Morning Warm Up: a 15-minute at-home sequence for busy yogis
During the worst of winter, we tend to press the snooze button and blame the dark and cold for us not sticking to our regular routines; such as pre-work yoga in the morning. And, when it’s wet, cold, and dark, sometimes we need an alternative to rushing out the door to make a class before a busy day of work.
With this in mind, Courtney Bodger – our recent yoga graduate and talented hair dresser – is sharing a short yoga warm-up to start your day on the right note.
Set the alarm 20 minutes earlier than usual, and enjoy a gentle warm up that will stretch, strengthen and relax your body for the day ahead. Designed for already practicing yogis, this is the perfect way to start to develop your own at-home sequences and get back into that early morning routine.
Firstly, let’s wake up the body
Start in supta baddha konasana; lying down on your back with your knees out wide and the soles of your feet touching.
Shut down through the eyes, take a few breaths here and settle in for as long as you need.
It is quite calming to bring your left hand to rest on the heart and the right hand to rest on the belly, and monitor the movement of breath through your body.
Hug the knees into the chest and begin to rock and roll up the spine eventually making your way to sit in a comfortable cross legged position at the top of the mat.
Inhale, and reach your arms toward the sky.
Exhale as your right hand plants down beside you while the left hand reaches up and over toward the right for a side body stretch.
With your legs still crossed, now start to walk the hands right in front of you for a forward stretch increase the stretch, and hold as you wish.
Now walk the hands onto the mat in front of you (to be just under the shoulders) and roll over onto your knees to come onto all fours/table top position, with the wrists stacked under the shoulders and the knees stacked under the hips in preparation for cat cow.
Warming up the spine
Cat cow – five rounds
Inhale to drop the belly and arch the back as you look ahead, and exhale as your draw your chin to your chest and round through the back. Stop and wiggle around as you please, continuing to warm up the spine and hips.
From all fours, lift up into downward dog, bending into one knee and then the other and pedalling through the feet.
Find stillness in downward dog with three long inhales through the nose and big exhales sighing out of the mouth.
Alignment tip: look to the picture accompanying this article to understand the alignment of downward dog, where we’d prefer to see a slight bend in the knees to elongate the spine, rather than pushing the heals down. Also notice how the head is dropped, the shoulders are relaxed, and the hands are strong with fingers spread out.
Inhale to walk the feet towards the hands
Exhale forward fold
Slowly roll up to standing (mountain pose) with palms at heart’s centre – stay for a moment with eyes closed, deepening your inhales and sighing on your exhales.
Begin to blink open the eyes to prepare to flow through your sun salutations
Saluting the sun and moving the entire body
Sun salutations – repeat four times
Inhale reach the arms above the head
Exhale forward fold
Inhale to a halfway lift
Exhale to plant the hands and step or jump back to a plank
Keep the knees raised, or lower to the ground as you keep the elbows in and slowly lower the whole body to the ground
Inhale to a cobra or upward facing dog
Exhaling back to downward dog
A gentle vinyasa flow to finish
From downward facing dog:
Inhale right leg in the air nice and slowly, exhale knee to nose (curl the spine)
Inhale right leg in air, exhale knee to right elbow
Inhale right leg in air, exhale knee to left elbow
Inhale right leg in air,
Exhale to downward facing dog, moving through your flow
Inhale right leg in air, nice and slowly
Exhale to step the right foot between the hands, lowering onto the left knee
Inhale hands lift toward the sky
Exhale right hand finds the left wrist as you reach the hands up and over towards the right, coming into a side body stretch
Now drop the left hand to the mat next to the inner right foot, reaching up with the right hand to come through your twist
Option: half bind, right hand to left hip
Inhale to reach both arms up through centre
Exhale to drop the hands to the mat, step the foot back and move through your flow
Finishing with some deep breaths in child’s pose
To finish, come into a calming child’s pose for a few minutes.
Take this time to breathe deeply and acknowledge how you are feeling.
Hopefully, refreshed and invigorated before the day ahead.