If you’re looking to decrease your stress levels throughout the day, this 10-minute a.m. yoga routine is exactly what you need. Because friendly reminder, starting your morning with yoga or any calming activity will have a positive impact on your entire day ahead. Not only can it decrease your stress levels, but it also forces you to have a more focused mindset right at the start of your day. The energy you put into your morning rituals, you’ll get back throughout your day, promise. Plus, this exercise doesn’t require you to leave your house. Learn the step-by-step instructions for the warm-up, strengthening segment, and ending stretch with the founder of Love Yoga, Sian Gordon Fujikawa, below.
“Start in a comfortable seat (grab a pillow from the couch and make yourself a throne). Close your eyes and use these first few moments to ‘land’ in the time and space of your practice. Let the mind settle, take inventory, and recognize that the next few moments are carved out for your well-being. Take five deep breaths, consciously filling the lungs and expanding the ribcage, and then emptying the lungs and drawing the navel back. Some days you’ll need 10 breaths to quiet the clamor.
Start on your hands and knees, wrists underneath your shoulders. Inhale and arch the back; exhale and round the spine, tucking your chin and tail. Repeat until you get some warmth and suppleness in the vertebrae. Extra credit: flip your wrists so your fingers point toward your knees. Staying on the hands and knees, start to ‘stir it up.’ Essentially, move around! Make big circles with your pelvis, neck, shoulders, jaw. Feel free to move as subtly or vigorously as your body will allow. Pause and appreciate the synovial fluid lubricating all of your joints and how enjoyable it is to be alive and embodied.”
“Down dog: From the hands and knees, extend your legs back and come to down dog. Now walk your dog: bend one knee, extend the other heel down, and shift your weight from one hand to the other. Feel the back of the body and shoulders flushing open. Take 10 deep breaths.
Plank: From down dog, roll forward into plank, stacking your shoulders over your wrists. Move back and forth from dog to plank a few times, creating fluidity and warmth. Then hold plank for three to five deep breaths, three to five times, pressing back to dog or resting child’s pose between each round.
Side plank: From plank, roll on to the outside of your right foot and your right hand. Dial it up by raising your left leg, or make it easier by placing your right knee down. Do each side three times for five breaths. Note that your ability to be expansive comes from the stability of a nice connection to the earth.
Forearm plank: Lower onto both forearms. You want to really engage your core here—it should almost feel like you are tucking your tail. Basically, hold as long and as calmly as possible and then take rest in child’s pose.”
“Pigeon: From down dog, lay your shin across the front of your mat at a 45-degree angle. Fold forward and try to relax. Relax the neck, jaw, and shoulders. Give in to gravity, let go of the resistance. Focus on deep breathing, 10 breaths if you can stand it.
Bridge: Lie on your back, bend your knees, and set the feet hip-width apart and close to your seat. Press the feet down and lift the pelvis up. Interlace your fingers, squeeze the blades together and open up the front of the body. Close the eyes for five breaths, up to three times.”
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