Beginning your day with intentional movement can bring feelings of groundness and increase the connection between mind and body. The release of endorphins from exercise can help us feel happier and healthier.
The physical benefits of weight-bearing activities such as yoga can include increased metabolism, better bone density, and stronger muscles to support joint sites. Yoga in particular, focusing on the body and the breath, can bring feelings of peacefulness and help you feel more present in the moment.
A few poses to start your day that will get your blood flowing and your feet firmly on the ground:
Start slowly, especially if you have recently woken up. Mobilize the joints by pointing and flexing the feet and circling the ankles, circling the wrists and alternating between tight fists and open palms with the fingers spread wide, walking mindfully in place, or taking a few cat/cow stretches. Lie on the back and alternate pulling one bent knee into the chest at a time. The opposite leg can be extended straight forward or set down to the floor as in bridge pose below.
Bridge Pose (with one leg lifted)
Start lying on the back with knees bent, feet right under the knees so the shins are like pillars. Lift the chest towards the chin and feel the low ribs knitting towards the belly. Keeping the spine long, lift up so the thighbones press towards the ceiling. Option to place a block under the sacrum. Option to lift one leg straight towards the ceiling, pressing through the ball of the foot to create space in the pelvis. Switch legs.
Side Angle Pose (half-bind variation)
Step into warrior II stance, front heel bisecting the arch of the back foot, feet around 3.5 to four feet apart. A shorter stance is good for hip injured or hyper flexible, and can help bring the focus to connecting muscularly if the patterning is not yet there. Rest the front forearm down on the front thigh. Option to take the other arm into a half bind. Roll the chest and ribs open towards the ceiling. Soften the shoulders away from the ears. Direct the tailbone and sit bones towards the floor.
Bend the knees to sink the sit bones towards the floor. Bring some weight into the heels and squeeze the inner thighs towards one another. Lift the arms alongside the ears and feel the armpits wrapping towards one another.
Breathe mindfully throughout, allowing the inhales to expand the ribs and the exhales to encourage the engagement in the pose. It is the focus on the breath that allows us to be where our body is, in each moment, presently, as it’s happening. Soften the jaw and keep the breath steady and full even in the midst of engagement. Bring that breath into your day.
Photos by Amber Elise