Want more yoga and exercise? Become a woods warrior, try this lower body workout, then end the day with bedtime stretches that relieve lower back pain. Check out my 200hour yoga teacher training experience and read about the school I attended here.
If you’re reading this at posting time, good morning! Start your day off right with a relaxing series of stretches that are perfect for the morning time. This routine starts in child’s pose, moves to all fours then up into downward facing dog, but don’t stress, you’ll be back down on the mat in no time. Start each day by adding length to your spine, stretching out those hips and quads, and opening your chest and shoulders, you’ll be happy you did and it will take less than fifteen minutes. This whole routine is meant to be a casual flow so once you’re familiar with the poses, move in and out of positions with fluidity.
- Start on all fours. Release your toes onto the mat and separate your knees hip-distance or wider and lower your butt back towards your heels. As your torso folds over your thighs feel your spine lengthen from your tailbone all the way up to the back of your neck. Stay here for ten long breaths continuously reaching forward with your finger tips.
- Resting your forehead on the mat, interlock your fingertips behind your back and stretch your arms as far back as you can while also keeping your forearms tightly together to increase the stretch.
Tabletop – Cat – Cow
- While on all fours, with a relaxed spine, place your palms flat on the ground directly under your shoulders, knees directly under your hips and the tops of your feet pressing into the mat. You can rock back and forth and side to side here if that feels comfortable.
- Inhale, let the back of your head and neck rise while your chin nears your sternum creating a large C shaped curve in your spine. Round your spine as much as possible all the while keeping your stomach and rib cage pulled up and in.
- Exhale and reverse the curve in your spine by arching your back and raising your chin and tailbone up to the sky while letting your belly hang.
- Flow in and out of these three poses while also letting your hips and shoulders move and rotate to the right and left with ease.
- With hands in prayer position, and a flat back, fold forward as slowly as possibly, finally let your abdomen fall towards your knees and your fingertips graze the ground. If your quads are feeling tight, feel free to keep a slight bend in your knees here.
Downward Dog Pedal
- On your hands and knees, align your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Spread your fingers wide and press firmly through your palms and knuckles, distributing your weight evenly across your hands. Exhale and tuck your toes while you lift your knees off the floor. Reach your pelvis up toward the ceiling, and gently begin to straighten your legs, but don’t lock your knees. Imagine your hips and thighs being pulled backwards from the top of your thighs. Do not walk your feet closer to your hands, keep the extension of your whole body while pedaling out each leg slowly and thoroughly. As you lengthen your spine, lift your sit bones up toward the ceiling while pressing down equally through your heels and the palms of your hands. Lift from the inner muscles of your arms to the top of both shoulders while drawing your shoulder blades into your upper back ribs and toward your tailbone. Broaden across your collarbones and rotate your arms externally so your elbow creases face your thumbs. Draw your chest toward your thighs as you continue to press the mat away from you, lengthening and decompressing your spine as you pedal.
- On your hands and knees in tabletop pose, slide your right palm so it’s directly under your nose on the mat. Continue to slide your arm all the way out to the left so that your right shoulder and side of your head rest comfortably on the floor. Inhale and reach the left hand up towards the ceiling. If this feels good, let your left arm fall behind you into a bind between your abdomen and right thigh. Repeat on the other side.
Downward Dog with a Twist
- Repeat the steps of downward dog pedal until you are comfortable and firmly planted; reach towards your right ankle with your left hand and pull yourself deeper into the stretch. Repeat on the other side.
Deep Lunge & Lengthen
- Do a simple lunge: bend your right knee to 90 degrees, aligning your knee directly over the heel of your front foot with your feet hip-width apart with both feet facing forward and your front shin perpendicular to the floor. Let your left knee and the top of your left foot rest gently on the floor. With your back leg strong and steady, gently draw your front hip forward as you press your back hip lower, Inhale as you raise your torso to an upright position. Sweep your arms overhead. Draw your tailbone toward the floor. Spin your pinky fingers a little toward each other, opening your arms so your palms face each other. Gently tilt your head and gaze up at a space between your thumbs.
- Lie on your back with your legs extended and your back straight and relaxed. Keep your lower back on the bed and your hips level while you bend your right knee in towards your right armpit. You want to squeeze it in there as tight as possible. Work hard to squeeze you knee for a slow count of ten.
- Extend your legs out straight. Repeat on the left side.
- Extend your legs out straight and bring both knees to your chest. Cross your arms over your shins/knees if possible and hug them tightly while trying to keep your lower back on the bed. Hold for ten.
Eagle Leg Twist
- Laying flat on your back with your arms in a T position, cross your right leg over your left and tuck your right toes behind your left ankle and let your legs fall to the left side while your shoulders rest on the floor. Take ten deep breaths here and switch to the other side.
End your practice with your eyes closed and a few deep breaths. Thank yourself for the stretch and go have a wonderful day!