Wake and stretch
Raise your hand if you typically start your day with one or two (or three) taps to the snooze button and a mad dash around the house in an attempt to get ready in time for work. The morning hustle doesn’t make for the most relaxing start to the day.
Starting your day with morning yoga stretches will help you feel relaxed and more in tune with your body and mind. It can kick off your day in the right way, leaving you ready to take on the world.
Plus, keeping up with a regular stretching routine is a good idea for people of all fitness levels too.
Let this advice guide you through an a.m. routine that will help you loosen up and set your mind and body up for a successful day.
What are the benefits of yoga?
Regular yoga practice has many benefits, including enhancing flexibility, promoting relaxation, and improving concentration, says Dr Zachary Mulvihill, an integrative medicine physician.
Even better news: it can help manage low back pain, a condition often exacerbated by the sedentary nature of many jobs.
Yoga can release tension in the muscles of the back, which assists in pain relief, he says. The practice can also help in easing other posture-related aches and pains.
The benefits go beyond the physical. According to a review in BMC Psychiatry, yoga may improve sleep. Researchers looked at 19 studies involving 1,832 people and found that women who did yoga had improved sleep quality compared with those who didn’t do yoga.
Other research, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found that yoga may help anxiety. The study looked at 226 adults with generalised anxiety disorder who either underwent cognitive behavioural therapy, did kundalini yoga, or received stress-management education for three months.
They found that 54 percent of those who did yoga saw an improvement in their symptoms. Yoga was more effective than stress-management education but not as effective as cognitive behavioural therapy.
Why should I do morning yoga stretches?
“We naturally wake up stiff in the morning from lack of movement during the night,” says Jess Gronholm, a yoga instructor and founder of HIIT and Run Yoga. “Depending on how we slept, that can include a stiff neck and low back pain. Yoga poses encourage you to move your body in a way that truly wakes important muscles up.”
In addition to waking up your body, starting your day with movement that helps you tune into your breath and what’s going on in your mind means you prep your headspace for the day ahead, too, says Gronholm.
One thing to keep in mind before you jump into stretches in the morning: we’re at our least flexible right out of bed, so you have to ease into it.
“Keep in mind that when it comes to flexibility, we always see our limits – what we can’t do, rather than what we can,” he says.
Let go of any expectations and just move in a way that feels good for you and your body.