Awaken your body and breath with this energizing series of poses designed to start your day off right.
This all-levels sequence moves the spine through a wide range of movements, warms up the major joints and main muscle groups of the body:
1. Arm Sweeps (Repeat 5 times)
Coordinate these two movements with your breathing:
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart.
- Inhale and sweep your arms out to the side and up overhead.
- Exhale and release them back down to your sides.
2. Overhead Side Stretch (Repeat 2 times to each side)
- Hold your left wrist with your right hand.
- Inhale and stretch up.
- As you exhale stretch over to your right. Take a couple of breaths here.
- Inhale to return back to standing.
3. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with Hands Clasped Behind the Back
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. The weight should be even on each foot, from front to back and side to side.
- Firm your thighs and lengthen your torso up.
- Lift your chest and roll the tops of your arms back. Interlace your fingers behind your back.
- Keeping your elbows bent, engage your shoulder blades onto the back of your ribcage. Lift and open your chest. Broaden your collarbones.
- Lift your rib cage evenly away from your pelvis. Allow the back of your neck to lengthen upwards.
- Feel that your neck is free and your head is effortlessly balanced on the top of your spine.
4. Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar) (2 to 3 Rounds)
4. Inhale and step back with your left leg into a Straight-Leg lunge:
6. Inhale and bring your body forward into Plank pose (Phalakasana):
7. Exhale and slowly lower down onto the floor into eight-point pose:
9. Exhale and press back into Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana):
10. Inhale and step your left leg forward into Straight-Leg Lunge:
11. Exhale and step your right leg forward into Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana):
12. Inhale, bend your knees, place your hands on your hips, lengthen your spine and lift your shoulders to return back up to standing. Reach your arms overhead into Upward Salute pose (Urdhva Hasatsana):
13. Exhale as you bring your arms back into Prayer position (Anjali Mudra.)
Repeat on the other side, stepping your right leg back into lunge pose first. This is one round of Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar).
- From standing, step your feet three and a half to four feet apart. Place your hands on your hips.
- Turn your left foot in slightly to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align your right heel with the center of the instep of your left foot.
- Turn your right thigh outward, so that the center of the right kneecap is roughly in line with the center of the right ankle.
- Inhale and reach your arms out to your sides. Exhale, bend your right knee and bring your right shin and thigh to a 90-degree angle.
- Keep your torso extending straight upwards. Turn your head to gaze out over your right fingertips. Hold for three to five breaths.
- Inhale to release, straightening your right leg. Reverse the feet and repeat to the left.
- Follow steps one to four of Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II) above.
- Extend your torso over your right leg, keeping your spine long.
- Place your right hand on a block or the floor the outside of your right ankle. You can also bend your elbow and rest your forearm on your thigh. Reach your left arm over your left ear, with your palm facing down.
- Extend from your outer left heel out through your left fingertips.
- Keep your head neutral, or turn it to gaze at your left thumb. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
- Inhale to come up, strongly pressing the back heel into the floor and reaching the top arm toward the ceiling. Reverse the feet and repeat to the left.
- From standing, step your feet three and a half to four feet apart. Raise your arms overhead.
- Turn your left foot in 45 to 60 degrees to the right and your right foot out 90 degrees to the right. Align the right heel with the left heel, or separate your feet slightly wider and more in line with your hips.
- Exhale and rotate your torso to the right, squaring the front of your pelvis as much as possible with the front edge of your mat. If your back heel lifts up, you may also work with the back heel against a wall for more stability.
- As the left hip point turns forward, press the left thigh back and extend down through the heel.
- Exhale and bend your right knee over the right ankle so the shin is perpendicular to the floor.
- Reach up strongly through your arms and lift your ribcage away from your pelvis.
- Keep your arms parallel to each other with palms facing each other, or join your palms together. Keep your head in a neutral position, gazing forward, or tilt it back and look up at your thumbs. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
- To come up, inhale, and straighten your right knee.
- Turn your feet forward and release the arms with an exhalation. Turn your feet to the left and repeat.
- Stand with your legs wide apart and feet parallel, hands on your hips.
- Inhale, lift your chest. Exhale, fold forward from your hips. Place your fingertips on the floor beneath your shoulders and release the crown of your head down toward the floor.
- Keep your legs strong and as straight as possible while continuing to touch the floor. Allow your torso, neck, and head to release down toward the floor.
- To release, walk your feet a bit closer together, bring your hands to your hips and lengthen your spine forward to come up.