Good Morning Stretches Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling lethargic and sleepy, even after a full night of rest? Well, let’s learn how to overcome this struggle from the yogic practitioners themselves, who say from experience that practicing Yoga in the morning helps them wake up and restores energy for a vibrant day. This revitalizing morning Yogic Sequence can set you up for a productive day ahead. So let’s roll out of our beds and get onto our mats! 1. Balasana and Variations (Child Pose) Knowing that this is the first pose you will be doing, this pose makes it easier to get out of bed. Sit in Vajrasana and slowly inhale lifting your arms up. While exhaling, bend your trunk forward to the floor. Lay your arms straight out in front of you, elbows can be slightly bent and relaxed. Gently, close your eyes and just feel that pull towards the ground, stretching out the entire body. Take a deep breath in and slowly exhale out. While exhaling release all the tension from the shoulders and inhale the positive energy. Take 3 breaths here, feeling your whole body releasing from any stress. Then from here, slowly walk your hands over to the right side and place your left hand on top of the right. As you breathe in, feel the side of your body being stretched and exhale fully. Stay here for 2 more breaths. Then, walk your hands over to the left side and place your right hand on top of the left. Breathe here for 3 full breaths. 2. Bitilasana and Majariasana (Cat and Cow Pose) To continue, bring your body and hands back to the center. Now, come up on all fours where shoulders are directly over the wrist and hips over the knees. Tuck your toes under and inhale letting your navel drop towards the ground, curving your spine and coming into what we call the ‘Cow Pose’ also known as ‘Bitilasana’. Take your shoulders back, open up your chest and gently lift your chin up and gaze towards the ceiling. As you breathe out, place toes and feet flat on the ground, draw your navel towards the spine, round your back towards the ceiling. Drop the head slowly, bringing your chin to the chest, going into the ‘Cat Pose’ or ‘Majariasana’. Do a couple of rounds of this ‘cat and cow movement’ without forgetting the correct breathing pattern! 3. Adhomukha Svanasana (Downward-facing Dog Pose) Inhale and raise your hips towards the ceiling. You can keep your knees slightly bent and your heels off the floor for a modified Downward-facing Dog or ‘Adho Mukha Svanasana’. Come onto your toes and then slowly place your heels back down. Feel that elongation of the spine. Then, softly bend the right knee while placing the left heel firmly onto the floor and repeat by alternating the legs and just feeling that stretch on in your legs, also known as ‘paddling’ or the ‘dancing dog’. Repeat this for a couple of breaths. Then gently go into a full Adho Mukha Svanasana and place the heels on the floor giving a full stretch to your spine. Stay here for a couple of breaths. 4. Banarasana (Lunge Pose) While exhaling, gently come down onto your knees and slowly inhale, placing the right leg between the hands coming into a nice lunge. Make sure that the right knee is not extended further than your toes. Keep your left knee on the ground and push your left leg as back as you can to give a deeper stretch in the hips. On the next inhalation, raise your arms straight above with the palms facing each other. Exhale and slowly bring your arms down back around opening up your chest as if you are greeting the day with a warm welcome. Then bring your arms straight in front of you again and as you inhale, bring them up. Exhale, bringing them back around. Repeat this circular motion with your arms 5 times. 5. Veerabhadrasana (Warrior Pose) Inhale and lift your left knee off the ground while lifting your hips up. Turn you left foot outwards. With the next inhalation, raise your arms above your head and bring them in Namaskara Mudra. Hold this position for 6-8 breaths, feel your chest and shoulders opening up. Then exhale and release your arms, placing your hands next to your right foot and place your left knee back on the ground. Then inhale and place your right foot back, coming back to Adho Mukha Svanasana. Repeat this flow with Banarasana and Veerabhadrasana on the left side. 6. Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svasasana (3 Legged Downward-facing Dog Pose) From Adho Mukha Svanasana, inhale and lift your right leg up straight in the air. Stay here for 2 breaths by elongating your legs and spine. Then exhale and gently bend your right knee, bringing it towards your head and curve your back to give a stretch in the hips. Inhale and on exhalation place the right leg back and repeat on the left side. This is great stretch for the legs in the morning. 7. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-facing Dog Pose) Exhale and place your knees back on the ground. Then inhale and slowly push your whole body to the front and chest up to the air. Keep your arms straight and push your shoulders back. Bend your back towards the back and feel that stretch on the lower back. Make sure that your knees are lifted off the floor. Repeat this cycle from Adho Mukha Svasasana to Urdhva Mukha Svanasana 5-10 times. 8. Uttanasana (Forward Bend Pose) Inhale, coming back to Adho Mukha Svanasana. While exhaling, slowly walk your feet and legs up to your hands. You can keep your knees slightly bent and place your hands firmly on the ground. Slowly straighten your knees and feel a full stretch in the hamstrings. Inhale and slowly come up, one vertebra at a time. As you come up bring your arms straight up above your head in Namaskara Mudra. Exhale and bend down into Uttanasana and inhale and come back up. Exhale and release your arms, coming to Tadasana. 9. Ardhakati Chakrasana (Lateral Arc Pose) To keep your feet aligned, stretch them by inhaling and going on your toes, then exhaling, and firmly placing them on the ground. Repeat this a couple of times to stretch the whole body out. Now we will come into Ardhakati Chakrasana. From Tadasana, inhale and raise your right arm up. Exhale and bend your torso towards the left and look at your hand above. Make sure your body is in one line and not leaning forward or backwards. Feel that side of your body getting stretched. Hold this position for 6-8 breaths. Then inhale, bringing the torso back up and exhale releasing the arm. Rest in Tadasana for a couple of breaths then, repeat on the other side. Once both sides completed, bring your hands back to the heart center. Take a moment to feel the energy flowing through the entire body. Take deep breaths and with a smile on your face. To end, gently close your eyes and chant the sacred sound ‘Aum’ 3 times. This will enable you to center and calm yourself. Let us of course not forget to thank the Lord by seeking His blessings as well as recalling your purpose and intention for this new beautiful day. Slowly, open your eyes whenever you are ready, with the feeling of love and gratitude.