Best Yoga Poses for the Morning

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Are You Looking for Yoga for the Morning? 

Practicing yoga at any time of the day can be so helpful, but did you know that there are specific benefits to practicing in the morning? Not only does yoga in the morning keep you awake and energized as you start your day, but it helps to relieve any pain or tension that may have built up from the night before. There is a reason that there is a specific yoga practice known as Sun Salutations that many do first thing in the morning. The linked poses actually keep the body moving and the blood pumping as you “salute” the sun. Many people practice right when they wake up. Even if the practice focuses mostly on meditation with very gentle, slow stretches, you would still be doing yoga. 

5 Best Yoga Poses for the Morning

1. Forward Fold- While this pose is one of the more gentle ones, it is a great way to stretch out the lower back and send blood towards the head, making you feel more awake and prepared for your day ahead. To do this pose, step the feet about hip-width distance apart in mountain pose. From here, inhale and bring your arms to the sky as you stretch through the back of the body and engage the core. As you exhale, fold forwards. You can either reach for the toes or just let yourself hang here. You can also grab onto your opposite elbows with your hands and gently rock side to side. You can hold this for as long as you would like or at least for five breaths. If you can not reach your toes and do not want to swing side to side here, you can gently rest your hands on your thighs or shins (not your knees) or you can use two blocks here to reach the hands towards, bringing the ground closer to you.

2. Cat/Cow- Though these poses are veyr gentle, they are great for stretching out the back and relieving pain in the back of the body first thing in the morning. If you wake up sore, this is a great stretch for you. To do this pose, start on the hands and knees on your mat. If the knees are sore here, you can roll up the edge of your mat beneath them, or you can place a pad or pillow underneath them. On the inhale, arch your back and look up to the sky, pressing into your hands. As you exhale, round your back and tuck your chin to your chest. Continue this at your own pace, slowing the movement as you deepend the breath, and repeating as many times as you would like. If you find that being on the hands and knees is too intense, feel free to sit in a chair and bring the hands to the legs, arching your back with each inhale and looking up to the sky, and rounding your back with each exhale to tuck your chin to your chest.

3. Chair Pose- If you are looking to strengthen your legs and energize your body first thing in the morning, this pose is a great option for you. To do this pose, start with the feet hip-width distance apart. On an inhale, bring your arms up at a diagonal, engaging the arm muscles to hold you in place. As you exhale, bend into your knees, dropping your hips back as if you are sitting into a chair. From here, breathe into the pose, using your core and thigh strength to support you. Hold for at least five breaths and then inhale to come up. You also have the option to use a block between the thighs here for more traction, or you can hold onto a chair or use a wall for support here.

4. Downward Facing Dog- This is a very popular yoga pose and is great for sending blood towards the head while engaging the muscles of the arms, legs, core, and back. To do this pose. Start on the hands and knees and, on an inhale, tuck your toes under. On an exhale, press into the hands to lift the knees up, pressing the hips back and away. Make sure to keep your spine long here, even if you need to bend into the knees to do so. Engage the core as you continue to press down through the hands, and create a straight line from the hips to the top of the head. If you have to round the back here, bend the knees further and do not worry about bringing the feet to the ground. If this pose is too intense, a variation would be to use a chair to bring the hands on so that you are not folding as far forwards. You can also use blocks here if you need to rest your hands on. FInally, you can place a block between the thighs, squeezing the legs together to help engage your glutes, core, and thigh muscles.

5. Lizard Pose- Doing gentle lunges in the morning is a great way to engage the muscles of the legs and core while opening up the hips. To do a lizard pose, start in downward facing dog and inhale to step one foot forwards between the hands, bending into that front knee. As you exhale, you can either keep the back toes tucked here, or you can drop the knee to the ground. You have the option of bringing the forearms to the ground or staying on the hands depending on what feels best for you. Just make sure to keep the spine long. For a variation of this pose, to bring in a twist, feel free to bend the back knee and bring the foot up. From here, reach the hand from the opposite side around and towards the back foot. You can either grab onto your foot here or use a strap if you need extra support. You can see how to do this pose below.

5 best Yoga Routines That Are All Less Than 5 Minutes Long to Help You Establish a Daily Morning Habit

Now, let’s take a look at some yoga routines that you can try in the morning that are less than five minutes. You do not have to have an hour long practice to start your morning off right. Taking your time to work your way up to a longer practice can be key for those who are overwhelmed by the idea of a longer morning class right off the bat. You can also switch off the routines each day to give your body different stretches throughout your week.

The following are five Body By Yoga practices that are less than, or around, five minutes that you can do first thing in the morning to establish daily habits.

1. Wake Up with Child’s Pose to Cat Cow- This two minute yoga series is a great way to relax first thing in the morning while also waking up the body and strengthening the core and spine. If you are looking to relieve back pain and find some time to relax before starting your day, this practice would be a great option for you. Check it out below.

2. Plank and Wild Thing Sequence to Build a Better Morning Habit- The next Body By Yoga sequence is less than three minutes long, but it walks you through an energizing practice that involves a plank pose, wild thing, and even a quick cobra pose at the end. Doing this sequence a few times, or even just once on each side, is a great way to begin your morning practice and feel more awake. Check it out below. 

3. Yoga Abs Warmup for Beginners Core Strength- This two minute morning practice is a great way to strengthen your abs and get your core working first thing in the morning. This practice is specifically designed for getting your day started right and keeping you energized. You can check this practice out below.

4. High Lunge Morning Twist- This is another sequence for beginners looking to begin a morning practice. This is a great way to work on legs and core strength as well as adding some twists for detoxification. Check out this practice below.

5. Reclined Dynamic Twists for Core Strength and Back Pain- If you are looking to both strengthen the core and relieve pain in the back, this is a great practice for you. Specifically designed to do first thing in the morning, this one minute yoga sequence involves reclining twists that require use of the core. You can practice this once or multiple times in a row depending on what you are looking for. Check it out below.

Best Body By Yoga Programs for the Morning

Are you ready to start your morning yoga practice? If so, we have many routines and practices that can help you. To check out our free fifteen minute morning yoga routine– Yoga Rise–click here!

Rise-1 morning yoga

In addition, we offer a practice called Yoga Charge. This practice has yoga for the morning as well as yoga for the evening. It includes three morning routines, one power yoga routine, two routines for winding down in the evening, and one pre-bed routine for right before you go to sleep. Ready to check it out? Click here!

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Iyengar, B. K. S. (1965). Light on yoga: Yoga dipika. London: Allen & Unwin.

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