5 Refreshing Morning Yoga Postures (And a Bonus!)

yoga on the beach

Do you like to begin your day right? If so, then you’ve probably found yoga to be an essential part of your morning routine. While experimentation is great, sometimes it’s easier to just see what works for other people. Read on and we’ll go over some of the best morning yoga postures, and even include a bonus!

1. Cat/Cow Pose

Simple, if not entirely elegant, the cat/cow pose allows you to flex your spine in a way to ready yourself for the day. It’s great for releasing tension from the back. It’s one of the fundamental asanas of Hatha yoga, and few are too inexperienced to figure it out.

The pose itself is simple. Kneel on the floor, then stretch out on hands-and-knees, pressing into the floor with your hands. Then alternately round and arch your back, breathing deeply the entire time. Do this for roughly 30 repetitions, or a minute of alternating.

This pose opens the spine without unduly stressing it in either direction. It’s a perfect way to begin the day, particularly if your job has your desk-bound.

2. Sitting Side Bends

The Sitting Side Bend is another of those poses that work well in the morning, regardless of how advanced you are. The end effect is relaxation and stretching of the muscles in the lower back and the sides of the core, loosening your entire trunk from the neck down.

They’re simple to perform. Sit on the ground, either crisscross or in Full Lotus if you are capable. Then, reach overhead with one arm while inhaling deeply. Extend as you exhale, keeping your trunk forward while leaning to the side. Repeat on the other side and do so for a minute or so. Remember to sync with your breathing for the best results.

It’s a non-invasive way to help your shoulders, obliques, and even your middle back to get a good warming up first thing in the morning. For that reason, it’s recommended for everyone, although it’s those who spend most of their time sitting that will benefit the most.

3. Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose is another of the classic, simple poses which many people find helpful throughout the day. During this pose you’ll lengthen the spine and relax the shoulders, helping with overall suppleness in your body.

The pose itself is quite simple. From your knees, fold your trunk forward until you’re touching the ground with your hands extended ahead of you. Then just breathe deeply in and out while your body relaxes.

While it may not be the best pose for before your morning coffee, it’s the little things that count. The theme for mornings is always in gently stretching muscles that will remain stiff for much of the day, and the Child’s Pose does an excellent job in that regard.

4. Forward Fold

The Forward Fold, contrary to the previous poses, isn’t always very relaxing. That said, most people in the modern world suffer from imbalances in their back and hamstrings that it will remedy… given the time and dedication needed to advance in the pose.

The basics are simple: you’ll fold forward from the waist with your knees just shy of being locked. Reach for the floor, or behind your feet if that’s too easy. Maintain deep breaths at the bottom, pushing ever so slightly until you feel further tension as you relax more. Come up slowly, preferably while inhaling, to avoid a headrush.

While uncomfortable at first, think of the Forward Fold as preventative medicine for your back and legs. It gets easier with time, and you’ll be surprised at its effect on the overall spryness of your body.

5. Chair Pose

Another uncomfortable pose, another challenge to make the rest of the day go by easier. The chair pose engages muscles in the core and legs, creating a solid pose that will help wake you up and prepare you for the day. It also takes time to get used to, so increase the amount of time you’re doing the pose carefully.

The pose itself is deceptively simple, almost alluring. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and raise your hands over your head. Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground, control your breathing, and remain in the pose for thirty seconds to a minute. You can use a wall if you’re a beginner and have trouble with the pose initially.

The Chair Pose activates several large muscles without requiring a lot of resistance, creating an overall invigorating effect in the body. Given time, it also helps to stabilize the core and legs overall and create a solid platform for another asana.

Bonus-Sun Salutations

While the above suggestions are great, there’s one thing we’ve left out: the designated morning routine of the Hatha yoga tradition.

The Sun Salutation series of poses is crafted to be a way to wake up, ideally performed outdoors during first light. Of course, at 11 am in your pyjamas is fine as well if that’s your morning!

Sun Salutations are quite simple and intended to be repeated 10 times on each side for a total of 20 repetitions of the poses. Ideally, you’ll also sync your breathing during this series as well.

The poses are as follows:

  • Mountain Pose
  • Upward Salute
  • Standing Forward Bend
  • Low Lunge (on the right or left side)
  • Plank Pose
  • Four-Limbed Staff Pose
  • Cobra Pose
  • Downward Facing Dog
  • Low Lunge (stepping forward with previous rear leg)
  • Upward Salute
  • Mountain Pose

This circular series of poses is quite easy once you get your mind wrapped around it. You may want to start with fewer repetitions than recommended to let your body get used to it as well.

Combined with a few specialized poses just for you… well, this can make every morning a fresh one as you get up and get moving with your routine.

Conclusion

There are many, many different poses that can be quite refreshing in the morning. The above should be of use to just about everyone, however, and if you engage in them regularly, you’ll find some impressive progress to be made.

So, start planning for your new morning routine!

Isabel is an avid yoga practitioner, who loves travelling, living life to the fullest, and cats. She loves living healthy and inspiring others to be the best they can be. When she's not performing her asanas or writing, you can find her at exquisite wine tastings around the world.
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