1. Neck Stretches – Start sitting, rolling the shoulders back and lifting the spine up long. Close your eyes. Keeping the head forward, drop the right ear to right shoulder. Then drop left ear to left shoulder. Repeat side to side. Releasing the tension from the neck and the jaw. Return to center. Keeping the head lifted, turn your gaze to the right. Then left. Repeating side to side.
2. Seated Forward Fold – Sit cross legged, with the right shin in front of the left. Inhale to lengthen. As you exhale, walk your hands forward and fold down. Hug your low belly in and stretch long through the arms. Breathe in to the upper back. Take a moment here to think about how you want the day to go.
3. Side Body – From a seat twist to the right, bringing the left hand to the right knee and right hand back behind you. Maintain the length from the hips to the head as you open up. Straighten your right leg, bringing the left foot inside of the thigh. As you exhale, hinge forward from the hips. Bend in to the knee if your hamstrings are tight. Lift up, placing left hand down behind you. Swing your right arm up and lift your hips. Opening through the chest, and relaxing the head.
Repeat 2 and 3 through on the other side.
4. Boat Pose – From a seat, hold on to the back of your thighs. Roll your shoulders back, lifting the chest up. Lift the shins up parallel to the ground. To go further in to this, release the hands out at the sides of the legs.
5. Spine – Come to a table top pose on your hands and knees, palms under shoulders and knees under hips. Take a few rounds of cat/cow. Inhaling to drop the belly and lift the gaze. Exhale to round and contract, nose to navel. Take a few rounds. Then walk the hands slightly ahead of the shoulders, lifting the hips up and back for downward facing dog. Widen the feet if it feels good. Keep the arms straight. As you inhale, lift the heels up as high as you can go. As you exhale, press the heels down. Repeat a few rounds.
6. Lunge – Step your right foot between the palms at the front of the mat. Drop the left knee down and send the hips down and forward. Keep the left palm on the floor, bringing your right hand to your thigh. Opening up in to a twist. If you want to go deeper, take this in to a quad stretch. Bending in to the back knee, reach back with the right hand and pull your heel in. Release the hold of the back foot. Straighten the front leg to take a hamstring stretch. Return to down dog and repeat on the other side.
7. Wide-Legged Child’s Pose – Come to kneeling. Bring the big toes together and take the knees as wide as you would like. Sink the hips towards the heels. Extend the arms out in front as you release down. Soften your entire body in to the pose.
Prefer to be guided through a full 10 minute morning yoga stretch? Click the video below.
Yoga with Kassandra – Disclaimer
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