It’s not always easy to spring out of bed in the morning feeling motivated and ready to seize the day, particularly during the winter months when we all find ourselves needing to catch a few more precious Zs.
Morning stretches are a great way to set you up for the day ahead, improve your mood, increase blood flow and get your body working more efficiently. There are plenty of simple yoga poses you can incorporate into your morning routine, so fear not – you don’t need to be a professional yogi to join in.
We’ve walked you through 4 feel-good stretches to help ease tension and combat that sluggish AM slump like a boss. Click through the gallery to read instructions for each pose.
1. Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your heels as wide as your hips.
2. Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs. Broaden your sacrum across the back of your pelvis and narrow your hip points towards the navel, so that they nestle down onto the inner thighs. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your neck.
3. Lay your hands on the floor alongside your torso, palms up and release the fronts of your shoulders towards the floor.
1. Lie flat on the floor. Stretch your legs back, keeping the tops of your feet on the floor. Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Keep the elbows back into your body.
2. Press the tops of the feet and thighs and the pelvis firmly into the floor.
3. On the inhalation, begin to straighten your arms and lift your chest off the floor, going only to the height at which you can maintain a connection through your pelvis to your legs. Press your tailbone toward your pelvis and lift the pelvis toward your navel. Narrow your hip points.
4. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, puffing your side ribs forward. Lift through the top of your sternum but avoid pushing the front ribs forward, which hardens the lower back.
Downward Dog Pose
1. Stand at the end of your mat and exhale, slowly bending forward to touch your toes. Place your palms flat on the floor, and extend legs back.
2. Push your hips up to the sky, so you make a V shape. It doesn’t matter if your toes don’t touch the floor, just push your hips up as high as you can, inhaling and exhaling slowly.
3. Lower your legs, bringing your knees to the floor and rest your bum on your feet. Stretch out your back and arms into Child’s Pose for a few breaths, and then rise back into Downward Dog.
1. Begin in Downward Dog. Your knees should be right below your hips on the mat. Your hands should be slightly ahead of your shoulders.
2. Raise your right leg so it extends away from you. Slide it forward to the back of your right wrist. Angle your right shin under your torso and bring your right leg to the front of your left knee, behind your left hand. The outside of your right shin should now rest on the floor.
3. Slide your left leg back behind you. Straighten it and let the front of your thigh sit on the floor. Look behind you to make sure your left leg is extended straight behind you, not out to one side.
4. Exhale and lay your torso down over your right leg. Hold this pose for 4-5 breaths. Inhale and rise up. Bend your back leg and reach your opposite arm back. Take hold of the outside of your ankle. If this feels good, hold for 4-5 breaths. Lower and repeat this variation on the opposite side.