Reaching for your third cup of coffee in a bid to give you the energy to get through the day? You’re not alone, more often than not most of us have conditioned ourselves into thinking that coffee is the answer to all our problems, while starting your day with a cup of coffee is fine, relying on it to get you through the day may not be the best approach.
So what can you do to gain that energy boost to take you through the rest of the day you ask? Yoga is our answer. Morning yoga practice helps to compress and decompress the veins in different parts of our body and gravity assists in flushing stagnant blood, reversing blood flow. Improving our circulation in the morning, sets us up to feel more energised, puts us in a better mood, and above all helps us think clearly.
Now, this may set off several questions in your mind, such as, I don’t have time for that, I don’t do yoga, I’m not flexible as I once was, how much time would I have to dedicate to this and lastly, I’m not sure of the current location of my yoga mat. While we don’t have an answer to the final question, we can help you out with the others. Let’s explore why you should exchange your coffee with a yoga mat and here’s the kicker, you’ll have to do this only once a day and few times a week to see the benefits.
Why will the yoga routine boost your energy?
In yoga theory, nadis carry prana, life force energy. In the physical body, the nadis are channels carrying air, water, nutrients, blood, and other bodily fluids around and the channels are arteries, veins, capillaries, bronchioles, lymph canals, and so on. The hatha yoga pradipika states that there are 72,000 nadis or energy channels in humans. A person is believed to be active and energetic when the flow of prana or energy is smooth without blockage.
As our schedules become more demanding, our priorities shift, which in turn affects our health, vitality, and awareness, creating various stresses, causing contractions that impair or block the proper flow of prana through the channels. It inhibits the circulation of energy and nutrients while allowing toxins and waste materials to accumulate, such blockages cause discomfort and reduce optimal functioning.
The ultimate objective of yoga is the awakening of kundalini Shakthi, the dormant energy. Practising yoga regularly stimulate the chakras, distributing the generated energy of kundalini all over the body.
What happens when you practice yoga in the morning?
Practising yoga increases your energy, power, strength, and endurance whilst strengthening the body’s weak or under-activated areas.
It is excellent to reduce fatigue and it helps adjust and control the hormonal function in the body, releases tension, energises your system from the inside out, sharpens your focus, and all that deep breathing increases your oxygen intake to help you feel more alert. Know how deep breathing lowers blood sugar.
Morning Yoga Practice Pro tip
You need only 20 – 30 minutes to do these poses and it is best to do them first thing in the morning or the evening around sunset, you don’t need to be a regular practitioner to do these poses, you don’t need to be flexible to these poses – while executing these poses make sure to listen to your body and respect its limits because remember the goal is not acing these poses but to allow your body to breathe and re-centre. Lastly, be sure to wear comfortable clothing when doing these poses to allow your body to stretch easily.
Morning Yoga Poses to energise you
Morning Yoga Practice Pro tip
I recommend you warm up your body before attempting these backbend poses beforehand – doing these stretches beforehand is a great way to warm up the spine and prepare your body. Attempting these poses, especially the deeper backbends, before a proper warm-up could cause injury and pain, so be sure to take care of yourself.
1. Sukhasana (easy pose)
2. Paschimottanasana (forward bend)
3. Balasana (Child’s pose)
Seven Easy Morning Yoga Pose Energising poses
1. Mountain Pose
Stand still with your arms at your sides and your feet hip-width apart, toes facing forward and feet parallel. Distribute your weight evenly on both feet; avoid leaning forward or backward. Adjust your posture so your shoulders, hips, hands, knees and ankles are in one line. Roll your shoulders back and down to open your chest, tuck your chin in slightly so your ears align over your shoulders, and breathe deeply through your nose. Hold for one breath.
Morning Yoga Pro tip 1
This pose goes beyond simply standing in place. Use it as an opportunity for you to focus inward and fine-tune your posture.
2. Extended Mountain
From Mountain Pose, breathe in and raise your arms outward from your sides to above your head. Your palms should be facing each other with your hands shoulder-width apart and arms straight. With your arms still raised, gently extend your spine until your back is curved slightly inward and you’re reaching your arms slightly behind you. Hold for one breath. Still keeping your abs tight, release, and transition right away into Standing Forward Bend.
Morning Yoga Pro tip 2
Keep your abs contracted throughout this exercise to help protect your back.
3. Standing Forward Bend
Exhale and bend forward from your waist, keeping your spine as long as possible while reaching your arms straight down toward the floor. Place your hands on the floor or your shins or thighs, depending on what is most comfortable. Gaze at the front of your legs; hold for one breath. Inhale and bend your knees so you can comfortably place your fingertips or palms on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Your hands should be in front of your feet, pointing forward.
Morning Yoga Pro tip 3
Relax the back of your neck, allowing the crown of your head to point downward. If bending forward isn’t comfortable, rest your forearms on the seat of a sturdy chair.
4. Upward Dog
With hands, hips, thighs and feet on the floor, point your toes so the soles of your feet face the ceiling. Your hands should still be aligned under your shoulders. Inhale and straighten your arms, pressing through your hands and lifting hips off the floor. As you lift your hips, slide them slightly forward toward your hands. Open your chest and gently slide shoulder blades downward. Your feet and knees should still be on the floor. Hold for one breath as you look slightly upward. To release, slowly raise your hips and get onto your hands and knees before transitioning to Downward Dog.
Morning Yoga Pro tip 4
Lengthen upward through the spine and roll your shoulders back and down to encourage deep breathing and a good stretch in the chest and front of the shoulders.
5. Downward Dog
With palms on the floor, curl your toes under and exhale, lifting your hips toward the ceiling, straightening your legs and pressing your heels toward the floor (it’s okay if heels don’t touch the floor). Draw your abs in as you spread your fingers and toes. Gaze through your feet with the crown of your head pointing downward. Your ears should be next to your upper arms. Hold for one breath, then bend your legs and get back onto your hands and knees with your spine straight.
Morning Yoga Pro tip 5
Emphasize lifting your hips toward the ceiling to stretch your back and legs and protect your shoulders. You may bend your knees if it’s more comfortable than holding your legs straight.
6. Knees to Chest
From being on your hands and knees, slowly lower your right hip to the floor until you’re sitting. Then gently roll over onto your back with feet on the floor and knees bent. Exhale as you lift your feet off the floor to “hug” your knees into your chest, tucking the chin in slightly. Gently place your hands on your knees or shins. Relax your lower back as you gently press your sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of your spine just above your tailbone) toward the floor.
Morning Yoga Pro tip 6
Hold for 10 breaths. Then slowly lower your feet back to the floor and place your arms on the floor at your sides with your palm.
Adjust footing so your ankles are under your knees, toes pointing away from you. Inhale and contract your abs, lifting your hips off the floor. Lift your spine upward, arching it to open the chest as you roll your shoulders under and in. (If that’s difficult, keep the spine straight instead.) Keep your arms on the floor or place palms on your low back for support. Hold for 10 breaths. To release, lift your heels off the floor, tighten your abs and slowly lower your spine to the floor, starting from the top of your back. Repeat pose 7 for another 10 breaths before repeating the full sequence two to four more times.
Morning Yoga Pro tip 7
Gently raise your hips a little higher with each deep breath, pressing your feet into the floor as you arch your spine.
These simple yoga stretches will help keep you energised throughout the day, the switch from coffee to yoga may be hard but the key is balance, start with alternate days and slowly incorporate these stretches into your routine and be mindful of your choices. Always start slow and before you know it, you will breezing through your day.