In an ideal world, we’d practice yoga three times a day, meditate morning and night, and read books or take long walks on the beach in between. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it?! But we were born in our current “real” times, and in these current times we all have a job to do. Working a job that doesn’t feel like work is for another post. Today let’s talk about how to balance your busy schedule with an easy to commit to morning asana routine that will help get you ready for your day. Try these five asanas each morning:
Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) One of the most commonly known asanas, sun salutations energize the body and form a great warm up for the rest of your yoga practice and your day. The Sanskrit name Namaskar has been adjusted since it was translated as Salutation, with the root of nama, meaning “to bow” and in some cases “not me.” With this original translation in mind, sun salutations are great for letting go of our identification with self and returning to our essence. Sun Salutations are a meditative flow, and practiced with conscious breath are an opportunity to slow down our pace, re-connect with the divine, and move in harmony with the deeper rhythm of the body and mind.
Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) Downward dog as it is commonly known is an all-over stretch and full-body energizer, and, as your practice progresses, a great resting pose. Health benefits include: calming the brain and helps to relieve stress and light depression, stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches and hands; builds strength in the arms and legs; is known to help relieve symptoms of menopause and can help relieve menstrual discomfort; improves digestion, relieves headaches, insomnia, back pain and fatigue; and is also known to aid those who suffer high blood pressure, asthma, sciatica and sinus problems.
Half pigeon Do you wake up with stiff hips? Welcome to your new best friend: half pigeon pose. Dubbed the “king of hip openers” by many yogis, Half Pigeon increases the external range of motion of the femur in the hip socket, lengthens hip flexors, and is a great lead-in pose for backbends and Lotus Pose. It's a great addition to your morning ritual and will prep you for any unexpected situations throughout your day.
Tree pose (Vrksasana) Three words: balance, balance, balance! Balancing poses like Tree Pose helps you gain physical and mental steadiness, and regular practice will help you improve focus, concentration and poise in all areas of life. Physical benefits include: strengthening of the thighs, calves, ankles and spine; stretching the groin and inner thighs, chest and shoulders; and it can relieve sciatica and help improve flat feet.
Corpse Pose (Savasana) Lying down for five minutes to complete your morning asanas sounds great hey! Don’t be fooled…Corpse Pose, the practice of gradually relaxing the body part by part, is known to be the hardest of all asanas. When you practice this pose everyday it helps condition the body to release stress and is known to improve physical and emotional well-being, so be sure to add it to your routine no matter how hard it is to sit still when you know you have a huge day ahead! Be sure to practice Corpse Pose last, as the other asanas you complete prior to this relaxation pose work to stretch, open and release stored tension on the muscles, and also relax the diaphragm, which will aid you in your final relaxation practice.
What’s your favourite yoga pose?