A 10-15 minute gentle yoga practice at the beginning and end of each day brings an intention of self-care and balance to our lives. Further, allowing ourselves to gently wake and ringing the stress of the day out of our bodies before bed invites much needed calm and ease to our nervous systems. Here are two of my favorite yoga sequences to bookend your day.
Breathing is a Core Element:
Remember to breathe slowly and deeply as you relax into each stretch. The breath is just as important as the pose. Pause between each pose to bring your focus back to breathing slowly and deeply.
I am including links to Yoga Journal for most of these poses since they do a great job of explaining and illustrating.
Morning Yoga Sequence
1. Reclined Knee to Chest
How-to: Lie down on your back, arms and legs straight. Lift one knee into your chest. Flex both of your feet pulling your toes up toward your knee. Hold the shin with both hands, or hook your elbow over the shin to provide some weight and help the knee release closer to your chest. Breathe slow and steady deepening the stretch with each exhale. Hold for the pose through 4 rounds of breathing (inhale/exhale). Release and relax into a deeper breath. Repeat on next side. This is one rep. Do two reps total before moving on.
2. Reclined big Toe Pose (click here for instructions)
3. Seated Twist (Click here for instructions)
4. Cat and Cow (Click here for Cat Instructions)
5. Sun Bird
How to: Return to “Table Top” (flat back, hands flat on floor below shoulders, knees on floor directly under hips) position after last round of cat and cow. From here extend your RIGHT arm straight out in front of you like superman, parallel to the floor. Take a deep breath and extend your LEFT leg straight out behind you on the exhale. Hold and breathe for 5 full breaths. Release back to “Table Top”. Repeat with LEFT arm and RIGHT leg outstretched.
If you have mastered this pose you may choose this variation to add a deep stretch to this balancing pose. Royal Sunbird (Click here)
6. Brief meditation: Sit quietly for 3-5 minutes with your eyes closed and focusing on your breath. This is a good time to set intentions for the energy you would like to bring to this new day. Visualize yourself moving through your day and having interactions with other people in this energy state.
Bed Time: This sequence focuses heavily on forward bends as they are great for soothing our nervous systems and releasing tension and anxiety. (Click the pose for instructions)
Pause and return to your breath after each pose. Move slowly with your breath as you transition from one pose to the next.
2. Cat and Cow- 4-8 reps
5. Return to Child’s Pose for 4 breaths
11. Shivasana for a few minutes
When coming out of Shivasana roll to your side and slowly come to sitting. Continue to move slowly bringing the ease and relaxation you just created to your pillow. Sweet Dreams!