Alyssa has a passion for fitness and sharing her favorite tips and tricks with the world. Alyssa is a wife, mom, and coffee enthusiast.
Yoga: What Are the Health Benefits?
Yoga has many health benefits. It can improve strength, flexibility, and endurance; it's great for cardiovascular health; it can improve circulation; it helps with muscle tone and can help combat stress. Yoga is also versatile. It can be a hard-core workout, making you sweat, torching calories.
Likewise, it can be relaxing, helping you realign your focus and reduce anxiety and tension. It's all up to you and what you bring to the mat. Above all, yoga is a wonderful way to stretch the body, and the mind, if you so choose. Doing yoga first thing in the morning can help you wake up and have a productive day.
Try these five poses when you first get up in the morning to get rid of the kinks, stretch out any sore places, and get ready to seize the day!
As always, consult your doctor or physician before starting any exercise program or if you have any questions or concerns.
1. Child's Pose
This is a great relaxing stretch, especially when you first wake up. Start out on all fours, with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. The traditional pose would have your knees together, legs touching, but I find it more comfortable to let the toes touch and let your knees widen out to the width of your yoga mat. If you don't have a yoga mat, you could fold a blanket or towel on the floor or even do this one still in bed. Bring your rear back, sitting on your heels and allow your forehead to rest on the mat. You could leave your arms stretched out in front of you, feeling the stretch along the sides of the body. You could also bring your hands underneath you, stretching them toward your feet, to get a nice stretch in the low back.
2. Cat Cow Pose
This is one of my favorite stretches for the morning. Start out on all fours, with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Make sure you are pushing away from the ground, with your elbow creases facing forward so that you are not dipping down into the shoulders. Also make sure to keep a neutral spine from your neck to your tailbone. Imagine bringing your belly button into your spine, activating your abs. Slowly start to tilt your pelvis down and in and curve your back, bringing your head and neck down. Feel the stretch all along the back. Slowly tilt your pelvis back, arching your back and bringing your head and neck back up. Look up to the ceiling and feel the counter-stretch. You can do this a few times to wake up the spine. It feels amazing! You can also take circles, moving your body to the left a few times and then to the right. Play around in this posture and find what feels best for your body.
3. Low Lunge
This is a great stretch to open the hips and wake up the body. Again, start on all fours. Bring one leg in front, foot flat on the floor. Let the other knee rest on the mat. I find it helpful to add an extra towel or blanket under the knee for a little extra cushion. You want to make sure that your hips are square and level, and don't allow the front knee to pass beyond the ankle. Form is very important. You can rest your hands on your hips or stretch them overhead. You can play around in this pose, too. Try a twist with the opposite arm on the floor beside your front foot, and slowly rotate your upper body toward the bent knee. Once you've stretched out on that side, repeat on the other leg.
4. Mountain Pose
This is a great pose to do in the morning to have a few quiet moments. You could express gratitude or set an intention for your day. Stand up straight and place your feet together or about hip-width apart. Imagine bringing your belly button to your spine to keep your abs activated. Roll your shoulders back and down as you take a deep breathe in and out. Leave your arms at your sides, palms facing forward and fingers stretching out. This pose is meant to be grounding and help you find stillness. I like to move around a little bit. You can take slow neck circles and roll your shoulders back and forward. I also like to take a little twist. To try this, take a big inhale and reach your arms up. As you exhale, allow your torso to twist to the right, bringing your right arm straight out behind you and reaching your left arm to the front. Keep your hips and feet facing front. Inhale reaching your arms back up and bringing your torso back to facing front again. As you exhale, repeat the twist to the left. This is an amazing stretch in the morning!
5. Supine Twist
My morning isn't complete until I've done a nice supine twist. Lay flat on your back on top of a yoga mat, blanket, or towel. You could also try this before you get out of bed. You can do this pose by bringing one knee or both knees in to the chest. You might stay here for a moment, gently rocking back and forth or side to side. If you have one knee, slowly twist to the opposite side. Turn to look in the opposite direction as your knee, reaching your arm out and keeping your shoulder down. Repeat on the other side. If you have both knees in, allow them to slowly fall to one side. Turn to look in the opposite direction, reaching your arm out and keeping your shoulder down. Repeat on the other side.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Alyssa
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on December 28, 2018:
I don't think I would ever use the word lazy to describe you Bill. You are very active and seem to always be working on something. :) Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 23, 2018:
I really have to get off my lazy butt and start doing yoga again. I'm feeling the effects of winter and holiday eating and becoming lethargic. Sigh...it ain't easy when one gets to be my age, young lady. :) Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you and your family.