I don’t know about you, but some mornings it feels like it takes my body a good 30 minutes to fully wake up (when I can afford to take 30 minutes, at least). To help you get a good start in the mornings, try to have a short stretching routine that takes anywhere from 3 minutes to 10 minutes in the morning when you get out of bed. Make it however long you want or need, but doing stretches in the morning in general will be a gentle way of revving your body up in the right way and also prepare it for day to come.
As you probably know, stretching is a good way to release tissue buildup in your muscles and get your blood flowing as well. People who have chronic aches should stretch first thing in the morning to help alleviate those aches or prevent them from getting worse during the day. For example, shoulder, neck, and back pain are the most common things that people complain about and it only gets worse throughout the day. Most of our stress and tension seems to be carried in those areas, which is why a nice shoulder, neck, and back massage could benefit most of us right now.
These are some basic yoga stretches that we recommend for starting your day on the right foot. I’ll try to make this as short as possible.
To start, do a simple upward stretch (also called upward salute). Raise your arms straight up above your hand and feel a stretch in your spine. Hold for a few seconds and take some deep breaths. This is probably a familiar stretch as may people do it naturally to decompress their spine and stretch out their shoulders. In yoga terms, this is called Urdha Hastasana, literally “raised hands pose.”
Another great stretch to help with is releasing tension in your lower back, lats, and shoulders is Child’s Pose. Everyone who does yoga will be familiar with this one. Find a place on the floor with ideally a mat under you (or something soft for your knees). Start on all fours (tabletop position) and then sit back on your heels with your feet closer and knees slightly wider than your hips. Keep your arms straight in front of you and let your forehead touch the mat. Take a few breaths/seconds in this position.
After child’s pose, it’s a good idea to transition into Cat and Cow stretches. Start in tabletop position and arch your back up toward the ceiling until you feel a stretch in your upper back. Hold for a few seconds and then pull your back in the opposite direction, toward the floor. Hold for another few seconds. Time these movements with your breath, breathing out on the Cat stretch and in on the Cow stretch.
If you have wrist issues, it might be a good time to stretch out your wrists as well here. We recommend a Rear Facing Wrist Stretch to start with, although there are many stretches you can do for your wrists.
Upward-Facing Dog and Downward-Facing Dog are stretches that you can do in a sequence for a dynamic stretch. Both of these are very common and basic yoga poses, so I won’t go into them, but I will say that the value of these poses, although very fundamental, are really great stretches for your whole body. Downward Dog stretches your arms, shoulders, and legs. Upward Dog stretches and strengthens your spine, wrists, arms, and upper body.
You can also transition between Downward Dog and Plank by shifting your shoulders from Downward Dog position up until they’re directly above your wrists. Shifting back and forth between these positions and holding for a few seconds at each makes for a nice dynamic stretch in the morning to warm up your body.
It’s worth noting that everyone will have different needs and should cater their stretches to their issues. If you know you’re prone to wrist pain, look up wrist stretches that you can do to help with wrist mobility. If you know you’ll be sitting at a desk all day and tend to have bad posture, look up neck and shoulder stretches and stretches that help with bad posture.
Before I finish this blog and wish you all a nice weekend, I wanted to mention that we will be teaching a special boxing class later this afternoon at 4pm on Instagram live to raise money for the FREEDOM MARCH. Come work out and box with us!