The traditional way to greet the morning is with the yoga sun salutations, or Surya Namaskara. There are different sun salutations and many total variations from beginner to advanced levels. Beginners should perform the shortest version, the half sun salutation and can modify if necessary, recommends "Yoga Journal." Yoga in the morning helps you wake up, start the day off setting the intention for success and ensures that work or other responsibilities do not prohibit you from practice as they can in the evenings.
Begin in Mountain
The half sun salutation is a short sequence that makes up the first half of sun salutation A. The sequence begins by standing with your feet together and holding your hands in prayer position in front of your heart. This is Mountain pose. Next, breathe in and raise your arms out to the sides and up over your head, reaching for the ceiling and bringing your palms together.
Modified Forward Bend
After you raise your arms overhead and lengthen your spine, bend forward with a flat back and reach for the floor, trying to touch your chest to your thighs. Breathe out as you move forward. Traditionally you keep your knees straight during a half sun salutation when you fold forward, but the beginner can do the modified version and bend the knees, which requires less flexibility. Since your muscles are tight when you wake up, this will also be easier until you are fully warmed up.
Modified Upward Forward Fold
The upward forward fold is the next pose in the routine. The upward forward fold leaves the legs in the same position as the forward bend, meaning beginners should keep their knees bent. Simply straighten your arms and raise your back halfway up until near parallel to the floor. The spine stays straight and elongated. Pulling the abdominals in stabilizes the spine as you raise your upper torso so the back does not arch. Breathe in as you do this pose.
Reverse the Movements
The half sun salutation begins and ends in the same manner. After the half forward fold, you simply bend forward again into the modified forward bend and then reach your arms overhead into Mountain pose. End by bringing the hands back in front of your heart. Beginners may start with as little as one to two cycles of the half sun salutations. Work up to five to 10.
The morning is the ideal time to perform sun salutations because the energy of the sun is strongest at this time. Therefore, this is also an ideal time to do yoga breathing. A simple yoga exercise for breath control and meditation you can use to finish your routine is to lie on your back and breathe naturally. Slowly increase the length of your breaths as you breathe through your nostrils. Take six deep breaths. Next, hold your breath for a moment between each inhalation and exhalation for 12 breaths. Finish the exercise with six deep breaths and no pauses. Breathing in takes the energy into your body and holding the breath helps you absorb it.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.