Yoga is a great way to begin your day. You don’t need to squeeze in an hour long session at your local yoga studio, or sweat it out in a room full of your closet strangers in order to benefit from this tradition.
The four yoga poses will brighten your morning before you head off to face the world. Adjust the intensity to fit your level. Yoga should be relaxing, not painful. If it hurts, modify the movement so that it’s comfortable.
We suggest doing two to three rounds of these poses each morning before breakfast.
This pose stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips, all muscles that get pretty tense after sitting in an office chair all day. It also helps to strengthen your legs and the muscles and joints around your knees.
To practice this movement, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Gently hinge forward at your hips, lowering your torso toward the floor. To take any pressure off your low back, bend your knees. Relax your head, neck and shoulders, slowly moving your upper body toward the floor.
This pose stretches your shoulders and hips, while strengthening your upper and lower body. Come into a lunge position with your right foot facing forward and your left toe facing out. Inhale and reach your arms up alongside your head with your palms facing in. Drop your shoulders and lengthen your torso up high. Repeat on other side.
Downward Facing Dog
This pose is excellent to improve foot and ankle flexibility, stretch your calves, hamstrings and back, and strengthen your upper body. Start in a table top position on your hands and knees. Lift your knees off the floor and straighten your legs. Walk your hands forward a few inches and walk your feet back the same distance. Press your heels down toward the floor (your goal is to have flat feet on the floor). Let your shoulder blades relax back toward your feet, and relax your head. Engage your core muscle while breathing deeply.
This is a great transition from downward facing dog. It stretches your abdominals, chest, and front shoulders. Lie facedown on your yoga mat, placing your hands by your chest. Press up, raising your head and chest off the floor, lifting your entire torso while keeping your lower body in position. Raise as high as you can comfortably and lower back down.
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