Morning stretches are so vital to wake up. Especially as a lot of us have been working from home for an extended amount of time now. Slowly moving your body and gently warming up your muscles and joints after a 8-hour rest makes us feel so much awake. Since the pandemic, this is one of the one of the best change I have added my routine.
I have experienced difficulty to fully wake up. I love the idea of the embracing the crisp morning air and get things done, however starting my day on the right foot is a different story. In the past, I would have my morning commute for my body to slowly wake up . Morning stretches are now my way to get some gentle movement on a daily basis.
About this sequence
I have built the following sequence so it is very gentle, and can be easily practiced even if you have never done any yoga before. The sixteen poses below take approximately 2minutes to execute – I recommend practising 2 or 3 rounds of these so you can feel the full benefits of these stretches.
As a word of caution, the images that illustrate the sequence are for reference only – please listen to your body and feel free to modify any of the pose. Morning stretches can be a bit uncomfortable, but should not bring you pain.
I recommend using a yoga mattress or a folder blanket as an alternative.
The short sequence has been built using Yogidia, which is an amazing resource for fellow yoga teachers.
I have highlighted below the positions which are transitions from one to another:
- Let’s start gently: start in child’s pose position, focusing on your breath, with your forehead resting on your mat / or a cushion. For a more dynamic version of the pose, you can stretch your arms in front of you, pressing the palms onto the floor.
- Slowly rise and transition to a cross-legged position
- Butterfly pose: as you seat down, bring the sole of your feet together and gently wiggle your knees to awake the groin area. Bring your forehead towards your feet for a deeper stretch.
Waking up the spine
- Table top: bring your knees to your floor, and place your palms on the floor / on your mat. Make sure your shoulders are aligned with your hands and your back is parallel to the floor.
- Cat & Cow positions: As you inhale, drop your tailbone and raise your chin towards the ceiling. Conversely, exhale as you round your back (like a cat!) pushing the floor away with your palms.
- See above
- Table top position: see number 4.
- Downward facing dog – do not hesitate to bend your knees. Now is a good moment to stretch your calves as you pedal your feet.
- Slowly walk your feet towards your hangs, and let your upper body hand gently. You can either let your hands the floor or softly hold your elbows, gently wiggling side by side.
- Gently raise to standing position, unfolding one vertebra at a time. As you stand softly bring your hands together above your hands and lean toward your right side, stretching your left flank.
- Repeat on the other side, making sure you extend on an exhale.
- Slowly transition to a seated position with your legs in front of you. Gently try to reach for your toes (or your calves, or your thighs). Try to maintain a straight spine.
- This time, as you exhale try to reach forward while relaxing your spine (feel free to spend your knees)
- Happy baby pose: gently roll to your back and grab the soles of your feet (or your calves) and gently roll side to side.
- Butterfly pose: see first section, this time you might want to softly massage your feet with your hands.
- Seated Spine twist, as you seat down cross legs, gently bring your left knee closer to your chest whilst turning your chest toward the right. You should feel a stretch in your glute and spine.