Practicing yoga in the morning can help steer the course of your day. All you have to decide is whether you want to leave the house composed and grounded, or energized and with a twinkle in your eyes. Your choices for what kind of yoga you want to practice are almost limitless. Listen to your inner wisdom and choose what's best for you.
Greet the rising sun with one of the oldest sequences of yoga poses: the Sun Salutations. Also known as Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit, these 11 poses flow into and out of each other in almost seamless fashion. Start in Mountain, a pose that requires you to pull and adjust your body into perfect alignment. From Mountain you fold forward to touch the ground, then sweep into poses like Four-Limbed Staff, Upward Dog and Downward Dog, and wind up the sequence back in Mountain. Each pose, except Downward Dog, is held for the space of a breath, and the entire cycle can be repeated as many times as you like.
Grow Your Roots
Staying grounded is more desirable than being swept up and tossed and turned by a hectic day. Find a sliver of sun in the morning to perform powerful standing poses that will keep you in touch with your inner strength. Warriors I and II, Triangle, Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend, Chair and Crescent all help you find that perfect blend of strength and flexibility. Even in Tree, that wobbly, one-legged balancing pose -- when you find that sweet spot that allows you to sway and adjust without losing your balance or composure, you'll drive your roots deep.
Your Inner Child
Kundalini yoga is a blend of athleticism and fun. You could find yourself standing with your feet spread wide apart while swinging from side to side, arms and hair flying. For the few moments you're tapping into your inner kid, you're also creating a flexible spine and torso and improving your lungs' capacity. Frog pose begins in a crouch with your heels touching, your feet splayed outward and your fingertips poised on the floor. Like all Kundalini poses, there's a purpose and a side effect to Frog. The purpose is to build tremendous strength in your legs, and the side effect is the pure, child-like glee of moving in wacky ways.
Building Your Sequence
You may decide to expend your repertoire of yoga poses during a morning practice or stick to the tried and true. It's up to you. Besides relying on experience, DVDs or books, there are online tools to help you direct or expand your practice. Yoga Journal online has a free sequence builder that allows you to enter poses into a matrix, name the sequence and save it for future use. My Yoga Online requires a paid subscription, but offers a staggering array of videos of yoga practices, from beginner level to advanced, in every style.