A few of my clients have been recently asking for a morning mobility yoga sequence that they can do on a regular basis.
Personally, I try to make some time in the early morning to do some sort of mobility/yoga practice. Sometimes this will mean 10-15 minutes, sometimes a little longer. Either way my days seem to go a little more gracefully and fluidly when I have spent some time connecting to, and taking care of my body, before the demands of the day set in.
I have created a sequence that includes some of my favourite ways to move my body in the morning. Many of these are simple, functional type movements that take care of major places where tension gets stored, namely the shoulders, spine, hips, legs and feet.
This whole morning mobility yoga sequence will take about 20-30 minutes depending on how many repetitions you make of each movement and how long you dwell within each pose. If you have less time feel free to skip some of the movements out, instead choosing the poses that feel most useful or relevant for your body on that particular day.
Here are a few guidelines for getting the most out of your practice:
- Be kind and respectful of your body
As we get more tuned into our unique body experience, we start to see how the body is constantly evolving and changing. Your mobility, energy-levels, balance, co-ordination and strength will vary day-to-day based on a whole number of factors, including what kind of acitvities you did the day before, how well hydrated your tissues are, the quality of your sleep and even what kind of mood you’re in. Be kind and respectful of where you’re starting your practice from.
It’s also worth noting that your body is probably at it stiffest and most inflexible in the morning – therefore be patient, manage your expectations and recognise that this is the not the time to create new personal bests in terms of flexibility!
- Bring a spirit of playfulness and curiosity to the practice
I prefer a more fluid and dynamic practice in the morning – I will rarely hold stretches statically but instead use this time to explore the full range of motion in my joints, moving gently in and out of stretches.
The spirit of this practice is exploratory and I invite you to bring a sense of playfulness and curiosity to the movements. Don’t be fixed or rigid but allow yourself to take the visual template of each movement or pose and then feel free to explore in and around that position, finding angles and ranges of motion that feel useful, interesting and opening for your body.
It’s fine to explore non-traditional alignments – the body is capable of moving in a variety of unique and interesting ways, so don’t limit yourself and enjoy yourself!
- Work with an awareness of your breathing
In yoga, we typically emphasise moving in co-ordination with the breath and this can be a powerful way to quieten the mind, calm the nervous system and reduce the tendency to hold the breath, particularly during difficult or awkward-feeling movements.
However, I am aware that syncing movement to breath can be confusing for beginning students, so my main advise is to just stay tuned in to your breathing and aim for a fluid, regular, gentle, three-dimensional breath. Watch for any restrictions, tension or holding around your breathing. This is why I recommend starting with a minute of deep diaphragmatic breathing. Place your hands on your lower ribs and work to gently expand and soften the bottom of the ribcage front-to-back and side-to-side as you breathe.
You might find it useful to use the inhale breath during parts of the movement that accentuate lifting or lengthening of the spine. The exhalation is useful for movements where we are folding forwards, twisting or using some amount of muscular effort.
Happy practising! 🙂