Getting momentum in the morning can be difficult. But studies show that moving in the morning can improve circulation and your mood. You can sharpen your focus for the day by simply setting aside some time to wake up your body. Starting your day mindfully can help you prepare for a busy day. Try these seven mindful morning movements as a sequence or pick your favorite ones! Feel free to use a blanket, a chair, blocks or books to make your practice more comfortable.
Always talk to your doctor before starting a new fitness routine. If you feel pain at any point, feel free to stop and adjust to something more comfortable. If you feel discomfort, come out of the pose.
Floor or mat: Bring your hands and knees to the floor so that your hips are over your knees. Make sure your shoulders are right over your wrists.
Chair: If you are sitting in a chair, straighten your lower back and bring your hands to your knees. Separate your knees hip-width apart.
Inhale and arch your back. Squeeze your shoulder blades together behind you. If it is comfortable, you may tilt your head back. When you are ready to exhale, roll your shoulders forward and bring your chin to your chest. Create more space between your shoulder blades.
Repeat this inhale-exhale cycle four or five times.
Floor or mat: Bring your big toes together. You can separate your knees or bring them together. As you exhale, bring your hips to meet your feet and rest your head on the mat or floor. If your head cannot reach the floor, feel free to use a pillow, blanket or block. You can outstretch your arms in front of you, or they can rest by your side.
Chair: From an upright position, take a deep breath in and straighten your lower back. When you exhale, lead with your chest and bend forward. Only go as far as is comfortable. Rest your head on your knees. If your head does not reach your knees, feel free to use a pillow, blanket or block. Let your arms rest beside your legs.
Stay in this pose for three or four breaths.
Sphinx or Upward Dog
Floor or mat: Lay on your stomach. Bring your elbows right under your shoulders and support yourself on your forearms. If the stretch is too intense, angle your elbows outwardly and bring your hands closer together. For a deeper stretch, press into your hands to push your upper body farther away from the floor. If it feels good, straighten your arms more and flex your thigh muscles for upward dog.
Chair: Place the soles of your feet on the floor and your hands on your knees. Scoot forward one or two inches and place your hands behind you in the chair. Push your chest forward. If it feels good, tilt your head back slightly. Only go as far back as is comfortable. For a deeper stretch, lengthen your legs out in front of you.
Stay in this pose for three or four breaths.
Balancing Table Top
Floor or mat: Bring your hands and knees to the floor so that your hips are over your knees. Make sure your shoulders are right over your wrists. Feel free to place a blanket under your knees if you notice pain there. When you feel stable, engage your ab muscles. Breathe in and stretch your left arm forward and your right leg backward. Breathe out and bring your hands and knees back to the floor. On your next breath in, extend your right arm forward and your left leg backward.
Chair: Sit tall with both feet on the ground. Flex your ab muscles. Breathe in and reach your left arm up and kick your right leg forward. Breathe out and relax your arm and leg. On your next breath in, raise your right arm and kick your left leg forward.
Repeat this cycle four or five times.
Floor or mat: From your hands and knees, tuck in your toes. Breathe in and make sure your fingertips are pointed at a slight angle outward. When you feel steady, exhale and flex your abs. Push your hips toward the ceiling and keep your elbows slightly bent. You may keep your knees bent. There is no need to straighten your legs unless it feels comfortable. If this pose is too difficult, feel free to return to child pose. You can use a block or books to keep yourself steady.
Sitting in a chair: In an upright position, engage your abs and lean forward slightly. Only go as far as feels steady. Outstretch your arms with your palms facing forward. For a more intense stretch, lengthen your legs in front of you with your heels touching the ground.
Using a chair as support: Stand behind a firmly rooted chair and grab the back. Inhale and walk back a step or two. Exhale and bend forward. Keep your abs engaged and your lower back straight.
Floor or mat: Sit with your legs outstretched in front of you. You can place a blanket or pillow under your knees, or keep your knees slightly bent for added comfort. You can also place a blanket or pillow underneath your tailbone. Breathe in and bring the sole of your right foot to the ground. Wrap your left arm around your right knee and look over your right shoulder. Stay in this pose for one or two breaths before switching sides.
Chair: Plant both feet firmly on the ground. Lengthen your lower back. Breathe in and place your left arm on your right knee. Place your right hand behind you and look over your right shoulder. Stay in this pose for one or two breaths before switching sides.
Half Reverse Pigeon
Floor or mat: Lie back and rest the soles of both feet on the ground. You can place a blanket under your tailbone or a block under your feet for added support. When you are ready, bring your right ankle to your left knee. You can stay here, or you can pull your left leg toward you with your hands for a deeper stretch. Stay here for three or four breaths before switching sides.
Chair: Rest the soles of both feet on the ground. Sit tall. When you are ready, bring your right ankle to your left knee. You can stay here, or you can lean forward for a deeper stretch. Stay here for three or four breaths before switching sides.