First thing in the morning, it is your responsibility to alert your organic machine that it is time to go into the world being awesome.
The following rituals are essential to waking up your body from the inside out.
This is your Morning Yoga. It can take as short as five minutes and as long as 25 minutes. Whatever the quantity of time, you have time to do these simple and effective exercises.
Start by standing up nice and tall. Take a good morning stretch here. You know the one: arms stretch out and up while you yawn like a lion.
Step 1: Then think about your bones and how they are connected together at the bendy parts. Press your fingertips together leaving about a grapefruit sized space between your palms. Then press your palms together. Create the space, and then suck up the space. Do this a few times.
Step 2: Make fists, and then release. Repeat this a few times. Your fists will get tights and stronger as you wake up.
Step 3: Make small wrist circles. Go in both directions.
Step 4: Then, move to forearm rotations. Think about drawing circles around your elbow joints with your wrists. Make sure you circle in both directions.
Step 5: Shoulder rolls are delightful! Do those next. Roll your shoulders up, back, and down. Roll them forward and back.
Step 6: Knees are next. Place your hands on your knees and think back to gym class. With softly bent knees, circle your knees to the left and then to the right.
Step 7: Pick up one foot and make some circles inward and outward. Go in both directions. Then, point toes down. Followed by a point of the toes up. It is like nodding yes with your foot. Then, do the other side.
Step 8: Lift one foot again and squeeze your toes in tight, then release. Do this on both feet.
Step 9: Hip circles will make you giggle at yourself. This is an added benefit to the exercise.
Place your hands on your hips, slide your hips to the right, then back, then to the left, and then slight forward. Track a circle around your ankles with your hips. Go in both directions, and let the circle take whatever their natural sizes are.
Step 10: Standing Spinal Waves are the last and best part. Tuck your chin and roll yourself downward one vertebra at a time. Then roll back up the same way. Go slowly.
Repeat this as much as you like.
Slapping and Tapping In
Once your joints are happy and awake, it is time to bring some life into the skin and muscle with slapping and tapping.
Begin by making “Ms. America” hands (cupping your hands as if waving at loyal subjects).
Gently slap the cupped hands along your arms, shoulders, under your arms, and ribs.
Next, make fists and use the flat part of your fists to tap around your hips, bum, and thighs.
Finish it off by gliding your hands over your limbs and stomach as if wiping water off of your skin.
Move to the floor or your mat, and take a Tabletop Position with wrists underneath the shoulders and knees under the hips.
Take a good-morning inhale, soften your spine, let your tailbone lift, send your gaze forward or straight up, and be mindful of your speed.
As you exhale, tuck your tailbone under, tuck your chin, and draw your triceps and ribs in.
Repeat this as many times as you like. The more repetitions, the deeper the stretch.
To move to your Downward Dog, use an exhalation in your Cat/Cow pose to pull the belly in and lift the hips up.
Move around in this pose. Move the legs. Bend the elbows. Transition from Downward to Plank if you feel like you’re ready to take on the world. Use the Downward Dog as a playground for your body.
Wrap this all up by walking your feet to your hands and bringing your palms to your heart. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath, and know that you are ready for the day ahead.