How often do you roll out of bed and check your smartphone? Do you find yourself waking up and immediately worrying about the day's tasks?
The way you begin your day is essential and can set the tone for everything else that is going to unfold. Even if you feel like time is not on your side, pick two to three of these yogic morning rituals and notice their effect. Even five minutes of doing something different can have a huge ripple effect.
1. Child’s Pose
Whether still in bed, on your carpet, or on your mat, sink back into a few grounding breaths in Child’s Pose. Your hips will soften, spine will stretch, and breath begin to awaken.
2. Cat & Cow
To further move your spine and continue to infuse your breath, take 10 angulations of Cat (exhale) and Cow (inhale). This allows the spine to explore its full range of motion in flexion and extension, while also stimulating the lungs and digestive organs.
Whether it is a Headstand or a Half Shoulderstand, turning your body upside down first thing in the morning is a great way to get everything flowing. Your lymph will be stimulated which helps with cleansing and relieving stagnation.
4. Breath of Fire
Especially if you are exploring headstand make sure to pause in Child’s Pose for a few moments to let your blood flow reintegrate. From there, rise up and take a seat (Hero/Diamond or if not comfortable sit in the cross legged position). Take two rounds (of 10 expulsions) of Kapalabhati breath or Breath of Fire.
Many people execute this breath with too much vigor. Focus on an active exhale through both nostrils as your belly draws lightly in and up. The inhale is automatic. Keep your facial muscles soft and go slow. This breath creates heat, stimulates digestion, and will remove stale air from your lungs. If you get overly dizzy at any point discontinue the breath technique immediately.
Drink at least 20 ounces of warm water to get your system going. The warmth will help to fire up digestion and water provides primal energy for your cells.
6. Tennis Ball Massage
Stand up and place a tennis ball (or golf ball) under the sole of your foot, roll it back and forth to stimulate the muscle tissue that runs from your feet all the way to the top of your head. If you find a particularly tender spot on your foot you can pause and shift the weight of your foot to dig in a bit.
This can help relive knee pain, low back tension, and tightness in your neck. Roll for one minute on each foot.
7. Standing Twists
Stand with your feet a bit wider than hip distance apart. Begin to swing your arms from side to side rotating your torso while lifting your opposite heel off the ground (to protect your knee). Allow your arms to stay heavy and they can even tap to the side of your hip. Do this for about one to two minutes.
Twisting works on the nervous system, digestive organs, and boosts brain concentration when your limbs cross the midline of your body.
This whole sequence can be done in five minutes or you can spend more time in the rituals that resonate with you most. Experiment for a few days and notice if even a few minutes create a shift in your energy, vitality, and state of mind.