Rise and Shine: 3 Morning Yoga Routines to Boost Energy

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

There’s nothing better than getting in an early morning sweat session. It instantly wakes you up, leaving you both energized and refreshed. If you’re looking for the perfect morning routine, there are several yoga workouts specifically designed to boost your energy, ensuring you stay sharp throughout the day.

Experts agree that working out in the morning is great for your health. According to Web MD, your morning gym session improves sleep, which in turn helps promote weight loss. A study revealed that a group of women between the ages of 50 to 75 who partook in consistent morning exercise slept better than the other members of the study.

“We know that if you have poor quality sleep, it influences certain hormones that control appetite. It is possible that by exercising in the morning — instead of evening — the exercise affects the body’s circadian rhythm (your internal body clock) so you get better quality sleep. Good sleep helps control the hormonal balance that helps control appetite,” Cedric X. Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist of the American Council on Exercise, tells Web MD.

Ready to start your day on the right foot? Here’s a look at three rise and shine yoga routines that will boost your energy throughout the day.

yoga health exercise

1. Energy

Prevention writes that these five yoga poses are guaranteed to increase your energy levels. You can hold each pose for up to 20 minutes. Remember: the extended length and movement in these poses helps you build and sustain higher energy levels. Who knows? If you hold them long enough, you may not even need your morning cup of coffee.

Spinal Flex/Camel Ride: Sit with your legs crossed, holding onto your calves or shins. Inhale and lift your chest forward and up. Inhale and exhale as you round your spine, chin to chest. Start slowly and increase your pace steadily. Continue for three minutes.

Ego-Eradicator: Start by sitting with your legs crossed. Place your fingers, minus your thumbs, on the palms of your opposite hands, so the fingertips are right below the finger crease on the mounds of your hands. Leave your thumbs open like you’re hitchhiking. Bring your hands overhead to a 60 degree angle. Breathe rapidly through your nose, emphasizing your exhale. Try to hold this for one to three minutes. When you’re done, bring your thumbs together overhead, open the remaining fingers, and release your hands down.

Arm Pumps: Interlace your fingers in front of you. Clasp your hands so your knuckles face out, and your palms face in. Inhale, bring your arms up and overhead. Exhale, and lower your hands down to your knees. Continue this motion with a strong breath, inhaling your arms up, exhaling your arms down. Start by doing this for three minutes, and try build up to seven minutes. To finish, inhale with your arms up. Hold the breath for 15 seconds. Exhale and release your hands down.

Stretch Pose: Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched. With each hand, grab onto your corresponding big toe. (You can also grab your ankles or shins.) Inhale and arch your back straight and up. Exhale, bend down at the waist, and lower your head to your knees. Inhale, arch your back up and straight, exhale, and fold down at your waist. Continue this motion at a steadily increased pace for one to three minutes.

Back Platform Pose: Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you. Place your hands six to 12 inches behind your butt, with your fingertips facing your feet. Lift your butt off the floor. Squeezing your butt, thighs, and calves, engage your abs. Drop your head back so you are in a straight line from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Hold the position and begin a rapid breath of fire. Continue for one minute. To finish, hold your breath and posture for 15 seconds. Gently lower your body to the floor.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

2. Flow

This Care2 workout requires you to seamlessly transition from each pose, which is also referred to as “vinyasa” or flow. Make sure you focus on your breath through each movement.

Mountain Posture to Upward Salute: Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Bring your hands into prayer position in front of your chest. Gently inhale and exhale. Raise your hands — still in prayer position — over your head. Think about pressing your biceps against your ears, then tilt your head back slightly and gaze toward the sky. You want to keep your back straight. Hold for 10 deep breaths.

Upward Salute to Forward Bend: Release your hands from prayer position, rotating your palms to face forward, then bring your arms parallel to the floor and swan dive forward, until you are in a full standing forward bend. Either place your hands on the floor or grab hold of each elbow, and hang here for 30 seconds.

Forward Bend to Plank Pose: Place your palms on the floor and bend your knees. Jump your feet back so you’re in a push-up position on your toes with a straight back and your hands are directly under your shoulders. Use your core strength to keep a straight back, and try to hold this for 10 deep breaths.

Plank Pose to Downward Dog: To transition into down dog from plank, push with your arms, bringing your bottom into the air and walking your feet forward until you’re in downward dog. Remember to keep your upper back straight by pulling your shoulder blades together. Stay here and breathe for 30 seconds to a full minute.

Downward Dog to Upward Dog: Release your bottom down toward the floor, coming back into that push-up position you were in earlier. Then, turn your toes under, so the tops of your feet are on the floor. As you are changing foot positions, also bring your chest up between your hands, arching your spine and tilting your head back toward the sky. Hold for 10 deep breaths.

Upward Dog to Child’s Posture: From upward dog, push back on your hands, bringing your butt onto your feet, and rest your belly and chest on your thighs. Let your forehead rest on the floor, and either rest your arms by your sides or extend them out in front of you. Relax here for 30 seconds.

Child’s Posture to Camel Pose: From child’s pose, gently raise your torso so you’re sitting up on your heels. Take a couple of breaths here, then lift your bottom from your heels, so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor. Place your hands on your lower back, and lean backward, arching your back, letting your head come backward. If you want a deeper stretch, release one hand from your back and grab onto your heel, then release the other hand and grab the other heel. Engage your back muscles as you stretch the front of your body, and breathe in this position for 10 breaths.

Camel Pose to Shoulder Stand: To come up out of camel pose, bring your hands back to your lower back, then slowly bring your back straight again and sit back down on your heels. Come onto the floor, lying on your back, and bring your feet toward your bottom. Bring your hands back to your sides, and push on the floor with your arms to bring your feet up into the air. Place your hands on your lower back for support and focus on keeping your legs straight and your shoulder blades pulled together. Gaze at your belly button and breathe here for 30 seconds, before slowly rolling out of the posture, placing your spine onto the floor one vertebra at a time until you’re lying on your back once again.

Shoulder Stand to Fish Pose: To come into fish pose, remain on your back, and bring your hands under your bottom, with your palms on the floor. Slide your elbows beneath you, which naturally lifts your upper torso. Arch your upper back a little bit, so you can place the back or top of your head on the floor. Stay here and breathe for 30 seconds.

Fish Pose to Savasana: To transition from fish pose, straighten your neck, and pull your arms out from under you, letting them rest by your sides. Lay your legs about hip-width apart, and allow your feet to roll out. Now, just relax!

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

3. Balance

“This sequence engages your core and energizes your system from the inside out,” Women’s Health yoga expert Tara Stiles says to Active. Since these poses require balance, it forces you to take a lot of deep breaths, which increases your oxygen intake, helping you feel more alert. Hold these poses for 10 deep breaths. Repeat the sequence on the other side, and continue alternating until you’ve done the routine three times on each side.

Modified Down-Dog Split: Start in a push-up position, lift your hips, and move into downward facing dog. Take five breaths. Raise your right heel toward the ceiling as high as you can, then slowly lower your left forearm to the floor. Keep both palms flat on the floor.

Warrior 3: Straighten your left arm and put your right foot between your hands. Shift your weight onto your right foot as you raise your left leg. At the same time, raise your torso until it is parallel to the floor and reach your arms forward.

Modified Half-Moon Arch: Place your hands on the floor beneath your shoulders. Rotate your hips to the left and raise your left arm toward the ceiling. Bend your left knee back, and reach your left hand behind you to hold your foot.

Tree: Now, turn your hips and shoulders back toward the floor, then use your core muscles to roll your body up to standing. Place the sole of your left foot on your right inner thigh. Lift your arms straight up above your shoulders.

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