Starting your day off on a peaceful note is one of the most beneficial practices you can have for your health and stress level. The energy and attitude you set in the morning will follow you throughout your day, making it important to develop a morning routine that works for your mind and body.
This sequence of stretches is a phenomenal way to slowly wake up your body and give it the care it deserves. It uses restorative yoga poses that awaken each part of your body in a flow that begins in your bed and eases you into an awakened and blissful state!
Do these stretches while focusing on a goal or intention for your day and see the difference that it makes in your mood! This is also a perfect time to get your oil pulling in (an ancient Ayurvedic tradition of swishing oil around in your mouth to detoxify and remove toxins)!
FULL BODY STRETCH
This stretch is super simple and is probably the natural pose your body takes in the morning already. Laying on your back, simply stretch your arms over your head as far as they can go while stretching your legs in the opposite direction. Your lower back will naturally have a slight arch as you do this. Do this until you are ready to move onto the next pose.
BENEFITS: Activates all muscles in the body, makes room for vital organs, and increase overall oxygen intake from expansion of the ribcage.
LEGS UP THE WALL POSE (VIPARITAKARANI)
If your bed is against a wall, simply scoot yourself to the side of the bed against the wall. Laying on your back, swing your legs up the wall and scoot so that your but and legs are touching the wall, with your feet above you. If this is too much, you can scoot back, or place a pillow or blanket under your but. Hold for 2-3 minutes.
BENEFITS: Regulates blood blow, improves digestion, restores/ stretches tired feet and legs, calms anxiety, relieves depression and insomnia, reduces back pain, and relieves headaches.
WALL STRADDLE (UPAVISHTA VIPARITAKARANI)
From the same position, simply allow your legs to begin to separate and slide down the wall into a straddle. If you want to make this a little more intense, place your hands on your inner thighs to help gravity pull them down a little more. Hold for 2-3 minutes.
BENEFITS: Opens hip flexors, deeply stretches the thighs, sends energy to the sex organs.
MODIFIED DOWNWARD DOG (ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA)
Now it’s time to put our feet on the floor! Turn around to face your bed and place your palms and forearms on the bed. Slowly move your hips back until your back is flat and relax here for a minute or so, bending each knee if that feels good.
BENEFITS: Calms the nervous system, relieves stress and depressoin, energizes the entire body, increases flexbility in shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands.
FORWARD BEND (UTTANASANA)
From modified downward dog, slowly walk your hands to the floor into a forward fold. Allow your head to hang heavy like a rag doll and bend your knees from side to side, stretching your legs. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute!
BENEFITS: Lengthens hamstrings, calves, and back, relieves stress in neck and shoulders, calms mind, increases blood flow to head and brain.
REVOLVED STANDING FORWARD BEND (PARIVRTTA UTTANASANA)
From forward bend, place your right hand on the ground, bending your right knee while keeping your left leg straight. Slowly turn your torso to the left allowing your left arm to drift up with your gaze following. Make sure to engage your shoulder blades and arms in this pose. You should feel a stretch in your spine and IT band. Repeat on each side for 30 seconds.
BENEFITS: Stretches the entire back body and sides of the waist, stimulates abdominal organs, increases spine flexibility, improves digestion, reduces fatigue and anxiety.
CAT AND COW POSE (MARJARYASANA AND BITILASANA)
From forward bend, move to a table position with knees below hips and wrists below shoulders. From this position, inhale into cow by lifting the sternum and allowing the belly to drop towards the floor (with abdomen still engaged). From cow, exhale into cat, pulling the belly button towards the spine and the crown of the head towards the ground. Repeat 5 to 10 times!
**THIS IS A GREAT PLACE TO ADD IN WRIST AND FOOT/ANKLE STRETCHES!
FISH POSE (MATSYASANA)
This is the final pose because it is a heart opener, allowing you to really focus in on the positive intention you want to set for the day. I like to imagine energy and love being awakened in my body and flowing freely in this pose! Begin by lying on your back with your hands by your side. Then, slide your hands underneath your but with your forearms pressing against the ground to peel your shoulder blades back and allow your spine to arch, including your head (your neck is an extension of your spine!).
BENEFITS: Eases tension, increases spinal flexbility, heart opening!