Do you find it difficult to wake up in the mornings? Do you lack energy or struggle with feeling stiff? If you deal with any of these problems, Morning Yoga may be the solution you are looking for.
Morning Yoga stretches and light exercises are a fantastic way to wake up your body, reduce stiffness, and prepare yourself mentally for the day ahead. If you want to give morning Yoga a try, read on to learn more about some of the best poses to start your day off strong.
Benefits of Morning Yoga Stretches
Yoga has many benefits, including improved flexibility, strength, and mental clarity. However, Morning Yoga has several unique benefits that are worth noting. Just some of these advantages include:
- Less Stress. Stress’ effect on the body is underestimated by many. These effects are why Morning Yoga is such a boon for many. By practicing Yoga every morning, you can center your body and mind, reducing stress and alleviating many of these negative effects.
- Reduced Stiffness. Morning stiffness is a condition many people suffer from. Stiffness happens when the lubricant in your joints becomes thicker, meaning it cannot move as freely. Morning Yoga is a gentle way to get your joints lubricated once more, reducing this stiffness.
- More Energy. Yoga is a form of exercise perfect for when you are feeling sluggish. By practicing Yoga in the morning, you can activate your muscles and mind as you move between poses. Doing so will dramatically increase your energy levels by upping your heart rate and getting your blood flowing.
- Increased Metabolism. As mentioned above, Yoga will get your heart rate up early in the morning. Doing so will increase your metabolism, forcing your body to burn more calories throughout the day. If you want to start or continue a weight loss journey, Yoga is something you should consider adding to your morning routine.
- Less Mental Sluggishness. While Yoga is a form of gentle exercise, it can also be quite complex. By performing challenging poses early in the morning, you can dust off any mental sluggishness you may have from the night previous. Doing so will make it easier to focus throughout the day.
20 Morning Yoga Poses You Can Try Every Morning
1: Child’s Pose
If you are just starting out with Morning Yoga, the Child’s Pose is essential. This pose is relaxing, making it the perfect pose for preparing for the day ahead. To do the Child’s Pose, you need to perform the following steps:
- Kneel down with your feet below your thighs.
- As you reach your arms outward, fold your body down at the hips.
- Rest your head on the mat.
- Hold this position for at least 30 seconds.
2: Cat and Cow
Cat/Cow is another excellent pose for opening up those tight back muscles. This pose improves circulation, especially in your lower back, making it perfect for Morning Yoga. To do this pose, you need to:
- Begin on all fours with your torso in one straight line.
- Bend your toes and rotate your torso upwards, moving from your pelvis along every vertebra.
- Bring your belly button in and lookup. You are now in the Cow Pose.
- To enter the Cat pose, push your tailbone and pelvis downward and come to the tops of your feet.
- Lower your head and push your belly button up. Hold this position for a few deep breaths.
Here is an example of the pose in action.
3: Downward Facing Dog
If you want to wake yourself up, the Downward Facing Dog pose is an excellent choice. This pose is a fantastic way to get the blood flowing and improve your arm and core strength. There are only a few steps in the Downward Dog pose:
- Start on all fours. Lift your knees and straighten your legs.
- Push your tailbone up to the ceiling.
- Keep your hands, arms, and shoulders in one line as you breathe in.
- Hold this position for as long as you can.
4: Low Warrior with Hands Behind the Back
All of the Warrior Poses are a fantastic way to wake yourself up in the morning. This specific variant of the Warrior Pose is an excellent way to activate all the muscles in your legs, while also building strength in your thighs. To do this pose you will need to:
- Stand with your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Take a deep step forward with your left leg. Bend the knee so that your thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Turn your back foot so that it is angled between 60 and 90 degrees, facing into your side.
- Clasp your hands together behind your back and push your hip forward.
- Hold this position for 5-10 deep breaths.
5: Half Splits
The split is one of the most impressive poses in Yoga and a demonstration of one’s flexibility. If you cannot perform a full Split yet, the Half Split pose (also known as Ardha Hanumanasana) is the perfect way to ease yourself into a full split. This pose is excellent for improving your leg flexibility, as well as stretching the muscles in your back. To do this pose, you need to:
- Start in a low lunge position. Balance yourself by placing your fingertips on the floor.
- Slowly move your hands back and straighten your front leg. Stop moving back once you are resting on your front heel.
- Push your torso forward and hold this position for as long as you can.
6: Seated Forward Fold
The Seated Forward Fold is likely going to be one of the first poses you learn. However, this is a pose that you can spend a lifetime practicing with many benefits. This pose will improve your flexibility, especially in your spine and legs. To perform the Seated Forward Fold, you need to:
- Begin in the Staff Pose, with your legs in front of you and your back straight.
- Fold your body forward at the hips. Reach your hands towards your feet. If you can grab your feet, hold on to them.
- Hold this position for a few breaths.
7: Half-legged Forward Fold
The Half-Legged Forward Fold is one of the best ways to improve your posture early in the morning; by stretching your hamstrings and back, you are more able to stand up straight and face the day ahead. There are only a few steps involved in this simple pose:
- Start by getting into the Mountain Pose. Bend your body forward at the hips. End this step with your body parallels to the ground.
- Reach your hands forward past your head and hold this position for at least 10 breaths.
8: Windshield Wipers
The Windshield Wiper pose is an excellent way to open up your hips. This pose is also a great way to get the blood flowing into your legs. Windshield Wipers is a fantastic pose if you find that your body and, in particular, your legs are stiff when you wake up. To do this pose, you need to:
- Start by laying on your back and bending your knees. Your arms should be stretched out to your left and right.
- Rotate both knees to your right as you look left. Breath in and out as you do so.
- Activate your core to bring your knees back to the initial position and repeat on the opposite side. Repeat for at least 30 seconds.
9: Leg Seated Twist
The Leg Seated Twist is a fantastic way to open up all the muscles in your back while also stretching your arms and legs. This pose, also known as the Seated Spinal Twist, is relatively simple to perform, making it perfect for mornings where you need to start slow. The steps involved in this pose are:
- Sit down with your back straight and your legs in front of you.
- Bend one of your knees, bring it to your chest, and place that foot on the side of the opposite thigh.
- Bend your opposite leg and bring that foot to your glute.
- Twist your body while using your arms to balance yourself if necessary. Hold this position for between 10 and 15 seconds.
10: Reclined Twists
If you need to take out any lingering tension from your spine, then Reclined Twists/Reclined Spinal Twists are an excellent addition to any Morning Yoga routine. There are only a few steps needed to do the Reclined Twist:
- Lay down on the floor with your knees slightly bent.
- Exhale and bring both of your knees up to your chest.
- Let one leg return to its starting position. Stretch the opposite arm out to balance your body.
- As you do the previous step, turn your knee over your body and hold this position for a few deep breaths.
The Bridge Pose is a nice and simple back pose. Even though it is not a complicated pose, the Bridge Pose is perfect for developing your thigh and core strength. The Bridge Pose involves the following steps:
- Lay down on your back and point your knees up to the roof. Press your hands and arms into the ground.
- Raise your hips up while tucking your chin into your chest.
- Activate your inner thighs to hold this position for at least 10 breaths.
12: Back Bend
The Back Bend, or more specifically the Standing C Clasp, is a fantastic way to shake off the cobwebs in your spine. This pose is fantastic for improving spinal flexibility while also developing core strength. The Standing C Clasp involves the following steps:
- Start by standing straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Wrap both hands together as you begin to arch your back. As you are doing so, move your hands slowly down the length of your thighs.
- Hold this position for at least 5 deep breaths, making sure to engage your core to remain balanced.
13: Happy Baby Variation
Happy Baby is an amazing way to wake up your body. This pose is not just fun but excellent for stretching your legs, hips, and arms. To start this pose, you will need to:
- Lay down on your back and breath in.
- Bend your knees and bring them towards your stomach.
- Grab the outside of your feet. Your knees should be slightly outside your thighs.
- Create tension in your feet by pulling your feet with your hands. Hold this position for at least five breaths.
14: Seated Breathing
Seated Breathing is one of the easiest poses in Yoga and is a great way to prepare yourself for a Morning Yoga session. To do this pose, you will need a chair. There are a few steps involved in this simple pose:
- Push your tailbone down.
- Relax your shoulders. Bend your legs and make sure they are parallel to the ground.
- Breath in deeply for at least 30 seconds.
15: Boat Pose
If you want to improve your core strength in the morning all while waking up your body, the Boat Pose is a good starting point. There are a few steps involved in this pose:
- Sit down with your legs bent and your hands behind your knees.
- Straighten your back and push your abs upwards.
- Rest on your bottom as you lean back slightly. Your legs should be off the floor at this point.
- Straighten your legs and hold this position for between 5 and 10 breaths.
16: Lizard Stretch
If you find that you have tight hips in the morning, the Lizard Stretch is something you should do. This stretch opens up your hips and improves your core strength. The steps involved in this stretch include:
- Start in the Downward Dog pose.
- Bring your right leg forward, parallel to your right hand. You want to end up in a long lunge position.
- Push your left leg into the ground before pressing your forearms down as well.
- Get on to the ball of your foot on your standing leg. Hold this position for between 5 and 10 breaths.
17: Bow Pose
If you want to improve your posture and core strength early in the morning, you should practice the Bow Pose. This pose is also fantastic for alleviating stress and tension in your body. There are a few steps in the Bow Pose:
- Grab your feet with your hands as you lie down on your stomach. Your knees should be bent as you grab.
- Push your chest and lower body into the ground.
- Breath in and out for a few deep breaths.
18: Camel Pose
Ustrasana, also known as the Camel Pose, is one of the many backbends in Yoga. Fantastic for building up the muscles in your core and improving your spinal flexibility, the Camel Pose is an excellent addition to your Morning Yoga routine. There are a few steps involved in this pose:
- Kneel with your body over your knees. Place your hands on your ribs before breathing deeply to open your chest.
- Move your hands backward and grab your heels. As you do so, push your hips forward. You can let your head fall back if you find it comfortable.
- Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
Watch this video to see another example of the Camel Pose.
19: Plank Pose
Morning Yoga is a great time to build up your strength and the plank pose is one of the best poses doing so. The plank is a great way to develop your arm and core strength. To do this pose, you need to:
- Start by resting on your knees. Place your hands out beneath your shoulders
- Raise your knees, extend your legs and hold your body in one line.
- Hold this position for at least 5 breaths.
20: Chair Pose
The Chair Pose is a great way to awaken your entire body. This pose is also great for developing strength in your lower body and core. To do the Chair Pose successfully, you will need to:
- Stand up straight in the Mountain Pose.
- Inhale and exhale before bending your knees. Your goal is to end with your thighs parallel to the floor.
- Hold your thighs parallel to each other, point your tailbone towards the floor, and hold this position for between 5 and 10 deep breaths.
Tips for Beginners to Practice Morning Yoga Stretches
Starting any new hobby or exercise schedule can be challenging. Morning Yoga can be especially difficult for those of us who love to sleep in. However, Morning Yoga does not have to be a struggle or a drag. Here are some tips to make your Morning Yoga practice just that bit easier:
- Be Prepared: When you are starting a Morning Yoga routine, the best thing you can do for yourself is to prepare the night before. Plan what poses you are going to do, when you are going to wake up, etc. Doing so means you won’t have to think about it if you are groggy in the morning, making you more likely to complete your routine.
- Eat and Drink: Many yogis do Yoga before eating. However, if you are hungry in the morning, have something light and plenty of water before getting straight into your practice – Yoga on a full stomach is rarely a fun experience.
- Simplicity is key: Morning Yoga is a time to wake up your body and prepare for the day ahead. Focus on relatively simple movements that give the most benefit instead of complex acrobatic poses that you may not be able to perform early in the morning.
- Be Consistent: Consistency is key to Morning Yoga. If you practice every day, even for only 15 minutes, you will begin to notice incredible benefits.
- Perform Each Pose Slowly: Your body will likely not be prepared for Morning Yoga early on. Given this fact, make sure to perform each pose slowly to wake up your body and avoid injuries.
Morning Yoga is an excellent addition to any morning routine. Even a 15-minute session can wake up your body, improve your flexibility, and give you the energy you need to face the day ahead. While Morning Yoga stretches may be challenging initially, if you can stick with it, you will reap its many benefits.
If you have any questions or poses you use in your Morning Yoga routine, let us know in the comments section below.