Stress is a constant in modern life – but some weeks are definitely busier and more stressful than others.
Unfortunately, it's during these busy times that we end up compromising on self care and become irregular with our yoga practice, when we should be doing the exact opposite!
Staying regular with your yoga practice doesn't have to mean a 60- or 90-minute session – even a short 10 minute morning practice can help set you up to bring your best self to each day.
When life gets a little crazy, give yourself this 10-minute morning gift of self-care – your body and your mind will thank you later!
Keep a glass of fresh, pure water beside your bed and drink it immediately when you wake up so that you have energy for a morning flow. You can also keep Niyama’s Daytime Zen on your bedside and take one capsule to enhance the feeling of calm and relaxation throughout the day.
10 MINUTE MORNING FLOW
- Stand at the front of your mat, big toes touching, heels slightly apart and arms at your side, palms facing front.
Establish Ujayi (ocean-sounding) breathing – breathe deeply through your nose only, with mouth closed, lightly constricting the back of your throat so it sounds like a gentle ocean – stay with this breathing technique as you flow – if you lose it, just come back to it.
Surya Namaskara A (sun salutation A) x 3 – move with the breath – inhales always lift and exhales extend or lower. Make any adaptations you need to – you will build strength with practice. Repeat for a total of 3 sun salutations.
Padangusthasana (standing forward bend) – with feet hip width apart and hands on waist inhale as you lift the heart slightly to open the chest.
Exhale as you fold forward, and be sure to bend the knees as much as you need to in order to keep contact between your torso and your thighs.Your peace fingers can wrap around your big toes or you can simply grab the opposite elbows and let gravity help you. Relax the neck. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
Come all the way up on the inhale, pressing into the feet and using the strength of the legs, reaching the arms above the head and pressing palms lightly together then returning to standing pose #1.
- Virabhadrasana A (Warrior 1) – step the right foot behind you with a large step. Pivot the right heel in to about 45 degrees. Bend the left knee, sink as low as you can without strain, adjust your stance to keep the knee above the ankle. Bring the palms in prayer at your heart and then extend them diagonally forward. If comfortable for your back, lift the heart to incorporate a gentle backbend. If that crunches your lower back, leave it out.
Hold for five breaths then inhale as you lift up, straightening the knee. Exhale to step back to the front of the mat and repeat on the second side. Return to the front of the mat in pose #1.
- Uttita Trikonasana (Extended triangle pose) – Step out to the right, about 3-4 feet. Right toes point to the wall behind you, left toes turn in slightly. Raise the arms to shoulder height and actively extend both arms. On the exhale extend your torso over the right leg, bending from the hips, not the waist, gazing up at your left thumb and trying to keep it above the nose as you work towards stacking the shoulder joints.
Your right hand peace fingers can reach for the big toes, or the back of the palm can press be at the ankle, shin, or you can use a block. Press into the outer edge of the back foot to strengthen the posture, and don’t allow the bent knee to collapse in. Hold for 5 breaths.
Come up on the inhale, pivot on the feet to side 2 on the exhale and repeat, then return to the front of the mat.
- Half Pigeon – raise the arms and flow through sun salutation A but stay in downward dog. Hold for one breath only, then raise the right leg up straight out behind you, and as you bring it back down bend the knee and bring it to the mat behind your right wrist.
Open the angle of the right shin only to your comfort level. Bring the finger tips to the floor, lift the collar bones as you allow the hips to sink. Stay here or fold forward making a pillow for your forehead with your stacked hands. Hold for 5 breaths, sending the breath to the hips. Come back up on the inhale, exhale to downward dog and repeat on the left side.
- Bridge pose – laying down on your back, bend the knees and place the soles of the feet on the floor, hip width apart. Everybody is different but for many you should just be able to touch your heels with your fingertips, with your arms by your sides. Press the feet and arms into the floor as you lift your hips upward, holding the navel in. Lift the hips as high as you are able.
You can keep the arms extended on the floor or start to bring the hands together, interlacing them as you bring the shoulder blades together and extending the interlaced hands toward your feet. Hold for 5 breaths, then release the hands and roll the spine down slowly and hug the knees into the chest, while at the same time trying to flatten the tailbone to the floor.
- Gentle reclined twist – start with the knees hugged into the chest, then extend the arms to a T-shape and on the exhale allow the knees to gently come all the way to the right.
Try to keep the shoulders on the floor and breathe into the lower back. Hold for 3 breaths, then on the inhale bring the knees back to centre. Exhale them to the left side and repeat.
- Seated forward bend – come back to seated position, legs extended in front of you. Inhale to lift the collarbones and arms, then exhale as you fold forward, bending the knees as much as you need to in order to keep the thighs in contact with the torso.
You can gradually work to straighter legs over time, but keep the torso on the thighs and gaze at the toes. Hold for five deep breaths.
- Legs up the wall savasana – In the spirit of morning multitasking we are going to combine savasana with a restorative inversion – keeping the legs above the heart.
Come to a wall and sit sideways bringing your legs parallel to the wall with your bum against the wall. You may want a blanket under your bum. Then roll onto your bum, bringing the legs up the wall. Allow the arms to relax at your side and stay here, breathing normally for a minimum of 2 minutes, longer if you have it.
Then gently come out if it and start your day!