May 4, 2015
AN UNDER-5 MINUTE YOGA ROUTINE TO WAKE YOU UP
Start off the day by finding your center.
When the 6 A.M. wakeup struggle starts, yoga might not feel like the ideal way get amped for the day so much as blindly stumbling towards the coffee maker, stat, does. But in truth, the right poses can be quite energizing for the mind and body—and gentle, so you can actually transition to alert mode without forcing yourself to go from zero to a caffeine-induced 60. Starting the day with yoga doesn’t just get the kinks out of your body: The benefits also extend to your mind, leaving you centered, focused, and ready to tackle whatever comes up.
Since she managed to put our insomniac selves to sleep with a glorious yoga routine last month, we asked Rachel Brathen (aka Yoga Girl, who just released her first book) to do just the opposite and wake us back up with her favorite energizing poses. Try swapping the snooze button for her routine below—and be amazed at what it does for your morning mood.
“This sequence is a great start to the day—it gets the blood pumping and we get to stretch the parts of the body that tend to get tight after a long night’s sleep,” Rachel says. She notes to mind your breathing and really focus on listening to your body and what it wants while stretching out with the poses below.
Downward Facing Dog
- Come into a table top position with your hands and knees on the floor, and then tuck your toes and lift your sit bones up and back, coming into downward facing dog with your knees bent.
- Keep your heels lifted off the floor and press your belly towards your thighs, lengthening the lower back. Take a breath or two here, and then start to draw your heels toward the floor coming into a full down dog.
- Pedal your feet around here; bend one knee at a time, moving side to side—stretch out any kinks you might have in the back of the legs and hamstrings.
Three Legged Dog to Crescent Lung Twist
- Inhale to reach the right leg up towards the sky. Exhale, and step the feet in between your hands.
- Inhale and bring your hands to your knees, then reach your arms up over head. Take a few breaths here, lengthening the spine and expanding through the chest.
- Exhale and bring the left hand down to the floor. Engage your inner thighs, inhale and reach the right arm up, twisting over to the right
- Lift the gaze and look beyond the right fingertips, then exhale to lower the arm and step back to downward facing dog.
- Repeat this sequence on the left side.
Revolved Downward Facing Dog
- Now, take a twist in your downward facing dog. Bring the right hand about half-way toward the back of the mat, twisting to the side. Reach for the outer edge of the left leg; the thigh, calf or ankle (the lower down toward the heel you reach, the deeper the twist).
- Relax the back of your neck and breathe deeply, then release and do the same thing on the opposite side.
Standing Side Stretch
- Step to the front of your mat. Inhale and lengthen the spine. Exhale and fold forward. Inhale and come all the way up to a standing position reaching the arms over head. Exhale and bring your hands to heart center.
- Now, take a standing side stretch. Inhale and reach the arms overhead. Use the right hand to wrap around the left wrist, and start leaning over to the right, stretching the side of your body. Engage your core, breathe deeply and feel the length from the side of your leg all the way up to the armpit.
- Exhale to come back to center, and repeat on the opposite side.
- Shift your weight over to the left foot, bringing the right knee to your chest. Circle the right foot a couple of times, steady your balance and then move into Tree Pose.
- Place the sole of the foot to the inner calf or thigh, bringing the knee out to the side but keeping the hip in neutral.
- Reach your arms over head and smile!
- Balance for a few breaths, and then do the other side.
- Inhale and reach your arms over head, opening the heart, lifting your gaze behind your fingertips
- Exhale and come back to your center.