Imagine starting the day calm, cool, collected, and energized — from a method beyond caffeine! Whether you're new to the world of yoga or you have a consistent practice, these five asanas are ideal ways to start the day.
- Begin standing with your feet hips-width-distance apart. Engage your abs by drawing your navel toward your spine.
- Bring your arms behind you, and interlace your fingers right below your sacrum (back of your pelvis). If you can, press the heels of your palms together in a kind of double fist. Actively pull your hands away from your shoulders to increase the stretch in your chest.
- From here, lean your chest forward and lift your hands up overhead as you fold your torso toward your thighs. If you're only concerned with feeling this stretch in your chest and shoulders, then keep your knees bent. To bring this stretch into your hamstrings and lower back, straighten your legs. Make sure you're lengthening through your spine by reaching the top of your head toward the floor.
- Stay like this for at least 30 seconds, and when you're ready to come out, actively press into your feet, engage your thighs, and slowly lift your torso back up to a standing position.
- Begin on your hands and knees. Your wrists should be underneath your shoulders, and your knees underneath your hips.
- Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale to lift your hips, coming into an upside-down V shape called Downward Facing Dog.
- Spread your fingers wide and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Your heels should be slightly wider than your toes so the outside edges of your feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat. Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button. Hold for at least five breaths.
- Begin in Warrior 1 with your right knee forward, lower your torso, and lift your left leg, bringing your body parallel with the ground.
- Extend your hands out in front of you, pressing your palms together firmly. If it bothers your shoulders to press your hands together, then separate your arms so they're shoulder-width apart. If extending your arms creates pain or pressure in your lower back, then rest your hands on your hips.
- Engage your abs, holding this position for five deep breaths. Then lower your left leg, returning to Warrior 1. Release your hands to the mat and come into a quick Downward Dog. Step your left leg forward, coming into Warrior 1.
- Repeat Warrior 3 on the left side.
See the remaining poses after the break!
- Lie on your belly. Bend your knees and hold onto the outside edge of your right ankle and then your left. Once you have a firm hold of each ankle, try to keep your toes together, either pointing or flexing your feet.
- Lift your feet up as high as you can, and shift your weight forward so you're resting on your naval instead of on your pubic bone.
- Hold for five deep breaths, and then slowly release.
- Kneel on your mat with your knees hips-width-distance apart and your big toes touching behind you. Take a deep breath in and, as you exhale, lay your torso over your thighs. Try to lengthen your neck and spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders.
- Rest your arms beside your legs, with palms facing up, or try extending your arms out in front of you.
- Stay here for five breaths.