Yoga Poses to Prep The Body & Mind

Mornings can be such a hectic rush that we forget the importance of taking a moment to collect ourselves and our thoughts beforeΒ a busy day ahead. Something as simple as half-an hour with a book – or Netflix lets be honest – can do a lot to influence our energy levels and mindset for the day.

For those looking to squeeze in a quick yoga session before work, this sequence is exactly for you. These few poses I’ve put together are not focused solely on flexibility but to release any tension in areas that can start to give you aches and pains through the course of the day. For example, backache, butt aches and pins and needles from keeping stagnant too long. The combination of these poses can also help to clear your mind and give you a little kickstart of energy.

I’ve given shorter sets for each pose as I designed this set of poses keeping in mind the little time people have in the morning before work, but you can always alter the length of each set to your comfort if you have less or more time. This sequence is designed for all levels of practitioners so if you are new to yoga, don’t panic! Take your time to get deeper into each pose and always stick to what’s comfortable for your body.

Comment below if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to answer! xo

1. Breathing Exercise/Pranayama

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Adding in a breathing exercise to your morning yoga routine – or even just your morning routine – can go as far as to alter your mental state through the day and influence how you handle stressful situations. Perhaps a longer story for another day, if you would like me to post something up about that? But basically, breathing exercises in yoga help to guide your mind into a state of relaxation and increase your lung capacity as well. Of course this is over time and with consistent practice.

  • Begin by sitting in a cross-legged comfortable position, you can add a block or towel underneath your sitting bone to help you straighten your posture.
  • Start to inhale through your nose counting up to 5

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  • Drop the chin into the chest and hold the breath for the count of 5
  • Lift the chin up again and exhale for the count of 5
  • If you feel like you can inhale, hold the breath, or exhale for a longer time, adjust as is comfortable for yourself
  • Repeat this 3 times

2. Basic Seated Twist

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Twists are great for the digestive system, especially in the morning with an empty belly, plus it helps to stretch out a stiff neck and back. This seated twist variation is also a good start for anyone who struggle in twists. For more benefits on twist and other variations you can check out my blog post here.

  • Begin to inhale in a neutral spine and exhale into the twist
  • While holding the twist you can take another inhale, lifting the chest as you do, and exhale to deepen the twist
  • Repeat on other side
  • Hold for 30 seconds on each respective side of the body

3. Butterfly Pose

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If you are someone who struggles to flatten their knees in this pose, let alone take the body further forward, don’t fret! I’ve been there, and only just last year. This is where I am now and you can get there too. Again, its all about consistency in your practice. We tend to hold lots of emotional stress and tension in our hips, so this pose is a great addition to your morning to release any of that stress and start the day with a fresh mind. Having to contact the knees in the pose also encourages fresh blood-flow there when the pose is released. Perfect for anyone with achy knee joints…like me!

  • Take the soles of your feet together to touch
  • Hold on to your toes and lean the body forward
  • Use your elbows to gently…GENTLY open up the knees
  • If your knees are flat, take the forward as above to deepen the stretch

4. Back Stretch & Wind Relieving Pose

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This stretch kills two birds with one stone. Hugging the knee into the chest helps to massage the cologne and you got it, relieve wind. Don’t be ashamed to let a nice loud burp or fart while holding this pose. Having the base leg bent while hugging the other knee into your chest is easy on the hamstrings and can help with any morning stiffness in your back.

  • Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet planted on the floor.
  • Hug the right knee into your chest.
  • Hold for 30-45 seconds.
  • Repeat with left leg.

5. Thread the Needle Pose

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Thread the needle is one of the best stretches out there for your glutes AKA your bum. People tend to neglect stretching out their bum, but little do they know that tightness in this muscle can lead to back pain. It doesn’t help if your job requires you to sit in a chair for most of the day, causing even more stiffness, so this is a great way to release that muscle and help to ease back pain.

  • Place the outside of your right foot (pinky toe side) on top of your left thigh
  • Hug the left leg into your chest by threading the right hand into the gap between your legs, and the left hand holds on to the left thigh from the outside
  • Repeat on other side.

6. Plough Pose

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This pose can be a leeeetle tricky for anyone not familiar with plough pose but don’t fret, “practice and all is coming” No, really, it is all about practice, and simply taking your practice at a pace comfortable for you and your body. This pose is great to open and lengthen the spine in the morning, when its the shortest, and get out any kinks. Plough pose is also known as an anti-aging pose since it encourages increased blood-flow and circulation to your facial muscles. DOUBLE WHAMMY!

  • Begin by lying on your back and bringing your legs up to ninety degrees.
  • Gently, and with control, roll your legs over your head using your hands to guide and support your lower back.
  • Keep your chin tucked into your chest, and keep breathing normally.
  • Hold for 10-30 seconds.
  • Exit the pose by lowering the entire back first then lowering the legs slowly.

7. Fish Pose

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Its alwaysΒ healthier to give the spine an opposite movement. For example, after we’ve rounded the spine in our plough pose, we now want to take a back-bend to neutralise the spine and prevent injury. Back-bends are also great for anyone suffering from herniated or slip discs, or a great way to prevent slip discs in the future.

  • Begin by lying on your back with your hands straight down beside you cupping your thighs.
  • Press into the elbows to life the shoulders, back, and head off the floor.
  • Look behind you, tilt the chin up to the ceiling, and place the crown of your head on the floor.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
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