Every morning, that buzzing alarm clock kicks us right in the butt. Before even getting out of bed, we reach for our phones and start checking emails — already stressing about the day’s tasks. Instead, start your day with this morning yoga routine to energize your body and jolt you awake faster than any latte.
The best part? You don’t even have to leave your bed!
Starting the day by allowing yourself to take a few energizing stretches and do some yoga moves can help you retain your focus throughout the day and increase your productivity.
These 10 poses will help open up your chest and lungs, stretch out your spine, and create energy through your body—to help you feel awake and ready to take on the day.
Wide Child’s Pose
Start on all fours, with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Keep your hands where they are, and sit your hips back and on your feet. Keep your toes together, and open your knees as wide as you comfortably can. Keep the arms reaching forward to stretch through the shoulders. Take a few breaths in this position. If you’d like, walk both hands over to the right for a few breaths, then over to the left for a few breaths—to stretch out the obliques.
Stay on all fours, with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Exhale as you round your spine up toward the ceiling to curl your chin to your chest, and pull your belly button into your spine. Focus on stretching between the shoulder blades, as well as the lower back. Hold or work through that position for about 30 seconds—stretching and lengthening the spine.
Seated Spinal Twist
Sit cross-legged, and lengthen your spine toward the ceiling. (You may even want to sit on a firm pillow or folded blankets, if your hips are really tight.) Keep both hips grounded on the bed as you twist toward your RIGHT. Place your LEFT hand on your RIGHT knee, and gently use it to help you deepen the stretch. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Seated Side Bend
Stay seated and slide your RIGHT hand onto the floor as you extend your LEFT arm overhead. Inhale and reach your fingers up towards the ceiling. Then exhale and reach up and over to the RIGHT, stretching the left side of your body. Think of reaching your LEFT hip down into the bed, and expand through your LEFT lungs and ribs. Hold 30-60 seconds, then switch sides.
Start by sitting on your mat with your legs extended straight in front of you. Lengthen through your spine, sitting as tall as you can. Reach your arms in front of you to grab a hold of your feet, or place them on your shins. Lengthen through your spine as much as possible—instead of just collapsing down toward your legs.
Bend your knees as much as necessary to keep your back flat.
Stay in the same seated position with your legs extended in front of you, and allow your back to stretch gently over your legs. Stay folded forward for 30-60 seconds—breathing deeply and feeling the stretch along your spine and through your hamstrings.
Lying on your back with your legs extended straight, pull your RIGHT knee in toward your chest. Hold the knee with your LEFT hand, and guide it to cross over your body. Extend your RIGHT arm out to the side as if in a “T” position, then gaze out over your right hand. Hold for a minute or two, allowing the twist of your spine to increase with each exhale. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then be sure to switch sides.
The best way to get into this position is to start in a runner’s lunge with your RIGHT foot forward, and both hands on the mat on either side of your front foot. With most of the weight in your hands, slide your front foot over toward your LEFT hand. Then lower the knee over to the RIGHT. Place the outside of your RIGHT calf on the mat, so that it’s parallel to the front of your mat. Slowly lower your back knee and shin to the floor. As much as possible, square your hips to the front of the mat.
For a more moderate stretch, keep your arms straight and hands flat on the floor. To increase the stretch, you can lower down to your forearms, or even lower all the way down to lie over your front leg. You should feel the stretch on the outside of the RIGHT hip and in the glute. Hold for at least 60 seconds, then repeat on the other side. (If this pose feels too uncomfortable or hurts, stick with Thread the Needle.)
Lie on your back on your mat, and pull your knees into your chest. Place your hands on the outside blades of your feet, and open your knees wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your back pressed into the mat as much as possible. Press your feet into hands while pulling down on your feet, creating resistance. Breathe deeply.
Lie on your stomach, and place your elbows under your shoulders—with your forearms and palms flat on the floor. Engage your abdominals as you lift your chest and shoulders off the ground. Focus on extending through your upper back, not stressing your lower back. Make sure to draw your shoulders down your back, and relax your shoulders away from your ears. If your spine is pretty flexible, you can continue lifting the chest, and straighten the arm. Just make sure that the spine feels lengthened, not compressed.
Stay on your stomach, and reach your arms back toward your feet. Bend both knees to bring the feet in the air, and reach back to hold onto the outer ankles. Lift your heels up toward the ceiling, drawing your thighs up and off the bed. At the same time, lift your head, chest, and upper torso off the mat as well. Keep your neck in line with your spine, and draw your shoulder blades together and down your back. Hold for about 30 seconds, then release gently back down to the bed.
(Your Next Workout: 8 Yoga Hip Stretches that Feel Amazing)