This morning routine will make your day.
What if you could miraculously wake up tomorrow or any day and feel great, full of energy, enthusiasm and ready to face the day? How would your day be different? We think movement and a good sweat (especially in the morning) are the keys to a day transformed.
Of course, a good morning starts with a good night of rest. Do your best to get a proper night of sleep so that you have a fighting chance to wake up with the sun or an alarm. Grab a glass of water, or even a cup of coffee or green tea if required, and carve out some space and a small amount of time for this morning mobility routine designed to liberate your joints, hydrate your tissues and oxygenate your body for the day to come.
Perform each movement slowly, feeling your body awaken. Let the stretches create space and more liberty to move and perform the number of indicated reps or sustained hold. Don’t strain, and be sure to breathe. Listen to your body, and try to challenge yourself to go to the edge of your potential. Each morning when you return to the practice, your body will grow stronger and you will be able to do more.
- Start standing in neutral stance with arms at your sides.
- Close your eyes and breathe comfortably and normally in through your nose and out through your mouth. Notice on a scale of 1-10 how you feel. Rate your energy.
- Open your eyes and begin to breathe more deeply and fully, intentionally taking in more breath and exhaling it completely. With each breath increase your volume and intensity; your breathing will even grow more audible. Continue breathing up to 10 breaths scaling in intensity and then move backwards down the scale. Notice the energy flowing in your body. If you feel dizzy at all, sit down immediately. Build up to 20 breaths over time.
Tai Chi Arm Swings
- Start standing in neutral stance, feet hip width apart, knees softly bent.
- Begin to gently rotate side to side and allow your arms to swing with you and wrap around your body. Allow full body to rotate with you, including your head and neck, and allow the motion to increase as you go.
- Repeat for 20 alternating repetitions, then settle in the middle standing still and observe your energy.
SHINE (AKA SWEAT)
Down Dog/Up Dog
- Begin in an extended plank position.
- Move slowly and turn these patterns into a vinyasa or a flow of dynamic movement linked to your breath: On an exhale pull your pelvis back until your weight is in your heels and your body creates the shape of an inverted V (or downward facing dog.) Extend spine, press thighs back and work to straighten your thighs as your heels reach into the ground. Press hands firmly into the ground and allow your arms to frame your neck, which hangs neutral aligned with your spine.
- As you inhale, pull your body forward and, leading with your chest, move into an extended and suspended spine with the heads of the shoulders rolled up and back, arms straight and feet flipped over, the tops of your feet rooting into the floor. This is upward facing dog. Keep your head neutral, your core engaged and your tailbone lengthening down toward the floor to create a neutral pelvis. Eyes gaze forward or gently up as your body arcs with hips and thighs floating off the floor suspended by your strong hands and fully engaged thighs.
- Exhale pull back to downward facing dog and move gently back and forth to limber up the body.
Triangle Tango Switches
Reps: 60 seconds of work
- Start in a low lunge position, leaning forward over your bent front leg, spine straight, with hands on either side of your foot back leg anchored for warrior postures.
- Sweep arms up in front of you toward the sky as you straighten your torso, palms facing one another, arms in line with shoulders, and distribute your weight evenly between your feet.
- Keeping a bend in your front leg, rotate your arms and torso to line up with your pelvis, dropping your arms into a line parallel with the floor (or Warrior 2.)
- Push up on your front leg to straighten, then shift your torso forward from the hips. As you twist your front arm toward your front ankle, your back arm rises up to create a straight line. Hold, gazing up at your top hand.
- As you lower the arm extended above your head, bend your knee, and bring your hands back to the floor returning to the low lunge position, turning your back foot into lifted heel positon.
- In this lunge position, spring your back leg forward and send your front leg back to switch legs and repeat posture on other side. Repeat side to side for 60 seconds, creating more space in the posture as you flow.
Reps: 60 seconds of work
- Start resting on your back with arms over head parallel to each other, feet flexed and legs straight and strong.
- Breathe deeply and tense the body and as you exhale kick one leg and reach up lifting head, shoulders and arms to touch the foot. Release back to the ground.
- Inhale and then as you exhale contract both arms and legs and core and lift into a low boat pose with both arms alongside the body and the core hollowed out and holding the position.
- Release back to the floor and then alternate moving side to side between resting on the floor to the high kick then back to the floor and into the low boat posture. Flow for 60 seconds with grace and control.
Table Top Swings
Reps: 60 seconds of work
- Start seated with hands alongside the body, palms flat on the ground and fingers pointed toward your feet, legs out in front of you and feet flexed.
- Press hands and feet down into the floor and lift hips into a table top position, lifting as high as comfortable. Head should be back to stay in line with the spine.
- Release back down and swing hips through the arms looking at the core as you exhale and straighten your legs.
- Repeat swinging back and forth. Flow for 60 seconds keeping breath free.
Hip Square Off
Set: 1 on each side
- Start seated in cross-legged position, spine tall and core engaged.
- Stack your right shin on top of your other shin for a seated hip stretch. Flex feet and press hips down for a deeper engaged stretch. Allow hands to balance as needed while trying to use your core to mobilize the movement.
- Lift the top leg and swing it out to the side attempting to keep it elevated and parallel to the floor as if in a side kick position; try to keep your knees straight and foot flexed.
- Pull leg back straight behind you, the top of your foot flat on the floor, into the seated hip stretch and lean forward over your legs.
- Swing leg back to cross-legged position, and repeat 10-12 times, moving slowly and enjoying the dynamic opening of your hips. Repeat on the other side.
- Start on your back, feet planted firmly hip width apart, hands pressed into the floor at your sides.
- On an inhale press into feet and lift hips up as high as comfortable.
- Release by rolling the spine down slowly, one vertebrae at a time, beginning with the thoracic spine.
- Once complete, contract your core and pull your knees into your chest, wrapping your arms around your legs. Lift your head and shoulders, and roll into a little ball, and rock back and forth along your spine.
- Release gently back to the floor and repeat 3-4 times moving slowly with conscious breath.
- Rest on your back with your legs up in the air directly over your pelvis—use a strap if needed or rest the legs against a wall. Arrange your neck and spine to be relaxed with core engaged to maintain the leg position.
- Gently allow the legs to fall open to a Straddle Position (or a V) suspended in the air. Hold thighs with hands if needed and bend knees as required. If you can elevate your hips with a pillow or bolster, your body will receive increased relaxation and restoration from the pose.
- Stay for 60 seconds at least or as long as you feel like relaxing.
Mindset and Mantra Reset
- Sit cross-legged with a tall spine and your hands resting gently on your lap, palms facing up (or in the OK mudra).
- Breathe comfortably and naturally and scan your body with your mind mentally noticing each corner and each surface. As you breathe in your mind hold a positive thought such as I feel energized and ready for my day. Or simply I am ready. Any positive statement that empowers you is great. Think about it and imagine moving through your day with that energy as your guide. Sit quietly and observe your energy.
- Open your eyes and get on with your day!
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