4 Yoga Poses to Start Your Day with Energy

The sun is rising in your window, the alarm is going off, and soon you're up to start another day. What do you do first? Whether it's opening the mail app on your phone to check email, shuffling into the bathroom to shower, or heading outside for a run or to walk the dog, chances are you don't take much time to focus and get into a good mindset.

Doing so, though, can be a productive and smart way to start your day. By getting your mind right and settling into your body before you rush off to work, you can develop a calmer mindset and move about your day with more energy and focus. Meditation is a good way to do this, and yoga, a moving meditation, is an ideal way to facilitate body mind and body wellness first thing in the morning.

You don't even have to get out of bed to start this easy sequence of poses. Set the alarm ten minutes earlier and perform this series of postures before you "start" your day.

1. Seated Mountain Pose

Morning Yoga Poses

What's better than feeling empowered at the beginning of your day? Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, is a great way to feel grounded and to face the day head-on. Slowly raise your arms above your head while simultaneously rolling your shoulders down and pulling your shoulder blades together on your back. Keep your gaze forward to greet the day and keep your neck in a neutral position. You can perform this pose with your legs crossed below you, or extended forward for the added benefit of a hamstring stretch.

2. Gentle Forward Bend

Morning Yoga Poses

Extend your legs out in front of you and pull your toes back as though they were reaching for your shins. From Mountain Pose, gently bend forward and place your hands wherever they may fall - your thighs, your shins or perhaps your feet, depending on your flexibility. Keep your shoulders down — don't let them creep up toward your ears as they usually want to do. Breathe deeply and don't "pull" too hard; your muscles are cool and shouldn't be subjected to vigorous stretches so early in the day.

3. Gentle Spinal Twist

Morning Yoga Poses

Experience a gentle hip and spinal stretch with this pose. Lying flat on your back, bend one knee and drape it over your other leg, keeping the other leg straight. Use your hand to guide your bent leg while your other arm counterbalances the twist at your side. You can also perform this pose with both knees bent; simply drape your knees to one side, breathe for several deep breaths, and repeat on the opposite side.

4. Easy Forward Bend

Morning Yoga Poses

Now that you're a bit more awake, make your way out of bed and perform an easy forward bend to stretch your hamstrings and low back. Start fully standing, perhaps in Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, with your arms extended above your head. Bend forward at the waist, stopping when you feel a gentle tug in your hamstrings. Use your hands to support your upper body — place them either on the floor, if you are flexible enough, or on your shins or thighs. There's no need to traction hard in this pose, you're just looking for an easy stretch here. Rise up slowly, breathing deeply all the while, and then perform this pose again a few times to get your blood flowing.

Each of these poses should be held for at least six to eight deep breaths, and preferably more. Since your body is waking up and isn't warm, don't focus on getting a deep stretch, but instead on simply engaging your muscles and breathing deeply. You can even keep your eyes closed if you don't think you'll doze off! Finish off with a few slow shoulder rolls or even some "facial yoga" — scrunch up your eyes and face and then release a few times (sounds silly but it works!). Hopefully you'll experience a more relaxed and energized morning with this easy routine.
posted by
Kayleigh Karutis
Kayleigh Karutis lives in Denver, Colo., with her partner and two dogs. When she's not hiking or climbing in the nearby mountains, she's exploring the West. See more of her adventures on Instagram, @kkarutis. (Freelance bloggers receive promotional consideration from Sierra Trading Post.)
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