After 7-8 hours (hopefully) of shut eye, our body responds affectionately to movement, and our mind is clear and receptive to positive ideas and messages. Our breath is ready for us to deepen and expand its potency, and our energy is just waiting to be stirred up after a long siesta.
There are countless asanas and awesome yoga poses that all have amazing benefits, so I actually found it really challenging to pick a list of 7. They’re all quite simple, so even if you’ve never done any yoga and don’t think of yourself as “flexible,” you’ll be able to master these without a problem.
The first time you do these poses, it’s good not to stay in them too long. One minute is plenty. Later, you can extend the pose to five minutes or even longer.
1. SURYA NAMASKAR (SUN SALUTATIONS)
There are several variations to this sequence of postures known as salute to the sun. They’re traditionally practiced as the sun is rising, and whichever version of Surya Namaskar you practice, they’re a great way to warm up and start to sync movement of the body with the flow of the breath.
As they work all of the 7 major chakras, they’ll help you light up energetically and the rhythmic movement can help create a sense of inner calm.
2. UTKATASANA (CHAIR POSE)
It’s most commonly called Chair Pose, which kinda suggests something comfortable and relaxing. Personally, I think it’s more appropriate to use one Utkatasana’s other translations, Thunderbolt, Fierce Pose or Awkward Pose.
Call it what you will, Utkatasana is an amazing way to generate heat in the body and quickly build energy. It activates the core and the legs and challenges your mind to stay present and positive, all great benefits for a morning practice.
3. ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (DOWNWARD FACING DOG)
If you only have time for one in the morning, I’d make it this one. The whole body’s involved so it’s a great way to wake up every part of your physique. That beautiful stretch through the backs of the legs and hips just feels incredible. It’s little wonder our canine friends do this one naturally when they wake up…
4. BALASANA – CHILD’S POSE
If you have knee problems, this one probably isn’t a good idea. But for everyone else, this pose will relax your nervous system, back, shoulders, belly, and your mind.
If your rear end doesn’t reach your heels, fold a blanket a few times over and tuck it under your bum so you can really let go. You can stretch your arms out in front of you or let them relax at your sides. Set an alarm so you know when to come out of the pose. While you’re in the Child’s Pose be sure to breathe deeply, especially into your back.
5. SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA — BOUND ANGLE RECLINING POSE
Some people call this the butterfly pose: lying on your back, prop up your knees, place the soles of your feet together and gently let your knees fall away to the sides.
Most of us can’t lie flat in this pose. Our knees will be at least a few inches away from the ground. So to relax, put a stack of books or a rolled up blanket or pillow under each knee. Let your arms splay out at your sides, totally relaxed as well. Breathe all the way in to your lower belly.
6. SUPTA MATSYENDRASANA – RECLINING SPINAL TWIST
Lying on your back, prop up your knees and then let them fall over to the right side. You can stabilize your legs by holding the left thigh with your right hand. But at the same time, stretch your left arm out to the left and gently roll your head to the left.
Here too, you want both shoulders to relax into the ground as much as possible. And yes, breathe! Then repeat the pose on the other side.
7. VIPARITA KARANI — LEGS UP THE WALL POSE
Find a free wall where there’s enough space on the ground to lie down and prop your legs against the wall. Let your arms rest at your sides and your shoulders melt into the ground. Breathe into your whole chest.
If you’re on the stiff side, you may want to be a little further from the wall for a gentler stretch. And for anyone with lower back issues, you can try tucking a blanket or pillow under your tailbone as a support.