What if there was a way to start your day feeling energized and alert that DIDN’T involve large amounts of caffeine? Or any artificial stimulant, for that matter? Forget about gulping down liquid energy; you can achieve even better results with the ancient practice of yoga. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to incorporate a brief yoga session into your morning routine, and you don’t need any special equipment, knowledge or athletic ability to perform the following positions – each of which... is especially helpful to get you up and get you going. So put down that venti caffè latte or Red Bull, and instead, chase away morning brain fog, grumpiness and stiffness with these seven easy yoga poses that help to gently awaken your body and mind. Hold each position for 10 to 60 seconds before smoothly moving to the next pose.
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The most basic of the standing yoga poses, the mountain pose helps ground your mind while balancing and strengthening your body.
- Start by standing up straight with your feet together and your arms down by your sides. Balance your weight evenly over both feet, without leaning in any direction, slouching or swaying your back.
- Stretch your toes up and out, then release. Rock slightly from side to side, and then come to a neutral standing position.
- Lift your arms up so that your hands point towards the... ceiling. Keep your eyes gazing forward – don’t bend your neck.
- Bring your arms down to the center of your chest and press your hands together in a position of prayer.
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Wake up your inner legs and hamstrings while increasing blood flow to your brain with the forward fold.
- Start in a standing position with feet together.
- Loosen your knees slightly, and then bend forward from the waist until your hands are on the ground near your heels. If you cannot reach the ground comfortably, then bend your knees until your hands rest on the ground.
- Keep your back straight, not rounded or arched.
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Downward dog stretches and strengthens your entire body while relaxing your mind. It’s also a good wakeup call to your digestive system.
- Begin on your hands and knees. Your hands should be right below your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips.
- Tuck in your toes, and then begin lifting your knees off the floor. Imagine your pelvis rising straight towards the ceiling, lifting your body into a triangular position.
- Don’t lock your knees or elbows. Your hands should be pointing forward... just in front of your head with fingers spread. Let your head relax, but keep your gaze focused between your legs to avoid neck strain.
- Your back, arms and legs should remain straight. Watch out for arching, bending or sagging.
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Give your entire body a nice stretch, especially your back, with the child’s pose. This position allows you to gather your thoughts and energies for the day ahead.
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- Start in a kneeling position with your rear end over your folded legs.
- Stretch your arms forward until your forehead touches the floor and your stomach rests on top of your folded legs. You should feel a gentle stretch through your spine, but no discomfort.
- If this position is not comfortable for you, an alternative is to keep your arms... down against your sides with your palms up.
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Here’s a pose that gives your internal organs a gentle massage, preparing them for the day ahead. It also helps relieve back pain and stiffness.
Start off on your hands and knees, with wrists aligned with your shoulders and knees aligned with your hips. Your back should be straight, no sagging or arching.
Take a breath, and as you release it, round your back up towards the ceiling like an angry cat. Imagine your bellybutton pulling in towards your spine. Tuck your chin in to your chest.
As you... inhale, drop your back to a slightly sagged position. Lift your head and rear end up. Now you’re in the cow portion of the pose.
Continue to alternate between the two positions with each inhale and exhale.
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Stretch and strengthen your entire body while revving up your balance and focus with warrior 1.
- Begin in mountain pose; then stretch your left foot back so that you are in a lunge position. Angle your left foot into an almost sideways stance.
- As you inhale, bring both arms upwards to reach towards the ceiling. Depending on your comfort level, you can have your palms together or your hands slightly apart.
- If needed, move your legs further apart to hold the pose, but keep your right knee at a... 90-degree angle. Bend your spine slightly, but don’t let your back arch too far or your hips or shoulders sag.
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Improve your stamina to face your busy day with warrior 2. It’s also good for strengthening your legs and relieving back pain.
- Start with your legs in the warrior 1 position. Your right hip should be aligned with your right thigh, so that your torso is sideways, not facing forward.
- Lift your arms to shoulder level, with the right arm straight forward and the left arm straight back. Gaze straight ahead over your right hand.
- Keep your spine straight and your head erect.
- Reverse the position to repeat... on the opposite side.