There are some mornings I wake up feeling lethargic; my body feels stiff and heavy, and I know deep down I have to ease myself into the day. I know I can’t go full throttle and hurl myself into a high energy exercise routine or pound the pavements on a run before I take 10 – 15 minutes to wake up my body in a gentle way.
Yes, I’m not going to lie there are definitely times I’ve had to motivate myself to hit my yoga mat, but hand on heart, I can say, I’ve always reaped the reward for taking that little bit of time to move and stretch.
On the days I feel particularly unmotivated, I quite literally roll out of bed and flop straight on to the yoga mat I keep beside our bed (I’m not kidding). Starting my yoga practice from the floor up and by the time I’ve worked my way up to standing, I’m ready and raring to go.
Some mornings it can feel like I’m trying to wake my body from the dead so starting in corpse pose couldn’t be more appropriate. However, by the time I’ve moved through my gentle yoga flow of a few reclined, seated and kneeling poses and worked my way up to standing, I feel energised, wide awake, nourished and clear-headed.
To keep this appropriate, I’ve thrown my clothes on and photographed the flow on my mat in my little yoga area downstairs.
Lying on my mat in corpse pose, I allow myself to connect to mind and body by focusing on the rhythm of my breath. Taking a few deep inhales and slowly breathing out.
I begin at the crown of my head, gradually working my awareness down my body noticing any areas that feel tight, tense or aching. Using my exhale to help me release and let go of any tension.
Inhale your right knee into your chest, holding your shin with your left hand, reach your right arm out to your side in line with your shoulder. Exhale, take your knee over your body to your left side for a nice spinal twist. Breathe deep into the twist feeling a gentle stretch across your chest, down your right side and your hip. The reclined twist is excellent for lengthening the spine, stretching the hip flexor and generally reliving tightness in the hips and lower back, not to mention waking up the digestive system. I love this pose as I can physically feel myself softening and lengthening with every breath. After a few breaths, return to lying on your back but extend the right leg to the sky.
Slowly bend your right knee, place your right arm inside your knee, reach for the outside of your foot. Draw the knee down towards the floor, trying to keep your stack ankle over the knee, breathing deep into half happy baby pose.
Lengthen your tail bone and feel the stretch around the base back into the glutes, gently stretching and releasing any lower back tightness. Gradually release the right foot and cross the right ankle over the left thigh. Thread your hands through the gap and take hold of the back of the left leg, slowly pressing your right knee away from you, breathe deep into reclined pigeon pose.
Slowly release the right ankle. Hug both knees and rock from side to side to massage the lower back before switching and repeating on the other side.
After completing the sequence on the left, hug both knees into the chest. Rocking forward and back, bring yourself up to sit with crossed legs to sukasana pose.
Roll your shoulders back and down, lengthen up through the spine to the crown of your head. Take a breath to inhale and sweep your arms to the ceiling, interlacing your fingers and pressing your palms up. Reach up tall, breathing deep into your ribs. Draw your shoulders away from your ears to create space and release any tension from the neck.
Release your right arm down, exhale the left arm over, keep the left hip planted for deep side body stretch.
Hold the abs in and draw yourself back up to centre. Place your left hand on your right knee. Inhale, lengthen your spine, exhale and rotate your body to look over your right shoulder. With every exhale, release deeper into the twist, stimulating your internal organ, massaging and igniting your digestive system and brilliant for boosting your energy! Slowly coming back to centre and repeating on the other side.
Remain seated and extend your legs in front of you, sitting up tall, legs straight, point your toes to the ceiling.
Inhale, sweep your arms above your head and with an exhale, reach forward towards your feet. Hold either the soles of your feet, your ankles, shins or thighs depending on your flexibility. Acknowledging what you’re capable of today.
Lengthen your spine with every inhale and with every exhale release further into the forward fold. Focus on keeping the spine straight rather than reaching further than you’re capable. Feel a beautiful stretch through the hamstrings, through the glutes and the lower back.
Gradually bend your knees a little bit. Exhale your chest and belly down to your thighs, tucking your chin to your chest. Breathing deep into your back body, feel your shoulder blades expand and the back of your heart centre open. Feel the base of your back open up with every breath.
With ease release off, lifting your chest and head, reach your hands behind you, placing them about an inch behind your hips with your fingertips pointing towards the heels. Bend your knees, plant the soles of feet, lift the hips, open your chest and hold the reverse table pose for a few breathes. Activate your glutes, squeeze your thighs together. Opening up the front body, feel the chest open and a stretch in the shoulder.
Release back down and cross your legs.
From sukasana reach your hands forward to placing them on the mat, roll on to your knees to tabletop pose (all fours).
Making sure your shoulders are stacked over your wrists, and your hips are stacked over your knees.
Exhale, round your spine, press the ground away from you, spread your shoulder blades, release your head to the floor, cat pose.
Inhale, lift your tail bone and chest to the ceiling allowing your belly to fall to the floor coming into cow pose. Repeat several times and establish a steady breathing rhythm. A fantastic spine mobilising flow. After a few rounds return to the neutral position of the tabletop pose.
Inhale, sweep the right arm up to the ceiling, expanding and opening up the chest. Exhale, thread the right hand underneath the left arm placing your right shoulder and ear on the floor, stretching your shoulder and walking your left hand above your head, reaching into your fingertips. Breathe deep for a few rounds. To release out of the pose, walking your left hand back underneath your left shoulder. Press down through your left hands so you can sweep your right arm up to the ceiling, reaching once again to the fingertips. Place your hand back down to find tabletop and repeat on your other side.
Keeping your hips stacked above your knees, walk both arms in front of you, reaching into your fingertips. Exhale and release your forehead to the floor.
Slowly exhaling your chest to the mat, perhaps coming to your chin if you’re flexible enough, allowing your shoulders to open, stretching your upper back, arms and abdominal muscle.
With every exhale, press your chest into the floor, allow your breath to flow steadily. If you’re on your chin, place your forehead back down and slowly walk your hands back underneath your shoulders, pressing up to tablet pose.
Reach your right arm in front of you and your left leg out behind you. Stretching out into opposite fingers and toes. Engage your abs and bend your left knee. Reach around with the right hand and take hold of your left ankle. Feel a good stretch in your quad, hip flexor and abdominals and chest, breath for a few rounds.
Release back to table pose and repeat on the other side.
From tabletop pose, tuck your toes, lift your hips and exhale pressing back into down dog and peddle out your legs a few times to warm your hamstrings up and bringing some movements into your hips. Return to a static down dog.
Breathe deep for a few breaths then gradually walk your hands back towards your feet to find a standing forward fold at the back of the mats. Releasing tension and increasing blood flow to the brain, helping to wake you up and energising you.
Inhale up to a flat back by bringing your hands to your shins or thighs. Exhale, forward fold again, to release.
Begin to walk your hands, the right side of the mat, bending your left knee, lengthening your right leg and breath deep into your right hip and hamstring. A fantastic IT stretch.
On an inhale, sweep your right arm to the ceiling, trying to stack your shoulders and breathing deep into the twist. Hold for a few breaths before releasing your right hand down and returning to neutral.
Inhale to a flat back, exhale forward fold and let it go of any tension. Repeat on the other side.
Take a deep inhale rising to stand tall, stack your heart over your hips and your head over your heart. Sweep your arms up above your head, coming into mountain pose, Tadasana.
Exhale, release your arms down behind your back, interlace your fingers. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and open your chest.
Take a big inhale and exhale forward fold reaching your arms up behind you and opening up your shoulders, releasing the crown and your head to the floor.
Lengthen your hamstrings by sending your hips up high and breathing deep into the pose. Slowly bring yourself back up to standing.
Release the fingers and roll your shoulders back and down.
Inhale, sweep up. Exhale, forward fold walking your hands back outs to plank, finding plank position—Exhale, chin, chest and tailbone. Come into eight-point pose. Inhale flow up to Cobra or updog, making sure shoulders stacked over the wrist. Drop your shoulders away from your ears then exhale and pressing back to down dog.
Inhale, step your right, foot to the top of the mat. Lift your chest. Inhale, sweeping the arms up above your head, feeling a deep hip flexor stretch on the left side.
Exhale, place the hands. Step back to plank. Repeat on your left side.
Exhale, place the hands and forward fold to the top of the mat.
Inhale, sweep the arms up high above the head, exhale your hand’s prayer position at your heart.
Taking a few breaths here. Feeling your feet ground down through the floor, through the earth. Rolling your shoulders back and down and taking a moment, just breathe. Acknowledging how different the body feels.
Enjoy the moment of feeling nourished and calm. appreciate the yoga flow for energising your body and mind. Take a deep breath in through the nose, open your mouth, exhale let it go.
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