5 Minute Morning Yoga Flow for Stretching and Strengthening (Video)
I wish I was the kind of person who woke up at dawn, did a morning meditation followed by a great yoga practice with plenty of time to spare to get ready, have breakfast and relax. Unfortunately my mornings are a bit more hectic than that and although I do some yoga in the morning, it’s rarely longer than 10 minutes! Sound familiar?
We all have busy lives, and while it’s important to maintain a regular yoga practice, sometimes we just don’t have a full 30 or 60+ minutes to practice.
Here is my go-to morning yoga sequence to help you stretch and strengthen your body when you’re short on time.
Start in child’s pose – my absolute favorite pose to do first thing in the morning! Bring your big toes together and your knees as wide apart as you like. Stretch your arms forward and lower the forehead to the floor or to a block.
We tend to be a lot less flexible in the morning, so if you feel compression in your lower back, bring your knees closer together.
Hold for a few breaths but make sure you don’t stay here too long – otherwise you might fall back asleep!
Engage the arms and lift into tabletop position with your palms under the shoulders and your knees under the hips. Spread your fingers wide and press into the knuckles to take the weight off of the wrists.
As you inhale, drop the belly towards the floor, lift your tailbone and shift your gaze skyward for Cow pose. On the exhale, round the spine by bringing the chin towards the chest and pulling the navel up and in for Cat pose. Move through these two poses by following the rhythm of your breath. It might even feel good to hold one of these two poses for a few breaths at a time.
Cat and Cow is a wonderful way to warm up the spine and get a boost of energy.
Make your way into Downward Dog by bringing the palms forward slightly and lifting the hips up and back. If your hamstrings are tight, widen your feet towards the edges of the mat instead of keeping them hip-width distance apart. Bend your knees generously to protect your low back and move however feels good here. Shake your head, sway your hips, bend into alternate knees . . . do what intuitively feels good to you and continue to breathe deeply.
From your Downward dog, lean the weight into your left leg and extend your right leg up and back. Bend that knee to open up the hip while pressing the right shoulder down. Nothing should change in the upper body – focus on your hips and legs only. Squeeze the glutes and spread through the toes as you wake up the legs.
A great way to warm up the hip joint here is to draw some circles with the knee. Keep the arms long and straight as you press your chest towards the thighs and soften the neck.
From your Three Legged Dog, step your right foot forward to the top of the mat and lower your left knee to the floor for a Low Lunge stance. Keep your fingertips grounded as you lift your head and chest and press the hips forward. Draw the shoulders away from the ears and breathe into the space you’re creating in the legs and chest.
This is my second favorite pose to do in the morning because it opens up your hip flexors, which is great if you spend most of your time sitting down. Make your way back into Downward Dog and repeat Three Legged Dog and Low Lunge on the second side.
From your Downward Dog, shift forward into Plank and lower onto your belly. Slide your palms under the shoulders and spread the fingers wide as you press into the tops of the feet. Press your weight into the hands and lift up into Cobra, using back strength and arm strength. Keep your elbows bent and your hips grounded, going only as high as is comfortable for your low back.
Flow with your breath: inhale and lift up to Cobra and exhale to lower, moving through that sequence a few times. Press your way back to Child’s pose to close the flow.
Want to watch these poses demonstrated in a video?
Follow along with Kassandra as she guides you through each pose.
This simple morning yoga flow can help you set the tone for the day ahead and only takes a few minutes to practice. It’s a great way to get a boost of energy and stretch and strengthen the entire body. I hope you enjoy this short sequence and as always, leave a comment below to share your feedback, questions or concerns.
Follow Kassandra on her YouTube channel, Yoga With Kassandra for more yoga tutorials.