Are you new to Yoga? Or are you an avid Yogi that is looking for something to spice up your routine?
Regardless of your aptitude one thing is for sure….. Yoga is awesome for the mind body and spirit.
But if you are like me – a Yogi who is quite preoccupied with various daily challenges – Yoga may be the furthest thing from your mind when your alarm goes off at 6am.
I still make it a point to do it in the morning because it is the best way to prepare for the day.
So tomorrow before you push the snooze button or stumble out of bed in a feeble attempt to make coffee, try a sequence of energizing yoga poses. The perfect way to transition from sleep to alertness with zero caffeine, yoga gently eases your body and mind awake.
But before we dive in the simple yoga routine lets start with a little history:
The History of Yoga
Developed over 5,000 years ago in the Indus-Sarasvati civilization of Northern India, the history of yoga can be divided into four stages of development. Because of the oral transferal of sacred texts, and the secretive nature of the early teachings of yoga, some of its backgrounds is unclear. According to YogaBasics.com, many of the early writings on yoga were written on palm leaves which were easily damaged or lost. Still, the word “yoga” appeared in some of the oldest sacred texts including the Rig Veda, a collection of sacred texts that contained mantras, rituals, and songs used by Brahmans, or Vedic Priests. Vedic priests and Rishis or mystic seers recorded their yoga practices and beliefs in the Upanishads, a collection of 200 scriptures. According to Timothy Burgin’s article History of Yoga,
“The most renowned of the Yogic scriptures is the Bhagavad-Gîtâ, composed around 500 B.C.E. The Upanishads took the idea of ritual sacrifice from the Vedas and internalized it, teaching the sacrifice of the ego through self-knowledge, action (karma yoga) and wisdom (jnana yoga).”
The Various Types of Yoga
Yoga is not a one-size-fits-all. There are various types of yoga to suit the needs of everyone, from novices to yoga pros. Here’s a brief guide to the different schools of yoga:
1. Anusara Yoga was created in 1997 by American yogi, John Friend. Anusara aims to use yoga poses that open the heart and allow practitioners to experience grace. This practice is based on the belief that people are intrinsically good.
2. Ashtanga Yoga was popularized by Pattabhi Jois and brought to the west during the 1970s. This style of yoga follows a rigorous sequence of poses that links every movement to the breath. Poses are physically demanding and are repeated in the same order each time.
3. Bikram Yoga was developed 30 years ago by Bikram Choudhury. Practitioners perform a sequence of 26 poses in a heated room.
4. Hatha Yoga is a term used to describe yoga that teaches physical postures. Most classes cater to beginner yoga postures and will leave you feeling more relaxed.
5. Similar to Bikram, Hot Yoga is a series of poses in a heated room. However, the sequence in hot yoga deviates from Bikram.
6. Iyengar Yoga was developed by B.K.S. Iyengar. Practitioners use various props including blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, bolsters, and rope wall to create the right alignment in a pose. Iyengar yoga is perfect for those who suffer from an injury or chronic condition.
7. Restorative Yoga uses yoga props including blocks, blankets and bolsters and passive poses to help practitioners relax. Restorative yoga aims to rejuvenate practitioners and requires little physical effort.
8. Vinyasa Yoga is a sequence of fluid poses that smoothly transition from one pose to the next.
According to YogaJournal.com, yoga in the morning (or anytime of day) has many health benefits including:
- Improved flexibility
- Builds muscle strength
- Improves posture
- Prevent cartilage and joint breakdown
- Protects the spine
- Betters your bone health
- Increases blood flow
- Drains the lymph and boosts immunity
- Increases heart rate
- Lowers blood pressure
- Regulates the adrenal glands
- Improves mood
- Lowers blood sugar
- Helps focus
- Relaxes the sympathetic nervous system
- Improves balance
- Releases tension in the limbs
- Improves sleep
- Gives your lungs room to breath
- Prevents IBS and other digestive disorders
- Helps with peace of mind
- Increases self-esteem
- Eases pain
- Supports the connective tissue
10-Minute Morning Routine
Simple yoga routine you can do in 10 minutes
I know many of us do not have the time to complete a 26 pose yoga sequence but lucky for you, we have put together a 10-minute simple yoga routine that you can do to help ease you into the day.
An hour-long yoga session before work would be lovely, however many of us would not have the time to complete a 26 pose yoga sequence. Rejoice! We have the perfect yoga postures to add to your daily routine. Take a mindful moment for yourself before the morning rush with a few gentle yoga poses that will help you ease into the day:
Sit in a kneeling position, then bring your chest down to your thighs and place your forehead on the ground. Lengthen your arms on your side toward your feet or place your hands underneath your forehead. Notice your chest expand as you breath in and exhale through your nose. As you exhale, allow your spine to curve as your buttocks sink toward on your heels.
Sit in a tabletop position with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Place your palms on your mat and make sure your shoulder blades are broad. Look forward as you inhale and as you exhale tuck your chin toward your chest.
Downward Dog Pose
Place your palms slightly wider than shoulder width. As you tuck your toes in, lift your hips in the air. Hold for one breath. Arms should be straight as you bend your knees and begin to walk feet back up.
Standing Forward Bend Pose
Let the upper body relax as you walk your feet toward your hands. Try to straighten legs, however, if there is tension in your lower back keep your knees bent. As you inhale to lengthen the spine and when you exhale, move your head back to your feet.
In a standing position, widen legs to leg-length then turn your right foot toward the side. Move your arms parallel to the ground and reach toward your right side. Keep both legs straight as you reach, then move the arms so that they are parallel in opposite directions.
Stand straight, then as you shift your weight onto the right foot gently bring your left foot toward your inner thigh. If you have trouble balancing your foot on your thigh, move it down to the calf. Hold your hands in a prayer position on the chest and breathe deeply before switching to the next leg.
Get into a kneeling position and then bend the torso backward until your hands are able to touch your feet. Extend your head and hold this position for 30 seconds.
Sit with legs extended before you. As you bend your knees place your feet on the floor and the put your left foot under your right leg toward the outside of the right hip. As you lay your left leg on the floor your right foot should be placed on the ground but on the outside of the left hip. The right knee should point toward the ceiling and the upper body should twist as far as your shoulders and waist will permit. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
Aoun, Gabriela. “The 5 Yoga Poses You Should Do Every Morning,” huffintonpost.com
Burgin, Timothy. “History of Yoga,” Yoga Basics
Hanley, Kate. “A Beginner’s Guide to 8 Major Styles of Yoga,” Gaiam Life
Iliades, Chris, M.D. “Yoga Basics: A Great Way to Start Your Day,” Everyday Health
McCall, Timothy, M.D. “38 Health Benefits of Yoga,” Yoga Journal