A Super-Simple Morning Stretch Sequence to Do When You Wake Up Stressed

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Ease into your day with some simple stretching.
Image Credit: PixelsEffect/E+/GettyImages

Does your heart rate skyrocket when your alarm goes off? Do you break out in a cold sweat as you lie in bed thinking about your day's to-do list? Relax. Just 10 minutes of stretching can ease your morning stress and set you up for a calmer, brighter day.

The Sun Salutation is an ancient yoga sequence that can help you slow down, focus on your body and get out of your own head. Think of it as moving meditation.

As you move through this version of a Sun Salutation provided by yoga teacher and celebrity holistic health coach Koya Webb, check in with your body and notice how you feel from head to toe, inside and out. This 10-minute routine incorporates dynamic stretches that lengthen your spine and open up your hamstrings, hips and shoulders.

Move 1: Child’s Pose

Move 1: Child’s Pose
Image Credit: Koya Webb
Activity Yoga
Goal Mental Health
  1. Begin on your hands and knees.
  2. Spread your knees wide while keeping your toes touching and press your hips back, resting your butt on your heels.
  3. Let your forehead drop and come to the floor and bring your arms back to rest at your sides.
  4. Establish the breath. Feel your ribcage expand and contract.
  5. Reach your arms forward and hold for 3 breaths.

Move 2: Cat/Cow

Move 2: Cat/Cow
Image Credit: Koya Webb
Activity Yoga
Goal Mental Health
  1. Return to hands and knees with a flat back in a tabletop position on all fours. Keep your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Keep your spine in a neutral, flat position.
    1. As you inhale, arch your back, letting your belly drop toward the floor, and open your chest.
    2. As you exhale, round your spine and drop your head, arching your back up toward the sky like a scared cat.
    3. Repeat 3 times, moving with your breath.

Move 3: Downward Dog

Move 3: Downward Dog
Image Credit: Koya Webb
Activity Yoga
Goal Mental Health
  1. Begin on your hands and knees in tabletop position.
  2. As you breathe in, tuck your toes under, and slowly, with control, lift your knees away from the floor. Extend your legs straight to come into Downward Dog.
  3. Ground yourself through your hands, spreading your fingers and making sure your shoulders are back and down, not scrunched up near your ears.
  4. Press your chest to your thighs, tucking your chin slightly.
  5. Take one full breath in and out.

Move 4: Low Lunge

Move 4: Low Lunge
Image Credit: Koya Webb
Activity Yoga
Goal Mental Health
  1. Begin in Downward Dog. As you inhale, raise your right leg out behind you and flex your foot.
  2. As you exhale, bring your right foot forward between your hands. If you don't make it there on the first step, use your hand to place your foot between your hands.
  3. Bend both knees to 90 degrees and keep your hands on the floor.
  4. Hold for 3 breaths.

Move 5: Half Split

Move 5: Half Split
Image Credit: Koya Webb
Activity Yoga
Goal Mental Health
  1. From Low Lunge with your right foot forward, inhale and shift your weight back, straightening your legs and pointing your bottom up toward the ceiling.
    1. As you exhale, fold your body down over your front leg as far as you can go comfortably without pulling or pain.
    2. If you find you're losing your balance, use a table or wall for stability.

Repeat Move 4 and 5 on the left side.

Move 6: Plank to Cobra to Downward Dog

Move 6: Plank to Cobra to Downward Dog
Image Credit: Koya Webb
Activity Yoga
Goal Mental Health
  1. Step both feet back into Plank pose. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your toes. Lower your knees to the mat if you need to and take a breath.
  2. As you exhale, lower your body in a controlled movement down to the mat and point your toes.
  3. Inhale and lift your chest and gaze forward in Cobra pose. Keep your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Feel the length in your spine from your neck down through the middle of your back without straining.
  4. As you exhale, in one smooth, slow movement, push your butt back toward your heels while bending your knees. Tuck your toes under, then push your butt toward the sky, straightening your knees to come into Downward Dog.

Move 7: Rag Doll to Mountain Pose

Move 7: Rag Doll to Mountain Pose
Image Credit: Koya Webb
Activity Yoga
Goal Mental Health
  1. From Downward Dog, walk your feet forward to meet your hands and lift your hands from the ground.
  2. Grab your opposite elbows with hands, let your head hang down like a rag doll and stay for a few calming breaths.
  3. Touch your fingertips to your shins as you bend your knees and lift your chest with a flat back. Take a full breath in and out.
  4. As you inhale, put your hands on your waist and lift all the way up, hinging at the hips.
  5. Exhale as you stand straight and tall as a mountain and hold for 3 breaths.
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