It’s fair to say that I’m not a morning person. When it’s dark and chilly, the comfy cosiness and warmth of bed feels oh so much more appealing. Add a national lockdown to the general apathy and I’ve often found myself wondering what’s the point? What’s the big rush? It’s not as if I need to be anywhere. Five more minutes I’ll tell myself. Of course, that turns into another twenty minutes and so on. The lure of staying in bed is simply too much. Then when I do eventually drag myself out of my cocoon, I spend the day feeling sluggish. If this is all too familiar, then it’s time to make some changes.
Become an Early Riser with Yoga
Imagine beginning the morning energised and enthusiastic. What a difference that would make!
Yoga in the morning is especially beneficial because:
- It creates a routine, provides a sense of security and gives you a reason to get out of bed.
- Over time, you’ll find it easier to get up and your body will naturally feel more awake and ready to receive a dose of its daily yoga.
- It calms the mind whilst simultaneously releasing endorphins (happy hormones), setting you up with the right mindset for the rest of the day.
You don’t need much to get started but do invest in a non-slip yoga mat. Try Yogi Bare Paws Mat (available in black, green, red, grey, blue or with a beautifully inspiring wave print). It offers superb grip and a 4mm thickness, supporting the impact on ankles, wrists and knees.
Winter Morning Yoga Routine for Sleepy Starters
Try incorporating our sun salutation routine below into your morning yoga. It’s the perfect warm up before doing more challenging poses. Alternatively, you can do several sun salutations to stretch, strengthen and align the body if you only have 10 minutes spare.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Stand at the base of your mat. Feet together, big toes touching, arms by your side. Lift and spread your toes and balls of feet. Softly press them into the floor. Gently rock side to side and back and forth. Bring to a standstill, with weight balanced evenly on both feet. Draw down through heels and straighten your legs. Lift knees but don’t lock kneecaps. Lift thigh muscles up and back. Inner thighs should turn slightly inwards. Draw pelvic floor muscles together. Pull the abdomen slightly in and up. Open your chest.
Inhale deeply a few times. Roll your shoulders open as you breathe in, palms should face outwards. This will help bring your shoulder blades onto your back. Ears align over the shoulders; the crown of the head should lift up as if by an invisible thread. Soften the face.
Flat Back (Ardha Uttanasana)
As you exhale, bend forwards, bringing your arms down so that your palms lay flat on the floor and are in line with the toes. If you need to bend the knees a little, you can do so. Inhale, then lift your head so that it’s in line with your back which should be flat horizontally. Hands can either rest on the thighs or fingertips can lightly touch the floor.
Exhale. Plant your palms firmly on the floor. Now step or jump back into plank position. Shoulders should be over your wrists. Try to stop your bottom from dipping, instead hold it in place. Aim to get a straight line from the crown of your head to your heels. Arms should push towards the ground and feel strong. Remember to breathe!
Knees, Chest and Chin (Chaturanga Dandasana)
Exhale. Lower your knees, chest and chin until they touch the floor. Keep elbows tucked in as you do so, bottom and hips should remain held high. Shoulders should be positioned right over the hands.
Upward Facing Dog (Cobra)
Inhale. Bring head and chest up, reaching forwards whilst bottom and knees come down to the floor. Legs should be flat along the floor now. Elbows move backwards and point towards the hips, and you’ll feel a slight backbend. Anchor hips and feet to the top of the floor. Try not to press too hard into the palms though.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)
Exhale. Push back into downward facing dog. You can come through hands and knees if it’s necessary. Fingertips press lightly on the floor, spine and legs invert to create a triangle shape, keeping back of legs and spine lengthened.
Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Exhale. Now step the right foot forward so that it's next to the right hand. Bring the left foot forward to join it. You should be in a standing forward bend. As an alternative you can jump the foot forward instead of stepping if you prefer a faster pace.
Come back into Mountain Pose to finish the sun salutation routine.