I like to start my day early so I can get as much accomplished as possible, allowing me to be fully present for my kids when they get home from school.
And an important part of that early start includes this cool five-minute morning yoga routine I normally go through when I get up in the morning.
The great thing about yoga is that not only does it give you a flexible, limber body and focused mind, but it’s comprised of bodyweight exercises, requiring virtually no equipment at all.
All you need is a yoga mat, or maybe even just the carpet on your floor.
While I’m no professional yogi, I do know what works for me. A lot of times, I’ll modify different positions to suit what I need on any given day, and I encourage you to do the same.
As you’ll see, my yoga routine is rather fluid, as I like to move through the poses instead of holding them for a long period of time.
Each move starts with a breath – an inhale or an exhale – allowing you to get into a flow. That’s really important with yoga.
My Go-To Morning Yoga Routine
Let’s start by standing tall, taking a big inhale to reach your arms up to the ceiling (or sky, if you’re outside). From here, let’s move into the following flow:
- Exhale and drop your upper body down into a forward fold, so that your chest is near your thighs.
- Inhale up into a flat back.
- Exhale down into that forward fold again.
- On a big inhale, come back up to standing, arms reaching up to the sky.
- Exhale, dropping back into the forward bend.
- From here, walk your hands forward and your feet back, so that you are in plank position.
- Exhale, and drop your chest till it almost touches the floor.
- Inhale, and being careful to squeeze your glutes to protect your low back, push up into a pose called upward-facing dog. To do that, drive through your hands, pushing your chest up between your arms so that it faces slightly upward, your hips and thighs close to the floor.
- Exhale and press back, lifting your hips into downward-facing dog position. In this pose, your body should look like an upside-down V, stretching your heels back toward the floor to stretch out your calves. Hold here for a breath or two.
- Next, on an exhale, come back into plank position.
- Inhale, and step your right leg front into a long lunge, your hands still on the floor, knee directly over your ankle, your front foot flat on the floor.
- From here, lift your upper body, sitting tall into a nice hip flexor stretch. Stay here for a few breaths to really get the most out of that stretch.
From here, repeat the flow, coming back into plank position, moving into upward-facing and downward-facing dog before doing that nice, long lunge on the left side.
Start the Day Like a Warrior
Next, I like to go through a warrior sequence.
- We begin the second part of the flow with Warrior 1 pose, stepping your left foot back into a long lunge, right foot forward, hips facing that front foot.
Your right knee should be directly above your right heel so that your knee is at 90-degree angle.
- Now, raise your arms up overhead, biceps by your ears, leaning through into your right, front foot. Hold for a couple breaths.
- From there, we go into Warrior 2 pose, opening up the lunge a little bit, stepping longer, moving your back (left) foot so that your right heel is directly in line with the instep.
- Your hips are now facing toward the left, allowing you to open up a bit more. Your arms are shoulder height, hands over each foot. Again, hold for a breath or two.
- Next, come into Reverse Warrior, keeping your legs in the same position. Stretch that left arm down your left thigh, arcing your right arm overhead and backward slightly, opening up through that right side.
- Come back into Warrior 2 pose for a breath.
- And now you will move into Triangle pose, reaching the right arm down toward that right foot, lifting the left arm up toward the sky. This really helps open up the hip and groin muscles.
- From here, press into that front, right foot and straighten the leg to get more of a hamstring stretch.
- Now, pivot the back foot around so that your hips face front again, both heels on the floor, to deepen that hamstring stretch.
- Bend that back leg down to the floor, and step through so that both feet are together.
- Let’s repeat on the other side.
And there you have it – that’s essentially the routine I go through every morning when I first get up, before I sit down and start doing my work.
I find that it’s a great way to loosen things up, giving me a good start to my day.
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Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.