Do you know that yoga can fit into the smallest corners of your life effortlessly? While learning from a teacher cannot be replaced, one can learn to integrate small pockets of practice throughout the week. And guess what? It takes only 5 to 10 minutes of your day at best.
There are many days when I am slammed with group yoga classes, private yoga sessions, and yoga studio work, and simply cannot find the time and space to do an elaborate yoga practice. On such days, I make peace with a 10-20 minute practice consisting of the most essential poses that keep my health, flexibility, and strength running optimally. Here are my top 5 yoga poses to help kick-start your morning, or provide a pick-me-up throughout even your busiest of days!
Surya Namaskar /Sun Salutations
Sun salutations are a series of yoga poses linked together in a pre-set order. These are great to kickstart your mornings as you end up doing 12 poses each time instead of one. This gets the heart pumping, blood circulating, stretches the muscles of the body, and keeps the joints and spine healthy and strong! It also gets the breath moving more rhythmically with your body movements, building energy and calming the mind to start your day off strong. Watch video here…
Trikonasana / Triangle Pose
I recommend doing one (or more) standing poses to help stretch the hips and hamstrings, especially if you work a sedentary job. This will help protect your lower back throughout the day, while building strength and opening the body. I suggest trikonasana, as it does an exceptional job of doing this; however, virabhadrasana II (warrior II), or utthita parsvakonasana (side angle pose), are also great options! Do all three for a dynamic trio!
Kapotasana / Pigeon Pose
I love this pose because of how it stretches the glutes, hips, and quadriceps – large muscles that come under strain when we sit for extended periods, drive long hours, or have bad posture. Kapotasana will also open the chest, stretch the lungs, and facilitate better circulation of breath – a natural mood enhancer!
Supta Padangushtasana / Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe-Pose
Since this is early morning yoga, the hamstrings will be tight. Since most of the muscles in the legs are large, stretching this out before you start your day is key! Use a yoga strap to get full extension of your leg and hold for a good amount of time so the stretch can take effect. Note: I would do this even before sun salutations on days when my hamstrings are very tight. (Read full post here)
Sarvangasana / Shoulder Stand
While I am suggesting shoulder stand – the Queen of all asanas – any inversion will do, and is a must! The brain works very hard all day long and by going upside down the whole system is fueled. While the benefits of inversions are plenty (read here), you will walk away feeling energized, calm, and ready for your day ahead!
After moving through these poses, focus fully on taking deep long breaths in a 1-2 minute savasana / corpse pose to allow your body to reap the full benefits of your practice!
There it is – the entire sequence should take you no more than 10 minutes. We challenge you to try this 3 times a week for 3 weeks and you will be amazed at the results. Who’s ready for these yoga poses to kickstart your morning?