Starting each morning in a calm and collected way is something we all surely aspire to conquer. Calling upon some gentle yoga poses first-thing is a fantastic way to tackle any feelings of stress and overwhelm, helping you to have a more peaceful day.
One of the very best things about yoga is that it can be used as a tool to serve a number of different purposes. On those days where you need to challenge your body, you can engage in a physically demanding practice. And, when you need to calm the mind instead, then you can flow through a gentle session that soothes those negative thoughts.
If you are not accustomed to doing yoga in the mornings, then embarking upon an early practice may take some getting used to.
Many people prefer to sleep as long as possible and then get straight into their day upon awakening. Whereas others feel better when they wake up earlier and ease into their day. If the latter sounds more like you, then you will likely find that a burst of yoga in the morning suits you quite well.
However, if you take longer to get going in the mornings, then you may be reluctant to give this a go!
Embracing Morning Yoga
If you are keen to find ways to start the day in a calmer and more peaceful way, then I urge you to adopt a morning yoga practice.
In order to get started, make a physical list of any reasons that you think this might be difficult, and then find resolutions to each of the points on your list.
For example, you may not feel as though you have time for yoga in the mornings. Simple solutions to this are to go to bed earlier so you can wake up earlier, or to put together a very short flow that you can do in under ten minutes. Remember, it's not the length of the session that should be seen as the most important, but rather the commitment to getting on the mat.
Click here for more help on sticking to your morning yoga practice!
It can be incredibly helpful to create a space in your home that is solely for your morning practice — although obviously space limitations may have to be considered here.
When you have a space that is already set up for your practice, then it becomes much easier to visualise yourself using it. This can be a great motivator for getting from bed to yoga mat on those mornings where you really don't want to get up!
Having this space set up will also encourage you to keep a chaos-free area that you can truly connect to, and feel peaceful in.
Gentle Yoga Poses
Choosing gentle yoga poses in the morning, instead of the more physically demanding ones, will help ease your body and mind into the day.
If you push yourself too hard in the mornings, then you may end up feeling as though you haven't done enough. This can end up having the opposite desired effect, and casting a shadow over your morning. However, with a gentle yoga practice you can feel energised and accomplished as you move into the rest of your day.
I am going to share two of my favourite morning yoga poses with you that are gentle and calming, as well as being energising. You may choose to put these together for a quick flow, or simply just master one at a time.
Reclined Spinal Twist Pose
One of my favourite things about this pose is that you can easily do it in your bed. Meaning you can get your yoga on without even stepping foot on the ground!
This pose gently lengthens the spine and gives your organs a kind of massage. Add to that, it stretches the upper back, shoulders, hips, and chest. If you give it a go then you will see for yourself that it is both energising and relaxing!
To enter this pose, start by lying comfortably on your back and then bend your knees into your chest. Allow your arms to rest out alongside the body, so that you are creating a T shape, with your palms facing up towards the ceiling.
Breathe in as you feel your pelvis push gently down, and then breathe out as you bring both knees over to the right side of your body. Turn your head to look to the left as you do so. Encourage your shoulders to push down into the mat (or mattress!) and continue to breathe deeply for five long breaths in and out.
After these five deep breaths — or more if you desire — gently return the knees to your chest, and then drop them down in the same way to repeat on the left.
This is a slightly more challenging pose that will require the abs to get involved to maintain balance. It is a fantastic way to wake yourself up!
To enter this pose, begin in a seated position on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Position your hands just behind your hips, with your fingers pointing down towards the feet.
Breathe in deeply, and then on your exhale push into the hands to lift the body, driving the chest upwards, and lean back gently, keeping your back as straight as possible.
Find a balance on your sitting bones as you breathe in, and then bend the knees on the exhale. Bring the feet off the floor and slowly straighten the legs, as you continue to breathe deeply, so that your toes are roughly level with your eyes — this is where you have to activate the abs!
Bring your arms out so that they are parallel to the floor and reach forwards through the fingers. If this feels too challenging, then you can hold onto the backs of your thighs instead.
Hold this pose for five deep breaths in and out if possible — or as many as you can comfortably maintain your form for. You can then slowly release your legs back down towards the ground and repeat if desired.
Developing Your Practice
These are just two of many gentle yoga poses that can be used to start your morning with the right foot forwards.
Making the extra effort to be creative with your morning yoga routine is a great way to keep things interesting, and therefore increase your chances of sticking to this life-changing habit!
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