The way you start your morning can often set the tone for the rest of your day, and making sure that you’re connected to your body is the perfect place to start. While the classic full-body, noise-making, head-to-toe stretch is wonderful, a few extras may help move any sense of stagnancy throughout your system and help wake you up more fully.
After you’ve taken a full-body stretch, bring your knees to your chest while you’re still laying down. Like a gentle hug, this stretch offers a simple massage for your muscles. Relax your upper body and just connect more deeply with your breath. Yoga instructor Brooke Blocker tells Prevention, “This stretch helps you gently wake up the low back and stimulate the mind and body, helping you feel ready to start your day.” Aiding in digestion, stretching the spine, and taking pressure off of your internal organs, this simple stretch can help you ease into your routine.
Next, while sitting cross-legged in bed — or, standing up while placing your feet hip-width distance apart — interlace your fingers with your palms facing outwards, and pull them toward the ceiling. Then, as you lift upwards, gently lean to one side and breathe deeply for a few moments. Reverse to the opposite direction. According to Cosmopolitan, side stretches like these will have you feeling it in your obliques, arms, and upper back.
Go gentle on yourself while stretching first thing in the morning
Obviously, your muscles aren’t fully warmed up yet when you first get out of bed — so make sure to take it easy and not dive into a deep stretch right away. If you notice tightness in your chest, stand in mountain pose with your arms at your sides and feet hip-width distance apart, then lift your arms towards the ceiling. On an exhale, bend your elbows out to your sides, making a goal post with your arms. This offers a great pectoral stretch with external rotation of the rotator cuff, Mindbodygreen notes.
Now that your shoulders are opened, drop to all fours for a few rounds of cat-cow. On your inhale, drop your stomach toward the floor as your gaze lifts slightly, then reverse the movement on an exhale, rounding out your back. Take a few rounds, flowing with your breath. Then, end with a child’s pose. Bring your knees out to the sides, big toes come together. Then, slowly sink your hips back to rest on your feet as your arms lengthen in the opposite direction. If this causes discomfort in your low back, bring your knees closer together. Just breathe here for a few moments as the pose relaxes your back, shoulders, and neck (via Mindbodygreen). Plus, this stretch helps to calm the nervous system, as well. Make sure to hold for at least ten breaths, so the pose can fully relax your body.
Rise and shine!
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