Getting out of bed in the morning is hard. Getting out of bed in the morning and in winter is even harder. Getting out of bed in the morning, in winter and in the middle of a pandemic? Well I’m sure you know the score.
First thing in the morning when it is cold outside and I am lacking motivation, one of the last things I want to do is throw myself out of bed and into a rigorous morning workout (if you do, then please share your secret!). Instead, I find myself being drawn to a gentle warming up through muscle stretching and breathing exercises. So to help you get your morning rolling with momentum I am sharing my 10 minute morning yoga routine that will warm up and stretch your muscles, the perfect start to a chilly winter’s morning...
Winter Yoga Routine
Yoga feels a lot different in the winter than it does in the summer. Joints seem a little stiffer, it's harder to feel open and flexible and you tend to be more hunched over. So to help you get that blood flowing, and your body feeling soft and relaxed, here is my favourite sequence.
Yoga Pose 1: Seated Breath with Movement
Begin your winter yoga routine in a seated cross-legged position. This sequence of movement is all about moving with your breath, the perfect way to start, by creating harmony between your mind and body.
On your first inhalation, reach your arms up towards the sky and splay your fingers. As you exhale, crate fists with your hands and draw them towards your chest in a swift motion, bending your elbows as you do so and drawing them behind your back. Repeat this movement on each of your inhales and exhales until you feel your body warming up (which it will, quite quickly!).
Yoga Pose 2: Sun Salutations
Sun salutations are another perfect series of movements to add to your winter yoga morning routine, with the change in levels and variation of movement, you will soon be feeling limber and energized.
Start by standing in the middle of your mat with your arms relaxed by your side. As you inhale, reach your arms directly above your head to the ceiling, and as you exhale fold at the hips and plant your hands in front of your feet. On your next inhalation, raise your head and as you exhale, jump your feet back and into a plank pose. On your next inhalation, lift your chest and head looking up towards the ceiling, and exhale moving into the downwards dog. As you ease into the downwards dog, stay here for a count of 5 breaths allowing your muscles to relax and gently stretch. Walking your feet towards your hands, move back into a standing fold, inhale, and move your arms towards the ceiling once more. This sequence of movements can be repeated as many times as you wish. I typically do this for 5 minutes as I find the gentle repetition and variation soothing and comforting, just what I need on a winter’s morning.
Yoga Pose 3: Cat-Cow Pose
After feeling warmed up and more limber I like to incorporate this pose into my morning yoga routine to counteract the seated position I sit at when working at my desk.
On inhalation pull your stomach in towards your spine arching it towards the ceiling, drawing your chin towards your chest. On exhalation, lower your belly towards the floor and arch your back looking upwards. Continue with this movement 5 to 10 times, moving with your breath on each change.
Yoga Pose 4: Standing Side Stretch
This is another yoga pose that helps me work out the kinks from the night’s sleep and a day working at my desk, by stretching my lower back muscles, an area I often feel is ignored. With your feet pressed close together and your palms pressed together and thumbs overlapping above your head, lift your chest up slowly and start to tilt your body to the right side. Stay in this pose for a few breaths, before returning to an upright position and then tilting to the other side.
Yoga Pose 5: Reverse Table Pose
If you sleep in a foetal position, this pose is particularly good for re-opening up your chest and ribcage.
Begin by sitting in the centre of your yoga mat with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Place your hands behind you with the tips of your fingers pointing towards the base of your spine. As you exhale, lean your weight back, bending your elbows and puff your chest towards the ceiling. Planting your feet and hands firmly into your mat, lift your hips up until they are parallel to your chest. Hold for 5 breaths.
Yoga Pose 6: Child’s Pose
I love to finish my winter morning yoga routine with the Child’s Pose. Not only does this open up my hips, but the comforting and calming nature of this pose helps me start my day in a relaxed and positive mind state.
Begin by sitting on your heels with your knees hip distance apart or further if you feel comfortable. On exhalation, bend at the hips and fold forward resting your chest over your thighs, with your forehead resting on your yoga mat and your arms extended above your head. I recommend staying here 10 to 12 breaths.
Are you feeling warmed up yet?