I've had this post written for a while now, but I was hesitant on posting it because I dreaded taking the pictures. I know pregnancy is a beautiful thing and you shouldn't compare yourself to others but lets be honest, I am WAY bigger at this stage in the game with baby #3 than I was with my other 2. It takes a toll on the good ol self esteem. I mean, I'm suppose to be carrying this baby in my belly, not my hips, thighs and butt! But I digress. I'm still practicing yoga and feel so good afterwards. So keep reading if you need a short little yoga morning pick me up!
Yoga has so many benefits I don't even know where to start! Practicing yoga in the morning really helps to get your body moving, clear your head, and starts your day off on the right foot! I've came up with a basic little yoga routine to help stretch your muscles and help you feel accomplished before you start your day.
Practicing yoga in the morning can help you feel centered and happy. Another great benefit from a morning practice, is you are certain to fit it in your day. My husband and I try to do a night practice, but it really only happens a couple of times a week. The other nights tend to get busy with trying to put the kids to bed, my Etsy shop, cleaning the house, blah, blah , blah. So when I practice in the morning, I know it will get done.
To start a daily yoga routine, take it slow! You don't have to commit to doing a long practice, start with 10 minutes and you can gradually add more once you feel your ready. I teach a yoga class twice a week in the morning and love how I feel after. I've found it's harder to commit to a yoga practice at home though. But there are 7 days a week, so I decided to commit to doing my own practice, at home, even with my kids, at least twice a week. Starting your day off in a nice, relaxed mood makes all the difference.
Make sure to take an adequate amount of time to warm up. Some mornings we wake up with stiff bodies and we have to be aware of how we feel. Don't feel like you have to push yourself to do anything too hard or strenuous. With that said, I love sun salutations. I think they are so good for the whole body and have truly helped me become stronger. So to start my morning routine, I start with a few sun salutations. Depending on how I'm feeling that morning determines how many I do, but I always do at least 4. This gets my heart pumping and my body ready for any other stretches or poses I'm going to do. If you want to see how I do my sun salutations, read THIS post.
Thread The Needle
Starting in childs pose, pretend there is an imaginary line down the middle of your mat. Bring your right ear and shoulder to rest on that line as you slide your right arm toward the left. Repeat other side. I like to hold all of the poses for at least 5 nice breaths.
Oh hello puppy! I guess he wanted in the pic! In case your wondering what the other arm is doing, just keep it straight, reaching toward the wall.
Downdog is used as a resting pose a lot of times, but your entire body is engaged. Your drawing your shoulder blades back, pressing into the mat with your hands, your thighs are lifting up towards your hips and your engaging the core by pulling the belly in towards the back of the body.
Oh I love triangle pose. Starting in a wide stance, turn your front toe to face the front of the room and your back toe to face the side. Extend your arms out from the shoulders and begin to reach forward as your hips press back. Slowly allow the front arm to begin to reach for the ground, or shin as the back arm begins to lift up towards the ceiling. Think of pulling the front hip back and the back hip forward. Draw the shoulder blades down and enjoy the nice stretch.
From triangle pose, slowly begin to bring the top arm down and turn the hips so they are both pointed down to the ground. I like to tell my class to imagine there is a pile a books on your hips and you don't want them to slide off. Allow the upper body to blanket over the front leg and breath. This is such an awesome hamstring stretch but remember to listen to your body, placing your hands on your shins or bending the front knee if it's too intense.
3 Legged Dog
From pyramid pose, just slide your front leg back into down dog. From here, place your weight into one foot as the other foot begins to rise up. For a more intense hamstring stretch, flex the top foot. Look back at your raised leg and make sure your pinky toe is pointing down toward the mat. This will help you keep the hips even and engage the core.
Remember to continue to press away from the hands. Don't allow the form of your down dog go just because you lifted a foot.
Knee To Forehead
Starting in 3 legged dog, bring your top leg toward you forehead, rounding the spine. Hold for your entire exhalation. On the inhale, bring your leg back up to 3 legged dog. Repeat on the same side for 5-10 breaths. Repeat on the other side. This pose is a little harder for me to demonstrate these days due to the belly :) When it gets too uncomfortable I'll take this pose out of my practice.
If pregnant, skip this one. I made sure not to go very deep in this pose because I didn't want to squish my baby!
Looking at your hands, walk both feet in to a forward fold. Hold here for 5 breaths. If your more flexible, bend one knee while trying to keep your hands on the floor. Switch sides and hold an additional 5 breaths.
Try to keep feet only about hip width. My feet are wider here to make room for my belly.
From forward fold, reverse swan dive lifting your body up to a standing position. Place your hands on your hips stepping one foot back. Make sure your hips stay square, so your step back might not be that big. When your ready, your hands can come to your heart and then begin to lift them towards the ceiling, continuing to pull the front of you body to the back of the body.
Allowing your hips to open to the side of the room extend your arms out to the side resisting the urge to lean forward or backward. Keep the core engaged as you bend the front knee and look beyond your front arm.
Seated Forward Fold
From a seated position, make sure your sitting on both sitz bones with your hands by your sides. Lift your arms up toward the ceiling with a straight spine. Slowly begin to hinge from the hips as you reach forward, being careful not to round the spine. Once you've reached as far as you can, then you can round forward reaching for your feet, shins, or wherever you can be comfortably uncomfortable.
After you try this workout in the morning, let me know what you think!