As you read a few posts back, yoga can be a great way to calm down and relax after a busy day. Yoga can also be incredibly invigorating and energizing when performed first thing in the morning. These poses will provide the same peaceful benefits as the nighttime ones listed in the previous post, but they have the added benefit of making you feel alert and energized instead of restful and sleepy. You will probably even break a sweat!
Backbends are powerful energizers. Yogic philosophy emphasizes that the reason you feel energetic after these poses is because back bends release built-up energetic tension in the spine. Your heartbeat will speed up, and you will feel bursts of energy expressed throughout your body. The poses discussed in this post will include two deep backbends.
These series of poses are called Sun Salutations. They are a great way to greet the day and get blood flowing through your body. If you perform many of them consecutively, they make for a good workout and act as a moving meditation. Finish these poses off with a Cool Cane juice to get some glucose back into your system while it works together with the yoga poses to give you an energized morning!
Begin in Mountain Pose. Stand with feet about hip-width apart and have your arms down at your sides with palms facing forward. Hold your chin slightly up and shoulders back. Breathe in deeply a few times and feel your chest expanding with each breath.
On your next inhale; reach your arms up over your head as far as you can reach into Upward Salute. When arms are fully expressed upwards, bring your hands together in prayer position if you so choose. Remember to roll your shoulders down so they are not up over your ears.
As you exhale, take a Standing Forward Bend by contracting your belly in and begin bending at the hips while keeping your back straight. Keep your spine lengthened as you reach your body forward and bring your arms down towards the ground to touch your toes. Relax here for a moment and release any tension in your neck by letting your head hang loose.
When you inhale, keep your back straight and lift up slightly bringing your hands to your shins (Half-Standing Forward Bend). Keep your neck parallel to your back to make sure your spine is aligned.
On your next exhale, bring your hands down flat on the ground and hop your feet back so that you arrive in Plank Position. Your hands should be shoulder-distance apart and your feet should be about hip distance apart. Take one full cycle of breath as you lengthen your body and make any adjustments needed.
Exhale and bring your body down towards the floor as you lower down using your arms to keep your pace steady. You do not want to collapse onto the floor. You can bring your knees to the ground as you lower.
Once you’ve reached the ground, put the top parts of your feet down toward the floor and point your toes. Keep your legs anchored on the ground as you inhale and lift your head and chest up off the ground, reaching up towards the sky. Keep your palms on the ground with elbows bent but try not to put pressure on them to support yourself as you lift. Reach up towards the sky using your chest and core muscles. Even look up with your eyes! This will set the intention of where you want to take your body. Pull your shoulders back.
When you’re ready, exhale and bring your head down as you prepare to lift up with your arms. As you push up, roll over your toes as you lift your hips up into Downward-Facing Dog. Your hands will stay on the ground but your hips will be high up in the air with your knees slightly bent. This pose will nicely stretch out your lower back. Remember to keep you neck straight inline with your spine. Take a couple breaths here as you reach your heels towards the floor and feel this stretch in your hamstrings.
When you’re ready, bend your knees and hop your feet forward towards your hands. You will find yourself in a forward fold. Inhale to lift up halfway back into Half-Standing Forward Bend. Keep your back flat as you lift your hands to your shins. Then exhale fully back into the Standing Forward Bend with your hands on the ground and head hanging loose. Surrender into this last forward fold, releasing any tension.
Inhale, reaching your arms out wide to the sides as you lift up from your hips with a flat back. As you reach standing position, bring your arms up over your head and feel energy rush through as you reach up towards the sky as far as you can.
Exhale and bring your hands back down to your sides as you return to Mountain Pose. Stay here for a couple breaths while you let the poses have time to settle in your body. You may continue this series for as long as you like.
After you perform these poses repeatedly and sweat out toxins, make sure to replenish your fluids with a healthy drink like Cool Cane Juice.