What if you could start each day with 15 minutes dedicated just to waking yourself up and getting clear on what you want to do with your day? It’s easier than you think. Instead of reaching for your phone on the nightstand and starting to scroll through social media or respond to emails, set aside a little time just for you. The rest of your day will thank you.
Here is a 15-minute yoga-inspired routine that will help your mind and body prepare for the day ahead.
1. Cat-cow wake up
Start with some stretches to wake up your spine and get the blood flowing slowly. Stand on all fours with your wrists right under your shoulders and knees right under your hips. Slowly arch and round your spine, taking deep breaths in as you arch and deep breaths out as you round. In yoga this is referred to as cat-cow. Repeat five times, slow and easy. Then add in some bigger movements and hip circles — whatever feels great this very morning.
2. Child’s pose side stretch
From there, rest in child’s pose; bring your big toes to touch and rest your bottom on your heels. Reach your arms forward and rest the forehead down on the floor or your mat. Do a side stretch by first reaching the arms onto the floor slightly to the right in front of you, then back through center and over to the left, holding each side for three to five deep breaths.
3. Downward dog walk
From child’s pose, slowly start straightening your legs and arms into a downward-facing dog pose, but keeping the knees slightly bent. Gently reach one heel down towards the floor, then switch, slowly stretching the back of your legs. Then walk your feet up to meet your hands, knees slightly bent and hanging forward over your legs. Let your neck and head fully release here.
4. Spine roll to stand
Slowly roll yourself up to standing — going vertebrae by vertebrae — letting your neck and head arrive last. Place a hand on your heart and another on your belly and take five deep breaths.
Reach your arms up to the sky, and grabbing one wrist at a time with the opposite hand, reach your side, waist and arm up even higher. Release the arms and fold over your legs. Roll up through your spine again and repeat the stretch and fold three times, taking deep breaths as you go.
6. Breath of fire (omit this step if you’re pregnant)
Sit down either in a chair, on the side of your bed, or on the floor. Allow your eyes to close and begin to quickly push air in and out of your nose by “pumping” your stomach in and out to create a rhythmic nostril breathing. Continue for a minute or so and begin to slow it down. Return to your natural breath and sit still for a moment to notice how your body feels.
Stay seated for a three-minute morning meditation. It could be as simple as counting your inhales and exhales, repeating a mantra, or scanning your body to notice how each part is feeling today.
8. Gratitude journal
Lastly, if you wish, take a moment to write down your intentions for the day as well as something you are feeling truly grateful for this morning. Sometime these kinds of practices feel a bit awkward at first, but doing them regularly and without self-judgment will make them feel easier and more natural over time.
Well done! Now go get a cup of warm water with lemon, make a delicious smoothie, and go out for some fresh air and daylight.