Have you ever wondered how certain women, particularly yoga instructors, stay so peppy and upbeat every day? We’re sure Green Tea and caffeine play a role, but when you’re dragging yourself out of bed like it’s the biggest hurdle you’ve ever faced, it doesn’t seem like any amount of caffeine will help. Do you want to know the secret? A 15-minute yoga routine every morning can completely transform your day.
So, while you’re dragging yourself out of bed, make a detour to your yoga mat, and perform our feel good poses to perk you up, stretch your muscles, and lengthen your spine. Completing this simple routine every morning will leave you feeling focused, centered, and ready to take on the world. No prior experience needed.
1. Arrive: Get started by sitting cross-legged on your mat with your hands in Anjali Mudra, palms pressed lightly together at your chest. Start by setting an intention for the day ahead—a short, positive sentence or word that will uplift you for the rest of your day.
2. Cat/Cow: Warm up the spin by getting onto your hands and knees. Your shoulders should be directly over your wrists, fingers spread wide, and your hips above your knees. Inhale and lift your head as your belly dips. Let your back bow and extend your neck so your face is forward. Then, exhale and round your back, pushing your navel into your back and lowering your head so you’re looking at your knees. Inhale and exhale for at least five to six breaths.
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3. Plank: From your hands and knees, step both feet back so your body is in a long line. Keep your neck straight, your shoulders over your wrists, and your back flat. Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds.
4. Downward Dog: Hands and feet, shoulder-width apart, spread your fingers wide. Then, slowly glide your hips up and back, starting with the knees bent. As you can, straighten your knees and keep your heels flat on the floor, until you look like an upside down “V.” Keep your neck and back straight. Hold the pose for five or six full breaths.
5. Open Hip: Float the right back leg straight up into the air. Bend the knee and take the heel toward your butt. After several breaths, switch legs.
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6. Low Lunge: Step your right foot forward between your hands, as slowly and smoothly as you can. Sweep your arms overhead, fingers reaching toward the sky. Lengthen your back foot so that your shin rests on the floor and the bottom of your foot points at the ceiling. Hold the pose for five to six breaths and then switch legs.
7. High Lunge: Repeat the first pose but this time take your back shin off the mat and engage your back foot. Hold for five to six breaths and switch legs again.
8. High Lunge Twist: From the high lunge position, slowly lower the opposite arm to your front leg to the ground until your palm is flat on the ground. Keep your other arm reaching toward the sky, and twist your chest in the direction of your bent knee. Stretch your neck and gaze upward. Hold the pose for five to six breaths. Step backward into Downward Dog and then switch legs.
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9. Side Stretch: Slowly stand up, moving your back one vertebra at a time until you are standing with your feet together. Lift your hands straight into the air and then lace your fingers together, palms facing each other. Distribute your weight evenly and then lean to the right, pressing your left hip to the left. Stay for a few breaths and then lean to the other side.
10. Tree Pose: Come back to center and unlace your fingers. Keeping your arms in the air, slowly raise one foot up the opposite leg, the base of your foot resting against your calf and then thigh. Raise the leg, bending it at the knee, as high as you can get it. Keep your hips open and your knee facing outward. Inhale and exhale for five to six breaths and then switch legs.
At the end of your 15-minute yoga routine, stand or sit quietly and breathe for a few breaths as you let go of the night and breathe in the day. Now, you’re ready to take on the world!