Starting the day with a focused mind will reduce stress and bring calm and you will work more efficiently. It will also stimulate your body systems, improving your digestion, circulation and respiration. As you will awake your inner fire, with more oxygenated air and blood, it will boost your stamina levels and get you ready and motivated for the rest of the day. Because of their specific benefits, some poses are better to be done in the morning workout. You will recognise almost all of them as part of the Surya Namaskar sequences.
1. Easy-seat Twist is part of the warm-up exercises. It stretches the hips and knees. As you twist your spine, it stretches and strengthens it while it rehydrates the intervertebral disc. This twist also massages and stimulates the abdominal internal organs, promoting healthy metabolism, as well as the lungs. Start in a seated pose on your butt, bring your left foot under the right leg and your right foot over the left. Then put the left hand on the right knee, and with an inhale, twist your spine to the right side, from the chest and shoulders. Finally, turn your head to look back. After holding for 5 breaths, turn to the other side
2. Cat-Cow/ Marjaryasana-Bitilasana is also viewed as part of the warm-up postures for your back. It stretches the whole spine with the extension and bending, as well as the neck, the pelvis and hip-joints. It massages the digestive system and abdominal organs, increasing the digestion. Mentally, it enhances the focus and coordination too, as you try to balance.
Come on a tabletop position, wrist, elbows and shoulders in one line, knees hip-width apart. On the inhale, lift the sit bones, chest and head towards the ceiling while arching the back towards the floor, shoulder roll back, feet flexed and toes curled. On the exhale, curve your spine towards the ceiling, gaze pointing at your navel and point the toes backwards.
3. 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.
4. Adho Mukha Svanasana/ Downward Facing Dog is the basic and most famous yoga pose and part of the Surya Namaskar series. As Uttanasana, it stretches the entire Fascia Superficial Back Line, as well as the calves, hamstrings and glutes. It also elongates the spine while engaging the sides of the torso upwards. Moreover, it strengthens the quadriceps and upper body, chest and arms, as you are pressing on the mat with the 4 limbs, as well as the abdomen, as you contract it to maintain the pose. Because it is an inversion, it helps the circulatory system by cleaning the blood and bringing more oxygenated cells to the different organs, which will release pressure and stress, clearing your mind. It’s the perfect pose to come back to the Ujjayi Breath, with the additional benefits that it brings.
5. Virabhadrasana I/ Warrior I is a standing asana and part of the Surya Namaskar B sequence. As it requires strength and focus, it’s an energizing pose. It stretches the back leg while strengthening the front leg. It opens and lubricates the knee and hip joints. As it stretches the spine while lifting the arms towards the sky, it builds space between each vertebra, which boosts healthy blood flow. As you engage your abdominal, chest and upper body, it also strengthens the inner organs from the digestive and respiratory system. By keeping the arms active firmly pointing up, it strengthens the biceps and shoulders