This Energizing Yoga Sequence Will Wake You Up Naturally
A huge cup of coffee might be your first move when you wake up wiped out, but yoga is an all-natural alternative that can keep you feeling energized and balanced all day long. After moving through this short sequence, you'll feel calm, focused, and invigorated — ready to take on whatever comes your way!
Child's Pose will ground you, relax you, and help you breathe easier all day. Try to find any places in your body that feel tense or tight, and do your best to release them with every breath.
- 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 10 long breaths.
Warm up your back and neck with a fluid Cat-Cow motion. Do your best to align each movement with your breath in order to get the most out of this energizing pose.
- Push up on to all fours from Child's Pose. Make sure your knees are under your hips and your wrists are under your shoulders. Begin in a neutral spine position, with your back flat and your abs engaged. Take a big, deep inhale.
- On the exhale, round your spine up toward the ceiling, and imagine you're pulling your belly button up toward your spine, really engaging your abs. Tuck your chin toward your chest, and let your neck release. This is your cat-like shape.
- On your inhale, arch your back, let your belly relax, and go loose. Lift your head and tailbone up toward the sky, without putting any unnecessary pressure on your neck. This is the Cow portion of the pose.
- Continue flowing back and forth from Cat Pose to Cow Pose, and connect your breath to each movement — inhale for Cow Pose, and exhale on Cat Pose.
- Repeat for 10 rounds.
Downward Facing Dog Pose
This morning, hold Downward Facing Dog for a little longer than you're used to (or you'd like!) in order to wake up your whole body.
- From Cat-Cow Pose, plant your hands on the floor, and step your feet back to 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. Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button. Hold for 10 deep breaths.
Standing Forward Bend
Standing Forward Bend is one of those poses I always turn to when I need a boost. If it feels nice, instead of placing your hands on the ground, grab your left elbow with your right hand and your right elbow with your left hand, and gently swing from left to right.
- Step or hop to the front of your mat from Downward Facing Dog. Inhale, rest your hands on your shins, and flatten your back and gaze slightly forward.
- As you exhale, engage your abs, and fold forward with a straight back. Tuck your chin in toward your chest, relax your shoulders, and extend the crown of your head toward the floor to create a long spine. Shift your weight forward onto your toes, straightening your legs as much as possible. Place your hands on the ground, with your fingertips lining up with your toes, or grab opposite elbows.
- Hold here for five breaths.
Set a strong intention for the rest of your day at the top of your mat. Breathe deep, relax, and smile. Take as much time as you need; 10 breaths will suffice, but if you can take a minute or two here, your whole day will feel brighter.
- From Standing Forward Bend, gently roll up to a standing position. Stand at the front of your mat, feet together, legs active, and arms by your sides. Close your eyes, and start breathing deep.
- If you choose, this is the time to take a moment to bring your awareness inward, to create an intention for your practice or to make a dedication. Stay for (at least) 10 breaths.