I love to move my body.

In a past life I must have been a dancer because I feel drawn to movement in any way I can, whenever I can.

Alas, I am not very mobile and especially my shoulders and neck often feel quite stiff. Actually I should say “used to feel” because since I started practicing yoga10+ years ago, or better yet asana– physical postures- things have changed dramatically and now not only my whole being rejoices every time I step on the mat, my physical body has a much better posture, more energy during the day,  sleeps better at night and above all I feel good, lighter, like a weight has been taken off my shoulders, literally.

So much so that I have traveled on a motorbike from Rishikesh to Gokarna without having any body ache what-so-ever. Granted I was on the road for over a month and did take A LOT of stops but I’ll save the details for another time 🙂

How about you? Have you thought of developing an easy yoga routine? 

Think about this, what you do in the morning is a reflection of your entire day, so how do you wish your next 24 hours to unfold?Maybe you have an AM spiritual practice ( I hope so) or maybe you get up, turn your phone on and rush to get some coffee/tea ( I hope not). Whatever it is, implementing a stretch routine will wake up your body, help you feel energized and ready to take on the day.

So here are my top five easy stretches that you can implement every morning to feel rejuvenated and excited for the day ahead. 

Stretch #1: Standing Vertical Stretch – Stand tall, feet a little wider than hip-distance apart. Interlace your fingers, stretch the arms overhead palms up, lift your body on your toes, hold for a breath and let go. Repeat 10/15 times for 2/3 sets, increasing over time. This stretch helps in toning calf muscles, elongate the spine, giving you better posture. 

Stretch #2: Standing Toe Touch – Stand with your feet hip-distance apart.
Swing your right leg up and touch your left hand to your right toes keeping your chest up.
Return to the starting position and repeat with your left leg, touching your right hand to your left toes.
Repeat 8/10 times on each side for 2/3 sets increasing over time as you find yourself getting stronger. 

Stretch #3: Downward Dog – The multivitamin of poses and a classic stretch from which it’s super easy to transition into the next stretch, the cobra. Start on your knees with your hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders above wrists.
Lift your knees. Tuck your toes against the mat, using that leverage to extend your legs and lift both knees into the air.
Extend. Move your chest towards your thighs. Melt your heart. Breathe comfortably. 
Hold for 5 breaths and release. Believe it or not this pose will become, over time, a resting pose -as your whole body gets stronger.  Don’t get hung up on having your legs straight at first, this will improve over time. 

Stretch #4: Cobra – Lie on your stomach on your mat. Place your palms flat on the ground directly under your shoulders. Bend your elbows straight back and hug them into your sides.
Pause for a moment looking straight down at your mat with your neck in a neutral position. Anchor your pubic bone to the floor.
Inhale to lift your chest off the floor. Roll your shoulders back, away from the years and keep your low ribs on the floor. Make sure your elbows continue hugging the sides of the body. Keep your neck neutral, gazing to the floor. Breathe naturally. This stretch opens up your chest and it feels oh so good! Repeat up to 5 times. 

Stretch #5: Open the Chest – From a standing position, interlace your fingers behind you and stick your chest out while doing so. Pull your shoulder blades together at the same time for a healthy and productive stretch. The tighter you squeeze your shoulder blades, the deeper the stretch. This is super empowering because you’re opening your heart to take on the day ahead! Hold the pose as long as you are comfortable and release. Repeat up to 5 times. 

You can practice these stretches in any way it is available for you, every body is different. Remember to be gentle with yourself and  to approach the poses without expectations. 

Start slowly and slowly progress from there.

Naturally waking up your body will help you feel alive and energized in the morning and for the rest of your day; it will also most likely cause you to not drink lots of caffeine because you will feel naturally awake the entire day.

Happy stretching and thank you for reading.


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