Getting our bodies moving in the early hours can help us build and maintain consistent energy throughout the day. Yoga can help supplement our morning coffee and stimulate the body naturally through breath and movement. This yoga sequence will serve to ignite heat in the body and counter the positions our bodies tend to sleep in. Start your morning with this invigorating yoga flow to shake off any stagnant energy and get the blood flowing for consistent energy throughout your entire day.
Shift forward into a table top position. Keep your wrists stacked underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips. As you inhale, drop the belly and bring your gaze toward the ceiling. As you exhale, press the mat away and arch the spine as you bring your gaze toward your navel. Continue moving through these motions slowly and intentionally for 8-12 rounds, connecting deeply with your breath.
Come back to a neutral spine and begin to walk your palms forward, bringing your chest toward the mat. Press firmly through your palms, engaging your arms and keep your hips stacked over your knees. Allow your chest to melt toward the mat with each exhale, opening deeply through your heart. Allow your forehead to plant on the mat or for a deeper stretch, try placing your chin on the mat and directing the gaze in front of you. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
Sphinx (Salamba Bhujangasana)
From puppy pose, shift forward onto your belly and place your elbows underneath your shoulders. Support your body by keeping your forearms firmly planted on the mat beneath you. Energetically drag your elbows back toward the body as you open up through the chest. Hold for five breaths.
Sun salutations (Surya Namaskar)
From sphinx pose, gently press back into a childs pose, and transition into a downward facing dog. From here, step your right foot between your hands followed by your left. Inhale extend the spine, lifting halfway and then on an exhale fold forward over the legs. On an inhale come up to stand extending the arms overhead and then bring your palms together in a prayer at heart center. Stay for a moment, connecting with yourself, your breath, and your heartbeat. Inhale extend the arms overhead and fold forward on an exhale. Step back into a plank and lower down your knees, chest and then chin. Inhale peel the chest off the mat, pressing into the palms and coming into cobra pose. Exhale, release the chest to the mat, press back to downward facing dog and repeat for 3-5 rounds.
High lunge (Anjaneyasana)
When you have finished your sun salutations, return to downward facing dog. On an inhale, extend the right leg long behind you, stepping it between your hands on an exhale. On an inhale come up to stand, keeping your left toes tucked under and left leg engaged, right leg bent at a 90 degree angle. Extend your arms by your ears and relax your shoulders down your back. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
W II (Virabhadrasana II)
From high lunge, on an exhale, open up into warrior II. Plant your back foot down on the mat at a 45 degree angle and extend the arms out shoulder height. Gaze over your front middle finger as you keep a strong core. Hold and breathe for 3-5 counts, cartwheeling your hands to the mat and transitioning through a vinyasa to repeat high lunge and warrior II on the other side.
Bridge/ Wheel (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana/ Urdhva Dhanurasana)
When you have completed warrior II on the other side, come to lie down on your back. Place your feet on the mat hips width apart.
Press into your feet and lift your hips off the mat. Wiggle your shoulders further underneath you and interlace your hands underneath your body. Relax your glutes and hold for 10 breaths.
Place your palms on the mat by your ears. Take a deep inhale and on an exhale press into your palms and feet to come into wheel and lift off the mat. Let your head be heavy and breathe into your heart space. Hold for five breaths and then gentle come back down to the mat one vertebrae at a time.
Separate your feet mats width apart and knock your knees together to neutralize the spine. Stay here and allow the back body to heavy for a few breaths.
Supine twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Bring both knees into the chest. Scoot your hips a few inches to the right and drop the knees over to the left. Extend the arms out long at shoulder height and gaze over the right shoulder. Hold for 10 breaths and then switch sides.
Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana)
Extend the legs up toward the ceiling. Lift your lower back up off the ground and place your hands on your lower back, fingers pointed toward your feet for support. Point your feet and flex your toes back toward your face. Hold for around a minute and slowly roll onto the mat when you are finished.
Extend your arms and legs out long on the mat. Allow your body to heavy and relax as you let go of any breath control. Lie still on your mat, allowing your practice to integrate for anywhere from seven to 10 minutes, gently coming out when you are finished and resuming your day.
Gabrielle Marchese is a certified yoga instructor.