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Get motivated in minutes with morning yoga

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Late nights — spent working or out with friends, stress, insomnia and late night television keep most of us from getting the sleep we need. We wake too tired in the morning. Sure, you can grab your hot cup of coffee or tea and sluggishly make your way out into the world. But there’s a better way… one that gets your blood pumping, your body oxygenated and your spirit motivated to help get you on the right foot for a fabulous day.

In today’s video, yoga teacher Lauren Golen will show you two amazing exercises:

First Lauren will teach you a simple yet powerful pranayama breathing exercise with movement that will energize your lungs and mind. This she follows with a modified sun salutation that will stretch, lengthen and energize the body. Let’s take a look!

Breathing exercise

Stand up straight and bring your toes together, heel a bit apart.

You want the sensation of your weight pressing down through the floor to engage your thighs.

Interlock all 10 fingers and place your hand under your chin. Keep your spine straight.

Inhale for six (6) seconds as you elevate your elbows to their respective sides, as Lauren shows in the video. This inhalation opens the rib cage and lengthens the spine to allow fresh oxygen into the lungs and circulation in the upper back.

Now exhale for six seconds as you tilt your head back, keep your hands in place, and move your elbows together, as shown in the video. The exhalation opens the space around your scapula and stretches the rhomboids and other mid- and upper-back muscles.

Remember to inhale through your nose with a closed mouth. Exhale through your open mouth, making the “haaa” sounds as you do so.

10 sets is a great way to begin energizing your day!

Simplified sun salutation

This next exercise is a modified sun salutation, without the up-dog and down-dog movements. It does retain the backward and forward bending of the spine to help invigorate you in the morning and get that stiffness out.

Begin by standing tall with spine straight and feet together.

Inhale while binging your arms up over your head.

As you exhale, fold at your waist but keep your spine straight, arm extending out to their sides and meeting down at the floor. (See video for detail). Touch the floor with your hands if possible; if not, then touch your shins.

Try to pull your head to your knees, with legs straight. If this is too difficult, which it may be generally or especially first thing in the morning, then pull your head to bend knees.

Inhale as you lengthen the legs and spine out, so your body makes a number 7, hand on your shins. Exhale back down to the previous position.

Inhale and repeat, this timing bringing your hands to your waist, and come all the way back up keeping a straight spine. Raise your arms up over your head and then lower them while exhaling.

Repeat this sequence for a total of five sets of this active stretch, more if you feel great doing them.

Three to five minutes yoga exercises to help start your day. Create lots of momentum and inspiration for yourself.

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