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There are many reasons to start your day with a morning yoga routine. The morning is a great time to practice yoga poses because it prepares your body and mind for the day ahead. It can also be hard to find time to practice yoga during the day, and at night you might be too tired to do anything. A short series of yoga stretches and poses with mindful deep breaths can keep your body loose and limber, help you release stress and tension, energize your body and calm your mind. To help you get a splendid start to your day, we’ve gathered 18 of the best morning yoga stretches and poses, so you can power your way through the day with peace and productivity.
Tips for practicing morning yoga
- Start slow and warm up the body with rhythmic movements.
- Gently work on building up to deeper stretches.
- Experiment with different asanas to find the best energizing yoga routine for you.
- A faster paced Vinyasa yoga style of movement will be more energizing.
- Incorporate a few minutes of energizing pranayama like breath of fire.
- Be mindful to take slow breaths regardless of the pace of your practice.
- A regular practice and a minimum 15-minute morning yoga routine is recommended to receive the most benefits of yoga.
- Place the most energizing asanas at the end of your morning sequence of postures.
- If you have a hard time waking up, practice morning yoga in bed!
The best morning yoga stretches and poses
We’ve asked several yoga experts for a few of their favorite morning yoga stretches and poses. Practice one or more of these stretches and poses to get up and get moving, and help you start your day feeling refreshed and energized. It’s easy to make yoga work anywhere—all you need is a modest amount of space and a desire to create a healthier body and a more peaceful mind. Choose from a selection of simple poses that you can do at home, or aim to build up to a more strenuous routine. Click on the pose photos for detailed step-by-step instructions.
Mountain Pose / Tadasana
Froggett recommends holding the hands in prayer position to encourage “a feeling of faith, acceptance, commitment” and to use the pose as an active meditation to provide “a few minutes to introspect, set an intention for the day ahead, or a chance to let go of something you may have been holding onto overnight. This in turn can leave you feeling energized and prepared for the day ahead, and often with new and creative ideas to take with you into your day with momentum, ease and grace.”
Cat and Cow pose / Marjaryasana and Bitilasana
Child’s pose / Balasana
Hero pose / Virasana
Downward Facing Dog pose / Adho Mukha Svanasana
Sun Salutation A / Surya Namaskar A
Welcome the warming and energizing nature of the sun as you flow through the movements in the sun salutation sequence. “Surya Namaskar A is a key aspect of Ashtanga Yoga which is typically practiced in the morning before eating,” notes Shiels. “This dynamic sequence is a perfect way to warm up your body, increase flexibility and strength, and leave you feeling energised for the rest of the day.” Use the repetitive nature of the sun salutation to connect with your breath and clear your mind. “A common practice is to repeat the Surya Namaskar 108 times,” says Shiels. ” However, even a few rounds of this wonderful sequence is enough to bring energy into the body, so you can greet the day with positivity and gratitude.”
Cobra pose / Bhujangasana
Bhunjangasna exercises and tones the deep muscles of the back that support the spinal column to support good posture. Froggett adds, “backbends have a strong impact on your hormones, secretions and chemicals in your brain which stimulate the body and generate feelings of confidence, strong self-esteem and willpower. An added bonus to this pose is the gentle pressure it puts on the abdomen and pelvis, which kick starts your digestive organs into action. Best done on an empty stomach.”
Low Lunge pose / Anjaneyasana
Camel pose / Ustrasana
Chair pose / Utkatasana
Twisted Chair pose / Parivrtta Utkatana
Dancer pose / Natarajasana
Warrior II / Virabhadrasana II
Warrior I / Virabhadrasana I
Warrior III / Virabhadrasana III
Triangle pose / Trikonasana
Wide-Legged Forward Fold pose / Prasarita Padottanasana
Pigeon pose / Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
Bow pose / Dhanurasana
Seated Spinal Twist pose / Ardha Matsyendrasana
Seated Forward Fold pose / Paschimottanasana
This posture encourages a feeling of letting go, surrender and release as Froggett explains, “I love how it can help me let go of anything that I might have woken up thinking about and really helps me start the day with a fresh slate. The nature of a forward fold is that it’s hard to do anything but breath and let go, so it’s wonderful for getting you grounded, focused and ready for the day.”
Bridge pose / Setu Bandha Sarvangasana