Yoga to Wake You Up

When you're sleepy and feeling sluggish, the best thing you can do is coordinate your movement and breath. Creating flexibility in the spine, lengthening the sides of your body, and opening your chest will make it easier for your lungs to expand and take in a deeper breath. This will automatically boost your energy and invigorate your whole being. Add a little twist to help release the tension between your shoulderblades and you'll be ready for the adventures ahead!

Cat/Cow in Table Position

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Benefit:

Wake up the spine and release stiffness in the back after sleeping. Release lower back pain and upper back tension. Improve neck and spine flexibility. Strengthen and open wrists.

HOW IT'S DONE:

Begin on all fours. Plant your hands beneath your shoulders with creases of the wrist parallel to the top of your mat and your knees beneath your hips. Press finger pads and the four corners of the hand (mound of the index finger, inner heel of the hand, mound of the pinky finger, outer heel of the hand) firmly into the mat. Exhale through your nose, draw your belly in, round your back, and relax your head. Inhale through the nose, roll the sit bones to the sky, soften the belly, soften between the shoulder blades, and look up. Go back and forth 5 times.

 

Downward Facing Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana

Benefit:

Open tight calves, release tight hamstrings, strengthen your arms, and release the sleepiness from your mind.

How to do it:

From table position (knees beneath the hips and hands beneath the shoulders), soften between your shoulder blades, curl your toes under, and lift your hips to the sky. Take the time to look at your hands and make sure that the creases of your wrist are parallel with the top of your sticky mat. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

 

Low lunge with side body stretch

BEnefit:

Breathe easier, increase energy, and open tight side bodies.

How to do it:

From the high lunge, lower the right knee to the floor. Hug your thighs towards one another. Wrap the right hip forward and tack the outer left hip back. As the right thigh resists the low lunge, allow the pelvis to come forward. Root through the right heel and extend up from the belly to the fingertips. Use your left hand, hold onto your right wrist, keeping the right arm in socket, relaxing the shoulder blades down the back. Lengthen the right arm and lean to the left. Hold for 5 - 10 breaths. Switch sides.

 

Locust Variation

Benefit:

Boost your energy and open the tight muscles of the chest, allowing you to take a deeper breath. Improve your posture and strengthen your back. Release tension in the shoulders and open your chest.

How to do it:

Lying on your belly, point the feet behind you. Keep the legs no wider than hip's distance. Press the tops of the feet onto the floor and scoop the tailbone. Interlace the fingers behind the back (or hold onto a belt if shoulders are too tight to reach fingers). Lengthen from the hips to the underarms, draw the shoulder blades towards one another, lift the chest and head away from the ground. Hold for 5 breaths.

 

 

High Lunge Twist

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Benefit:

This twist will bring you clarity, focus, and help you shed the sleepiness. A great alternative to hitting your snooze button 10 times.

How to do it:

From the high lunge, with your right leg back, and hands on either side of your right foot, move your right hand 10 inches to the right. Spread your back toes, hug your thighs towards one another, place your left hand on your left hip, and keep your outer left hip tacked back. Lean onto the right hand, lift your right inner thigh an inch higher, and begin to twist towards your left leg. Extend the left arm to the sky and look up towards your hand. Take 3 breaths and then switch sides.

 

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Irena Miller teaches bite-sized yoga to curious, intuitive people who want to feel at peace in their body and in the world. Her online yoga adventures target how to get you into the rhythm of the season. Strengthen the core in the summer, release shoulder tension in the spring, open tight hips in the fall, and alleviate sore backs in the winter.