Finally we’re starting to leave behind the colder months and see the Spring making a brave appearance with the brighter mornings. I’ve always been a morning person – I love catching a glimpse of the silent sleeping world, with the anticipation of the start of a new day. It’s definitely my favourite time of day to get on my mat and instill a bit of calm. Getting on your mat in the morning is about taking time for self care, and realigning yourself physically and mentally for the day ahead. There is a misconception that if you’re not practicing for at least an hour you’re not ‘doing it properly’. You will still get lots of benefits from a simple 10 to 15 minutes flow of some of your favourite yoga poses. You’ll find that as you get into the routine, you’ll start to naturally wake up a little bit earlier and be ready for your practice.
THERE IS BEAUTY IN SIMPLICITY
Most mornings I like to keep my practice simple, and take a few extra breaths in each pose to scan through the sensations that arise. After years of not listening I’m finally more patient with my muscles, especially my hamstrings, and give them plenty of gentle encouraging to open up. I find when I have stretched and strengthened in the morning, and have oiled up the synovial fluid in all my joints, I can sit more comfortably throughout the day with more awareness of posture, and the importance of taking breaks from sitting.
FEEL THE BENEFITS
Morning yoga stimulates the gut – waking up good digestion for the day and builds a strong immune system. A healthy happy digestive system nurtures an Ayurvedic principle of ‘ojas’ – which means vitality or glow, and is considered to be the essence of health that supports wellness. Breath awareness in yoga triggers the ‘rest, restore and digest’ nervous system. When this conscious breath is practiced as part of your daily routine it rewires your brain to naturally reach for this calmer reaction rather than a ‘flight or flight’ response. Of course there is always exceptions where a bit of fight or flight is needed, but with awareness your responses are more informed and less reactive.
EXPLORING SIMPLICITY IN YOUR PRACTICE
This sequence has a bit of everything that will get your day off to a great start. Move slowly through the sequence and pause to take extra breaths when you encounter tightness. You can tailor the length of your flow by picking just one of the three main standing flows, skipping the extra vinyasas which link the flows, or reducing the amount of repetitions on some of the poses. In order to feel the cumulative benefits of this sequence, and get a sense of serenity in familiarity, practice this same sequence for 2-3 weeks. If practicing everyday is daunting for you, start with aiming for a 2-3 days a week, for 10-15 mins, and let it naturally build it up from there.
The peak pose for this sequence is Virabhadrasana II/Warrior II one of the classic poses of yoga that you will likely find in most sequences. Read through these alignment cues to find your expression of Warrior II.
From Adho Mukha Svanasana, ground your left foot at a 45 degree angle. Inhale, step your right foot between your hands, check for front heel to back arch alignment, exhale here.
Inhale, press into your feet to come up, open your hips to the side of the mat, front knee bent. Left hip naturally sits forward of your right hip. Reach your arms out to shoulder height, palms facing down.
Stack your front knee over your front ankle, working towards your front thigh being parallel to the ground.
Lift your inner thighs, roll your outer left thigh down, hug your right hip in, gaze to your right fingertips.
If you are interested to get your morning routine going join me in The Yoga Room for my brighter morning class every Tuesday, 6:30am - 7:30am. Start your day the best way possible and notice the difference it makes to your day.
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Ruth Delahunty Yogaru