Yoga is probably best known for its amazing benefits for relaxing, destressing and achieving overall calmness. But many don’t realise it is also extremely energising. The key to this energy is through getting your spine moving, expanding your heart and lungs, and moving in a way that ‘massages’ your internal organs.
Starting the day with yoga doesn't just get the kinks out of your body; the benefits also extend to your mind, leaving you centred, focused, and ready to tackle whatever comes your way. If you are like most westerners, and use coffee as a means to kick start your pressure filled day, consider trading caffeine for calm, and adding the following poses to your morning routine instead:
1. Forward fold
Why It Works: A forward fold stretches your hamstrings while helping you focus and feel your presence. It’s a great one to start with to help you get centred as you begin your morning.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, keeping knees slightly bent. Bend forward from the hips, making sure to keep hips stacked directly over your ankles. Pull your abs in toward your spine, letting your head hang and hold each elbow with the opposite hand, or place hands to the ground if possible. Take 15 deep breaths in and out of your nose.
2. Triangle pose
The triangle pose expands the chest and brings energy to every cell of the body. Practising this pose is a great way to focus your mind.
Stand straight and spread your legs apart. Turn one foot outwards so that your toes are facing sideways and turn your other foot slightly inwards. Now, stretch your arms sideways. Bend at your hips and lower one arm towards the outward turned leg.
Make sure you distribute your body weight equally on both your legs. Exhale as you bend down. Place your arm either on your ankle, shin, or knee. Take 15 deep breaths in and out of your nose. Now, exhale and come up to the standing position. Repeat on the other side.
Camel pose gives a gentle, heart-opening stretch to the back, energising the body. The pose also stimulates the spine and the nervous system.
Kneel and press your shins to the floor, so that they are flat on the mat. Now place your hands on either side of your pelvis.
Make sure your palms are resting on the top of your hip bone. Now push your tailbone forwards and downwards while keeping your upper body upright.
Inhale and tilt your head back and gently lean back. For added support place your palms on the soles of your feet. Hold this pose for five deep breaths, and then return to starting position.
If you’re serious about ditching coffee, make sure you:
- drink lots of water
- eat lots of fresh fruit and veg
- keep active
- and get lots of sleep
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Paul is a writer, traveller, yogi and a student of Ayurveda. He is a detox enthusiast and interested in all that brings one closer to their true self. For more on unclogging mind, body and spirit – follow his blog.