I’ve found that days are always more productive when they start with an energizing workout routine. Finding the right one to kick the day off with can be somewhat difficult, though. While you don’t want to tire yourself out before you’ve even had breakfast, you also don’t want to go too easy and miss out on strengthening your body.
After practicing Yoga over a decade, I’ve experimented with more than a few “morning” routines, to say the least. Instead of choosing one and running with it, I decided to dig deeper and develop a routine of my own that’s served me well over the years. Let me tell you, this routine saved the day on more than one occasion, especially on a few crack-of-dawn college mornings.
The main point of this series of yoga asanas is to stimulate the body while also toning the core, which in turn aids digestion and prepares the body for the day. It’s best performed after some light breathing meditation.
1. Begin in Mountain Pose (tadasana).
2. First, while balancing on your left leg, bring your right knee up to your check and hold it in place, while breathing evenly. Hold for twenty seconds and repeat with the other leg.
3. From Mountain Pose, enter slowly into Warrior II Pose (virabhadrasana), being aware of your body. Your movements should be slow, purposeful. Spend 30 to 45 seconds in this pose, return to Mountain pose, and enter Warrior II again, but with your legs reversed.
4. Return to Mountain Pose once again and bring your hands into anjali mudra (prayer gesture). Perform basic pranayama for around 2 minutes while in this pose.
5. Next, bend forward at the waist to perform a basic hamstring stretch. Make sure that your knees are not bent, but do not force yourself. Only go as far as your body will allow, nothing more. If you can touch your toes during this part of the exercise, do so. Hold this stretch for roughly a minute, all while breathing evenly.
6. From this position, plant your hands on the ground and slowly slide yourself into a plank. Hold the plank position for one minute, remembering to breathe slowly and evenly.
7. Next, lower yourself to the ground as if you were doing a pushup, and hold. Your hands should be planted on the ground at about shoulder-width apart. Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds.
8. Raise up into a plank once again and hold for another minute. Afterwards, bring your knees up to your chest and use your leg strength to raise to a standing position, with your hands in the anjali mudra.
9. From here, raise your hands all the way above your head, while still in anjali mudra. Your legs should be shoulder-width apart. Perform pranayama in this position for roughly two to three minutes. Visualize the air you are breathing in charging your entire body.
10. Finally, slide your legs out to roughly double shoulder-width, or until you begin to feel a comfortable stretch. Keep your hands raised above your head for another minute, then lower them into a relaxed position in front of your solar plexus. Keep the stretch for another two minutes. Breathe evenly, releasing any pent-up energy or stress in your body. Let yourself enjoy the moment and relax.
11. Return to Mountain Pose and perform another minute of pranayama before ending the routine.
This small routine is effective because it maximizes core stimulation without much physical exertion. That, combined with integrated pranayama creates a very energizing, calming effect. It’s especially perfect on cold mornings when you really don’t want to get out of bed. This routine can also act as the perfect intro for other, more complex routines.
Try it yourself and tell me what you think below!