Beginning the day with Yoga comes with many benefits—this sort of exercise can help you wake up, stretch your muscles and open up your body. Meanwhile, the meditation component of Yoga will help you stay calm and begin your day in the right frame of mind.
Traditionally, in India, Yoga is practiced every morning. It’s viewed as a way to give yogis clarity and make the rest of the day a more positive one. Ideally, if you start your day with Yoga, you’ll be able to deal with any problems that arise with a clear and balanced mind.
It’s certainly worth getting up that extra hour or half-hour earlier, as you’ll notice the benefits of your session throughout the whole day!
If you’re unsure about how to start your morning Yoga and meditation practice, follow the sequence below to give yourself a daily dose of energy and awareness.
Wake up the body
First, try loosening up your joints and activating your muscles with stretching asanas (poses). Some great asanas include tadasana (standing pose), urdhva hastasana (upward salute), uttanasana (forward fold) and arda uttanasana (half forward fold).
Ground your feet and press evenly through all four corners of the feet. Stretch your arms down towards the floor, and draw your abdominal muscles in and up. You’ll look as if you’re standing, but all of your muscles will be activated and in use! Hold this pose for five to eight breaths.
From Tadasana, lift your arms overhead and place your palms together to activate your triceps, while making sure that you keep your shoulders away from your ears. Keep your legs and abdominals engaged and take five to eight breaths in this position.
From a standing pose, flow down to touch your toes (if you can’t, get as close to them as possible!). If possible, you can hug your legs or fold your arms so that your upper body is flat against your lower body and legs. Be sure to bend your knees slightly so you don’t overextend them.
From a forward fold (uttasana), inhale and push your fingertips down into the floor, and then straighten your elbows. Lift the front of your torso away from your thighs so you’re positioned at a 90-degree angle. Following that, lengthen your torso and spine while looking forward.
Move on to vinyasas
The word “vinyasa” can be translated as “arranging something in a special way,” and a vinyasa flow is a sequence of poses that flow with the breath.
Once you and your body are feeling more awake and alert, you can move on from your basic asanas and start doing some Sun Salutations.
Sun Salutations, as described below, make up one of the oldest vinyasa flow practices. This sequence is designed to release tension, get the heart beating, increase circulation, enhance coordination and energize the spine. It can also bring balance to the two halves of the brain!
- From a standing pose, lean backward and breathe in.
- Fold forward and breathe out.
- Move into a forward lunge, with one knee touching the ground. Breathe in.
- Move into a plank.
- Bring your torso (only your torso, if you can) onto the ground and breathe out. Your bottom should still be up in the air!
- Move into a cobra pose (or baby cobra, for less advanced students), and breathe in.
- Move into a downward-facing dog, and breathe out.
- From downward-facing dog, move into a lunge (reverse your leg positioning from the third step) and breathe in.
- Move into a forward fold and breathe out.
- Finally, return to a standing pose and breathe in and out.
Sun Salutations can be modified, depending on your ability, so if you’d like to, you can get creative and build on this basic sequence.
End with a meditation
No morning Yoga practice is complete without meditation. Asanas (the poses) are only a small part of Yoga—traditionally, Yoga is mainly about meditation and awareness.
Meditation is becoming more and more popular as a tool for maintaining a healthy balance of dialogue between the mind and body. It’s a simple technique, and you can practice it nearly anywhere, at any time. It alleviates stress and, when practiced in the morning, it’ll start your day off well.
To begin meditating, it’s best to follow a guided meditation video or podcast.
If that’s not possible, then get into a comfortable position and simply become aware of your breath flowing in and out. You can even count each breath to keep yourself focused. Try to let your thoughts pass by, without giving attention to any of them, and focus only on the breath.
As a beginner, it’s best to meditate for just a couple of minutes at once, but after a few sessions, you can begin to gradually add to that time. Even if you don’t notice a difference right away, keep up your daily effort and the positive results will eventually reveal themselves.
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