The 5-Minute Yoga Routine That's as Good as a Cup of Coffee
Last Updated: Jun 29, 2016
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Whether your drink of choice is coffee, tea, matcha chai or anything in between, the sense of warmth and ritual that a morning beverage brings is a great way to start the day. A quick yoga session is another way to energize your body and mind. This mini yoga flow is designed to help you awaken to the world so that you can show up more fully in all areas of your life. It requires no equipment or travel time, is a centering and grounding activity, and can be done in as little as four to five minutes. And it’s not just great for the morning -- you can do this flow to get out of your mid-day slump, too!
Begin in mountain pose, standing tall with your feet together and grounded into the floor or mat, shoulders back, and arms at your side. Take a few deep breaths here, in through your nose and out through your mouth or nose. While in mountain pose, take a few moments to connect to your breath and ground your emotions. Check in with how you're feeling and tap into some emotions that might be draining your energy. Set the intention to release those energy drains and open your heart to new vitality for the next few minutes.
On your next inhale, sweep your arms up to the sky, bringing your palms to touch. As you breathe in and sweep your arms up, begin the process of connecting each movement to a breath. This increased awareness on breath will help energize and awaken the body and mind.
As you exhale, sweep your arms out to the sides and fold forward at your hips. The transition between full and half forward fold reminds us that we can be both relaxed and aware, helping us toe the line between rest and work.
Place your hands on the ground. It’s important to remember that you can bend your knees as much as needed during the forward fold, based upon your mobility. As you fold forward fully, let all of the stress release from your body and mind. Let go of everything that takes a toll on your energy and free yourself from all of the worries and anxiety you might be facing for the day. This is the opportunity to let it flow through you and beyond you.
HALF FORWARD FOLD
On your next inhale, flatten your back and come halfway up, exhaling as you fold forward once more. Half forward fold is a transition pose that helps lengthen the spine before going into more involved poses. It also reinforces proper alignment along the spine and low back.
Step back into downward dog. Again, bend your knees as much as you need! What’s important isn’t that your legs are straight, but that you’re lifting up through your hips and drawing your shoulder blades back. You can pedal out your legs here as you take a few breaths. Drawing the shoulder blades together in this pose helps strengthen the muscles of the middle and upper back, preventing pain. If those muscles are weak, your shoulders hunch forward, which pulls on the back and causes discomfort. It’s an especially beneficial pose for those of us stuck at desks all day.
THREE-LEGGED DOG WITH BENT KNEE
When you’re ready, inhale as you lift your right leg, bending the knee and opening the hip. It's easy to forget to link breath and movement as the poses become more difficult. Go ahead and take a few extra breaths to focus on balance -- just don’t hold your breath at any point. This pose stretches the groin and hips and adds an additional shoulder stability challenge.
Next, very carefully flip the right leg over to touch the ground, lifting the hips and reaching with the right arm to open the heart. Take one full breath here before gently flipping back over. Wild thing gives us an opportunity to move outside of the box. It flips us over, physically and emotionally, allowing us to open our hearts and invite creative energy.
As you exhale, bring your right knee into your chest and place the right foot in between the hands for lunge, inching the foot forward if needed. When sitting at a desk for hours, the hip flexors can become tight and weak, leading to back pain and other issues. The lunge stretches the hip flexors and glutes (top of thighs), which helps ward off aches.
Inhale as you come up into a lunge. You can rest your knee on the ground, or lift it up, straightening only as much as you can without arching your low back. Hands can be placed on the hips or swept up toward the sky. This is a powerful pose that opens the heart and hips, while grounding us in presence and power. Tap into your spiritual energy as you reach upward.
Take a full breath in lunge before exhaling down and stepping into plank, with your abs, legs and glutes (butt muscles) engaged, and your body forming a straight line from ear to ankle. Plank is a strength-focused pose that engages almost every muscle in the body and is especially good for the shoulders and core.
From plank, shift your weight slightly forward and exhale as you come down into chaturanga or low push-up, keeping the elbows in tight toward your body. You can come down to your knees if you wish. If you can't keep the elbows close to your sides during the pose, go to your knees rather than "cheating" the move. When performed properly, chaturanga will strengthen the triceps (backs of the arms), engage the core and improve shoulder stability.
Inhale to come into up dog, turning onto the tops of your feet and straightening your arms, keeping the shoulders back and thighs off the ground. Up dog opens the heart and shoulders and encourages stretching the front of the body. This opening helps counteract the hunching posture that we fall into throughout the day.
Exhale and come to the balls of your feet as you return to downward dog before repeating the same sequence (starting with #1, mountain pose) on the left side.
FORWARD FOLD TO STANDING
Once the left side is complete and you end the sequence in downward dog, step back into forward fold, reversing the movements to come back to standing (mountain pose). You can repeat this entire flow three to five times as time allows.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Will you give this energizing yoga flow a try? What's your favorite type of yoga? Do you have any form tips to share with our readers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
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