Ditch the cup of joe and try these yoga poses to give you a boost in the morning. Some of them you can even do without leaving your bed!
This is a simple seated pose that can also be adapted to be done sitting in a chair if required.
Sit on the floor in a comfortable position, crossing the legs is a good place to start. Breathe in as you lengthen through the spine, think about someone pulling on a string attached to the crown of your head and sit tall. Place your right hand or fingertips on the floor behind you and your left hand on your knee. As you exhale, gently twist and look over your right shoulder. Hold for three to five breaths and repeat on the other side.
A lovely warm-up for the spine, you might want to use a blanket under the knees for this posture.
Start on hands and knees, making sure your wrists are directly below your shoulders and the knees are directly below your hip points. Begin by curling the toes under and dropping the belly low as you inhale. Tilt your pelvis, spread your sit bones and let the movement flow through your body ending with the gaze gently looking up. This is the ‘cow’ part of your pose.
Exhale to tuck your tailbone, round the spine and draw your belly button in. Drop your head and tuck your chin gently to the chest. Think about pressing out of the floor with the hands and pulling your shoulder blades away from one another.
Repeat this cycle three to five times.
Tipping the body upside down can be a great way to get the blood flowing and your day cranking. There are many different inversions, but today we’re talking you through a headstand (you can practice against a while till you build confidence).
Start on your knees and clasp the hands by interlacing the fingers. Place your forearms and hands on the floor in front of you, making sure your elbows are placed directly under the shoulders (no wider or narrower). This is your foundation!
You will then place the crown of your head on the ground. Your hands will very gently cup the back of your head. Be careful to place the very top (crown) of your head down to ensure you’re keeping the neck safe with proper alignment.
You’re now ready to go upside down!
Begin by tucking the toes and lifting the knees off the ground. Walk your feet towards your face and get as close as you can. We’re aiming to get the hips straight above the shoulders, neck and head. Don’t dump your weight through the head, only 10% should be through the head, the other 90% of your weight is held through your arms and shoulders.
If you’re comfortable, begin to lift a leg and bend the knee, drawing it into the chest. Once one knee is in at the chest begin leaning back and taking the other foot off the floor. Practice this on both sides.
Once you’re able to get both knees into the chest, practice holding this position. Only once you’re strong and comfortable in this position you can start to straighten both legs at the same time.
When it comes to lifting the legs, remember to keep the core engaged so you don’t make a “banana” back. Remember, we are stacking head, neck, shoulders, hips and feet in a vertical line. As you come down, return the knees into the chest position and slowly bring toes and feet to the floor from here.
Legs up the wall
A favourite of many yogis, legs up the wall can be done without even leaving the bed if your headboard allows!
Start seated and scoot one hip sideways towards the wall (or headboard). Once you’re sitting sideways against the wall, keep as close as you can while walking your hands behind you and swinging the legs up the wall. When you get the legs up you might need to scoot forward a little further to connect sit bones to the wall.
You can keep a bend in the knees if the hamstrings are feeling tight, or take a wide leg variation to stretch the inner legs.
This is a passive pose, so relax into it! Feel the upper body become heavier as you close the eyes and breath deeply.
Downward facing dog
A classic pose that is a whole body stretch – perfect to start your day right.
Begin on hands and knees. Tuck the toes under and lift the knees, taking the hips high. The hands will be about shoulder width apart, the feet will be hip-width apart and parallel to one another.
Press into all parts of the hands and fingers, not just the heels of the hands. Your sit bones will the be the highest point of the pose as you send your weight back through your heels. If the body is tight, it can feel good to keep a bend through the knees so you can drop the chest. There is no requirement for the heels to touch down to the mat, just keep them heavy.
To ‘test’ the length of your downward dog, move forward into a high plank with the shoulders over wrists on an inhale. You may need to walk the hands forward a little. Now, without moving hands or feet, shift back to downward dog on your exhale. This is your perfect down dog length!
Seated forward fold
Another pose you can do without leaving your bed!
Sit on the floor (or on the bed) with your legs long in front of you. Flex the feet, as if you were standing on them. Inhale to lengthen the spine and sit tall. Exhale as you fold forward from the hips. Catch a hold of the thighs, calves or feet. You could also use a strap (or towel) around the feet. Each inhale is an invitation to lengthen the spine and each exhale your opportunity to soften. Try not to curve the spine bringing the forehead down, instead focus on lengthening the back and bring your chin towards your shins.