7 Simple morning yoga poses that will make you active
Author credit Lydia Mattern
If you're not a morning person then you'd have a hard time figuring out why the Ashtangis get up at 5 a.m. to do yoga. Yoga is magical and healing and when performed first thing in the morning, it fills you with energy and grace, allowing you to delve deeper into your inner self to find balance, stability, and peace.
Do I have to do it at 5 am?
The good thing about yoga is that it's beneficial no matter what time you do it. The most important thing is your intent and the focus with which you approach each sequence. Taking an hour-long meditation class would be ideal for a lot of people but the truth is not many people have the time - which brings us to early morning yoga. If you're wondering how this helps you, check out the following:
a) It gives you better focus on the day ahead. Yoga brings about a sense of
awakening as your mind becomes unstuck from the normal stuff that keeps you preoccupied all day. A ten-minute session every morning will get you ready to concentrate and will make you more aware.
b) It boosts your energy levels. When you move your body and hold those poses, you basically force the body to generate more energy - and this leaves you feeling more vibrant and full of life.
c) Lower stress levels - this is crucial for maintaining a healthy balance in life. Yoga will make you feel more relaxed and give you a powerful tool to vent when you're feeling stressed out.
d) Tone up your body. Not only will you be able to enjoy a few extra calories, but your body shape will start to change, taking on a more supple, toned figure. Your back will get stronger, your arms more defined, and legs will get thinner. Sounds cool right?
Whether you're new to yoga or have tried it before, these simple poses will make a big difference in your life.
1. Sun salutations
Sun salutations are great for stretching and flexing the entire body, and they tone your muscles to give you a leaner, firmer body. There are many variations of sun salutations. To start off you can try the mountain salutation: stand with slightly apart, and press your palms together like in a prayer position. Fix your thumbs on your sternum, and take deep breaths.
Another variation is known as the upward salute. Sweep both arms out to the sides and overhead and arch your back gently as you gaze toward the sky. Find other creative ways to do sun salutations for added benefits.
2. Forward Fold
With your upper body relaxed and your knees slightly bent, exhale and fold forward at the hips. Let your knees bend and hang your head heavily. This will cause your spine to stretch and your legs will get a workout, allowing more blood and oxygen to flow in.
Get into a tabletop position and put both wrists directly under the shoulders with your knees beneath your hips. From this position, press your palms into the mat to broaden your shoulder blades.
Inhale deeply and look forward, and tuck the chin as you exhale. Keep your tailbone glued to the floor and continue with this movement for a few minutes. ideally, you should be doing something similar to a cat yoga pose.
4. Tree Pose
Stand firmly with your feet hip-wide, and spread your toes wide to give yourself a more solid stance. Bring both hands to your hips, and inhale as you bring one leg up, placing your foot on your thigh. Feel your core as you do this, and do your best to balance as you stretch your arms to the sky. Do this with each leg.
5. Triangle Pose
Assume a standing position and widen your leg stance. With your arms parallel to the ground, turn your right foot to face the side, and keep your heel aligned with your foot's center arch. Try to reach out to the side until you hit a limit, and then pivot your arms and do it in the opposite direction.
6. Side Stretch
Stretch your arms up straight and bend your back slightly so your entire body feels elongated. Inhale and hold for a second, and as you exhale, slide down one hand and keep the other hand raised. Relax your neck and head and aim for a deeper stretch of your core and side body, making sure to inhale slowly and exhale to the opposite side.
7. Low Lunge
From a kneeling position, with your left foot forward and your right leg kneeling, lift your hands up above your head and stretch forward so that your right leg stretches behind you, and lean forward into your left foot. Hold your palms together tightly and breathe, and then repeat it with the other leg.
Lydia Mattern, NASM Certified Personal Trainer
Lydia is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer at fitnessgoals, with a passion for writing and a love for chocolate. She enjoys long walks with a breeze and finding ways to make dessert healthy.