Do you feel exhausted and suffer from stiff muscles and joints in the mornings? If you answered “yes,” you might be ready to shake up your morning routine with a new addition — yoga. Yoga is a popular activity for people of all ages and athletic backgrounds, and it can help you balance your mind, body and spirit.
How Can It Help My Body?
Many individuals suffer from hectic schedules and a lack of sleep that lead to stress and tension in the body. Fortunately, practicing a few yoga poses every morning can help ease any tension in your body, so you start the day off on the right foot.
While people often associate yoga with relaxation, there are many other benefits as well. Yoga is known to increase flexibility, build strength, correct posture, regulate breathing, decrease stress and foster balance in the human body.
It’s best for those who are new to yoga to start with simple poses. Here are four excellent poses that you can do each morning, in the comfort of your own home.
- Cat-Cow Pose
To practice this pose, first, get down on all fours. As you inhale, look up at the ceiling and arch your back so your stomach drops closer to the floor. Then, exhale as you look down, rounding your back like a cat. Alternate these motions for 1-2 minutes before moving on to the next pose.
- Downward Dog
For this pose, start with your hands and knees on the ground. Next, straighten your arms and legs, lifting your tailbone toward the ceiling, so your body is shaped like an upside down “V.” Eventually, the goal is to keep your heels on the ground, to ensure that you get the full stretch. If you are first starting your yoga practice, however, it is okay if your heels lift slightly off the ground. Slowly breathe in and out while holding your position for 30 to 60 seconds before you release it.
- Warrior One
For this pose, take one giant step forward with one leg. Then, bend the same knee, so your quadricep muscle is parallel to the floor. Your other leg will be stretched out behind you, with the bottom of your foot placed firmly on the floor. Raise your straight arms above you (so your fingertips point toward the ceiling) and look up at the ceiling. Make sure to relax your shoulders down your back, so they are not hunched up, toward your ears. After taking a full inhalation and exhalation, repeat the pose on the other side.
- Tree Pose
While standing straight, place one foot on the inner thigh of your other leg. If you have difficulty balancing at first, you can place your foot on your inner calf. Over time, your balance will improve, and you will be able to put your foot on your inner thigh. Remember to hold your hands together (with your palms touching), at your heart center, in a prayer pose. Try to hold this pose for 1-2 minutes. Don’t forget to breathe while doing so!
If you have any questions about these poses or would like to take your yoga practice to the next level, contact your yoga instructor or local studio.