Morning Yoga Poses

Morning Yoga Poses

Performing yoga just after you wake up is a great way to start your morning. Besides the obvious physical benefits of stretching sleepy muscles and getting your blood flowing, specific yoga asanas can also raise your energy level, reduce stress and prepare you for the day.

Sun Salutations
Sun salutations are a dynamic group of yoga asanas that are effective for both mentally and physically waking up your body. Sun Salutations, or Surya Namaskar, are a sequence of eight postures -- Tadasana (Mountain pose), Urdhva Hastasana (upward salute), Uttanasana (standing forward bend), Ardha Uttanasana (half standing forward bend), plank pose, Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff pose), Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog) and Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog pose) -- that you perform one after the other. The eight poses combine deep breathing, stretching and both forward and back bends to get your circulation running and calm your mind.

Physical Energy
Many yoga poses increase your muscular and circulatory activity, physically waking up your body from rest. The Cat-Cow pose, for example, is an effective waking stretch for your back, while the Half Moon pose strengthens your abdominal and lower back muscles, helping you maintain your posture if you plan on spending all day sitting at your desk. Certain asanas such as the Camel pose, Bridge pose and Wheel pose increase your heart rate and get your circulatory system pumping -- while the forward bend pose increases the blood flow to your brain, wiping out any lingering grogginess.

Mental Energy
In addition to their physical benefits, many yoga poses can help make you more mentally alert. The three Warrior poses create a feeling of strength and readiness which can help you mentally prepare for a tough day, while the Floating Frog, Fighting Frog pose sequence increases your confidence and assertiveness as you spring up from the Frog pose into an aggressive fighting stance.

Reducing Stress
A final benefit to doing yoga in the morning is its effect on the amount of stress in your daily life. The deep breathing exercises required by most yoga poses relax your muscles and lower your stress levels, while those asanas that focus on balance or difficult positions force you to ground yourself and concentrate. Examples of stress-reducing poses are the Tree pose, the Wide Child's pose and the Corpse pose.