Psst! Want to know a secret? You can follow these six simple Yoga tricks every morning to reap the healthy rewards AND have a great day…every day.
After all, why just wake up in the morning when you can wake up rip-roaring and ready to go?! Doesn’t that sound much better than the alternative?
6 Yoga Tricks to Start Your Day
You can do these six simple steps in order, mix them up to suit your morning routine, or even combine them. The important part is that you make time for them before your day gets going.
1. Set Your Intention for the Day – Decide the moment you wake up that today is going to be a great day. Seriously! It works. And, with a strong enough intention, it could turn out to be the best day ever. And why not? You certainly deserve it.
2. Practice Supta Baddha Konasana – Don’t let the name scare you. It just means to lay on your back with the soles of your feet together and your legs open. We store lots of physical and emotional tension in our hips, so just breathe, soften, and relax your way to a good day. Let go of your issues in your tissues. If this seems uncomfortable for you right now, you can put something under your thighs for support and over time those muscles and connective tissue will relax and you won’t need the support any longer.
3. Practice Mindful Breathing – Most of us don’t breathe correctly, which sounds funny because we’ve been doing it our whole lives. BUT, many of us breathe too shallow, too rapidly, leading to chronic hyperventilation and excessive amounts of carbon dioxide in our blood, which creates its own set of health problems. Yoga offers many breathing exercises, all very beneficial, but simply breathing with the intention of slowing and gradually lengthening your breath is easy to do and good for you and your body.
4. Do Seated Cat/Cow Pose – Either in bed, on the edge of your bed, or seated on the floor, this is a great way to warm up your spine and wake up your central nervous system. With your arms stretched out in front of you, open them wide on a long, slow inhale, pressing your breast bone up, letting your heart shine, while rocking your pelvis forward. If it feels good, you can drop your head back. Pause for a moment and then exhale, curving your spine the opposite way, pressing it backward, wrapping your arms around yourself in a big loving hug and bringing your forehead toward your pubic bone. Pause again and then repeat this slowly as many times as you want.
5. Meditate – While you’re sitting and practicing mindful breathing, you might as well meditate too. Meditation doesn’t have to be hard. You can simply focus on your breath (breathing in, I know I’m breathing in/breathing out, I know I’m breathing out), recite a mantra, or fix your gaze on an object with all your focus and concentration. If thoughts pop into your head, don’t entertain them, let them fly out just as easily. 5 to 20 minutes a day of meditation has proven to overcome stress and many stress related illnesses.
6. Salute the Sun – By moving your body throughout its full range of motion, Sun Salutation is a great way to warm up, work out the kinks, get your blood flowing, and express gratitude for being alive. There are many variations to Sun Salutation so do what works for you. If this is new to you, here’s a simple version to practice.
How to do a Simple Sun Salutation:
- Start by standing upright.
- Inhale your arms over your head, then exhale folding deeply over at the hips, bringing your hands to the floor, to some blocks, or to your shins.
- Inhale into a flat back, hands resting just below your knees.
- Exhale down again.
- Inhale, stepping back into a plank position (like you’re going to do a push up).
- With or without your knees on the floor, exhale and lower yourself down to the floor.
- Inhale, pressing your hands into the floor and lifting your torso up, keeping only the top of your feet on the floor (upward facing dog).
- Then exhale, lifting your bottom up and back, pressing your heels toward the floor and reaching your hands forward while sinking your chest and armpits down as much as you can (downward facing dog).
- Pause in down dog for a few breaths, then inhale, stepping your feet forward and into another flat back.
- Exhale and fold forward at the hips.
- Pause here for a couple of breaths, softening and releasing any tension, and then with a long, slow breath, inhale your arms outward and upward rising with your breath to a standing position with your arms overhead.
- Exhale your hands to heart center and pause in a standing position, feeling your strength and balance.
- Repeat this as many times as you want.
The beauty of Yoga is that it’s truly an individual journey. You don’t have to live in an ashram, unless you want to, to experience all its wonderful benefits. You can pursue Yoga as much or as little as you want, however, adding these 6 simple steps to your morning routine will improve your outlook and make your day better in many different ways. Start your day off right!
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