Set the feeling-tone for your day with this lovely, short morning yoga sequence – perfect for sweeping away stiffness, opening your body and welcoming the new day with joy!
Before you begin
Find your centre in Tadasana / Mountain pose. Ground through the feet, relax the face, connect with your breath…
1. Upward salute to side bend / Urdhva Hastasana
Begin in Mountain Pose. Feel the feet then turn your palms outward and inhale as your raise your arms up. Your palms should face one another, or you can let them lightly touch. Exhale lower the arms back to starting position (3x). The last time lift and open your chest and bring your gaze up towards your hands, keeping the back of the neck open and still pressing down through the feet. Hold for a breath or two.
Next, hold your right wrist with your left hand and pull the body gently over to the left to stretch the right side, core strong. Look under the right arm or keep your head neutral. Breathe from ankle to wrist. Keep core strong as you come up on an out-breath and repeat on the other side. Release, lower the hands to the floor and step back into a Downward Facing Dog Pose.
2. Downward facing dog pose / Adho Mukha Svanasana
In Downward Facing Dog, press the palms down, mostly the base of the index finger, thumb and inner wrist. Take the inner shoulders back. Hug the outer arms in and roll them down towards the floor. Keep the spine long and take the top of the thighs and knees back. Take a long breath or two.
3. 3 legged Down dog with a twist
Then lift your right leg up behind you. When the right leg lifts higher than the hip, lift the right hip and stack it over your left hip, bend your right knee and let the foot (flexed) drop across the body to the left. Try to keep your shoulders level. Stay for 5 breaths and enjoy the hip opening and the stretch across the belly. Square the hips again and step your right foot forward into a lunge position, back knee off the floor.
4. Revolved extended side angle pose / Parivrtta Parsvakonasana
From a lunge position, place your left hand on the floor on the inside of the leg, press down through the hand and feet and find buoyancy as you lift your right arm up in the air on an in-breath. Allow the upper body to twist whilst you keep the hips and lower back stable. Feel a long line of energy moving through the arms. Stay for 5 breaths. Bring the hand back down, ground the back heel, and windmill the arms up, lifting the left arm up along the front first and let the right arm follow, into Warrior II pose.
5. Warrior II pose / Virabhadrasana II
In Warrior II pose (facing the long side of the mat) sink your feet into the floor. Front thigh bends towards parallel to the floor. Keep the knee over ankle, and in the direction of the right little toe. While keeping the knee in place press top of the left thigh back. Lift your spine out of the hips. Arms parallel to the floor, look over your right hand. Stay for 5 breaths. Inhale flip the right palm up and lift right arm up and as you exhale lower into Reverse Warrior. Left hand slides down the left leg.
6. Reverse Warrior
In Reverse Warrior, stay low in your hips. Pull your lower belly in and keep shoulders relaxed, firming your shoulder blades on the back. Lift your chest actively to keep space between the vertebrae as you bend back. Gaze up to your right hand. Stay for 3-5 breaths. Take a deep breath in and on the next out-breath come back to centre. Then reach over the right leg and lower into Utthita Parsvakonasana.
7. Extended side angle pose / Utthita Parsvakonasana
In Parsvakonasana you can put your right hand down on the floor next to the outside of the right foot, place it on a block, or rest the elbow on the right upper thigh (easier version). Left arm sweeps up and over so the whole left side is in one diagonal line. Revolve your heart and look up to the ceiling. Now move between the 2 poses: inhale lift back up into Reverse Warrior, exhale lower back down into Parsvakonasana (3x). On the third time hold Parsvakonasana for 5 breaths. After 5 breaths bring both hands down to the floor, step back to Down dog and repeat this sequence (step 2-6) on the other side.
8. Child’s pose / Balasana
Lower yourself into Child’s Pose. Hips to heels, forehead to the floor, or rest your forehead on your arms or a block. Let go here, forehead soft, shoulders relaxed, face relaxed. Take about 5 breaths, feeling the breath expand the back body…
Hold Seated forward fold / Paschimottonasana for 5 breaths. Finally, relax in Savasana/relaxation for at least 5 minutes.