This 5-Minute Morning Yoga Flow Will Transform Your A.M. Routine
Sadly, there's no one quick fix for becoming a morning person. (Turns out, your genes might even decide whether you are one or not.) However, creating a daily morning ritual that you look forward to (uh, coffee!) can help persuade you to get out of bed.
This morning yoga flow from yogi Claire Grieve is the perfect feel-good addition to your morning routine. In just five minutes, you can follow this Vinyasa to wake up your mind and body and start your day on a better note. (Also try her yoga flow to stretch and strengthen your legs.)
"Practice this morning yoga flow first thing to get your blood pumping and your systems moving," says Grieve. "It'll generate natural energy that will allow you to bring a brilliant vibrancy to your day."
Plus, the flow is what you make of it: If you're in a rush, you can breeze through this flow just like Grieve does in the video. Have a few minutes to spare? Hold each pose for the number of optional breaths indicated below.
Sun salutation: Start standing tall in mountain pose. Inhale and sweep arms up to the sky. Exhale to fold forward over legs. Inhale, lifting the torso halfway up with a flat back. Exhale, drop back down into a forward fold and step or hop legs back into a high plank, immediately lowering into Chaturanga. Inhale to flip feet and lift head and chest into upward facing dog, and exhale to roll over the tops of both feet and send hips back into downward facing dog. Hands should be shoulder-width apart and feet should be hip-width apart with heels reaching toward the mat.
Knee-to-nose: From downward facing dog, raise the right leg to the sky. Shift your shoulders over wrists to move forward into a high plank position and draw the right knee into nose.
Crescent lunge: From knee-to-nose, extend the right leg back up, then step the foot through between hands with the knee aligned over the ankle, bent at 90 degrees. Balance on the ball of the left foot with the left leg strong and straight and hips square to the front of the mat. Inhale to raise torso to stand, sweeping arms up to the sky. Relax shoulders down, tuck tailbone, and engage core to balance.
High lunge twist: From crescent lunge, gently twist torso open towards the right leg. Place the left hand on the ground and reach right arm towards the sky, gazing up toward fingertips. (Optional: Hold for 5 breaths, repeating equally on the other side.)
Side plank: From high lunge twist, roll on to the outside edge of the left foot and step the right foot back, placing it on top of the left foot. Ankles, knees, and hips should be stacked. Shoulders should be aligned over wrists. Reach up with the right arm and look up toward fingertips. Hold for 2 to 3 breaths. (Optional: For a challenge, lift the right leg and hover, keeping shoulders, hips, and feet in a straight line.)
Warrior II: From side plank, step the right leg through to the front of the mat. Pivot the back foot to a 45-degree angle with toes pointing to the forward outside (left) corner of the mat. Deeply bend the front knee and extend both arms at shoulder height. Feel constant energy extending through both legs and arms while bending deeper and deeper into the front leg.
Reverse warrior: Slide the left hand down the left leg and rest it on the thigh or shin. Inhale to lift the top arm up toward the ceiling, gently reaching back by the ear, spreading fingers wide and looking up toward the sky. Keep both legs strong, sink hips toward the floor, and relax shoulders. Breathe into the ribcage creating more space in your torso instead of crunching backward. (Optional: Hold for 5 breaths, repeating equally on the other side.)
Extended side angle: From reverse warrior, sweep right arm forward to return to warrior II. Place the right fingertips on the floor (or a block inside the right foot). Reach the left arm up and past ear toward the front of the room. Press down on the outer edge of the back foot.
Wild thing: From extended side angle, place both hands on the mat shoulder-width apart, rotating into high plank. Shift hips back to downward dog and extend the right leg up and back. Let your right leg fall across the left to carefully make contact with the floor, flipping body over, rotating onto the outside of the left foot, and extending the right arm next to ear.
Vinyasa: From wild thing, carefully flip back over to a high plank. Slowly lower bent elbows back to lower chest into Chaturanga, so that upper arms are parallel with the floor. Inhale to roll over toes into upward facing dog, then flip over feet and exhale to send hips up and back to downward facing dog.
Chair: From downward dog, carefully walk or hop feet to the front of the mat. Inhale to lift chest and sweep arms overhead to stand, immediately lowering into chair pose, bending knees and sitting hips back as if sitting into a chair. Relax shoulders away from ears. Inhale and exhale to sit deeper, lifting up through the heart. (Optional: Hold for 5 or more breaths.)
Crow: From chair pose, fold forward to place both hands on the ground, shoulder-width apart with fingers spread wide. Keeping feet close together and knees bent, place knees onto upper arms. Keep gaze forward while activating the core and begin to lean forward, lifting one foot at a time toward glutes. Try to touch toes together, draw belly in toward spine, and breathe. (Optional: Hold for as many breaths as possible.)
Boat: From crow, carefully lower feet to the mat and roll back into a seated position with feet in front. Inhale, then exhale, and activate core, lifting legs up to a 45-degree angle off the ground, extending arms straight forward. Balance on the sit bones, keeping spine straight and chest lifted. (Optional: Hold for 10 breaths.) Carefully release and come into a seated pose.
Rest as needed before repeating the entire sequence on the opposite side.