Author: The Resource Girls
As I crawled out of bed early one Saturday morning, threw on my yoga gear, and drove with coffee in hand to my yoga class, I started reflecting on my previous week. The stress, the overwhelming to-do list, and feelings of inadequacy all washed over me. The feelings continued as I walked onto my mat. I felt groggy and my body ached. As yoga began, and the instructor set the intention for our class, I slowly started to breathe and feel that overwhelming sense of renewal. As I started breathing deeper and focusing on each move, all of the bad from my week began to fade away.
An hour later, I walked off my mat not caring about my unpainted toenails, or the unfinished to do lists. I walked off my mat speaking love into my soul, feeling lighter and extremely clear headed. With all these feelings of greatness washing over me I realized that there’s more I can do throughout my week to give me those same good vibes that yoga gives me, without actually walking onto my mat.
You don’t have to practice yoga long to realize it’s much more than completing poses on a mat. There’s several things you can do off your mat to make your yoga practice better and start your day with positive energy. I think mornings are the the best time to find a routine and set an intention for your day, so today I’m sharing three yoga practices you can do each day before you leave your bed. Not only will they help you on your mat to have a better practice, but they’ll help you start your day on the right foot.
Once your alarm goes off, allow yourself to fully wake up and then proceed to sit up. Once you're sitting up, I suggest placing a pillow or two behind your back to help you find good posture and sit comfortably. Now, begin by doing a breathing exercise. There’s several you can do and if you want more ideas you can simply google or search on Pinterest for breathing exercises. An easy one that I enjoy is breathing in through your nostrils for a count of three, holding that breath for a count of three and then releasing your breath for a count of three. Continue to do this for a 4, 5, and 6 count. Then starting at a 6 count, breath in, hold and release your breath working your way back down to a three count. As you breathe, focus on your breath and nothing else. Each time your thought wanders, go right back to focusing on your breath.
While still sitting in bed, practice gratefulness. The best way to practice this is by keeping a notepad and a pen by your bed. You don’t have to write it down and can simply think on it, but it’s always great to go back and see what you’ve written in past days. Write 3-5 things you’re grateful for. Take some time to really think about specific things that you’re grateful for. Once you have your list, sit in those great feelings and really think about why that list makes you grateful. Utilize this list as you conquer your day. When a bad feeling hits, or something goes off course in your day, go back to that list you made and focus on those feelings of thankfulness.
Complete a few poses and stretches either while laying in bed or right as you step out of bed. One I love doing before I get out of bed is child’s pose, with my knees together and arms to the sides of my hips with hands facing up. As I step out of bed I also love doing star pose. This allows your chest to open up, your legs and arms get a great stretch, and you can take a large inhale/exhale as you look towards the sky. Another great morning stretch after a star pose is a yogi squat. Other great morning poses are a round or two of sun salutations, pigeon pose, a sequence of cat-cow, and any warrior poses.