Give your day the head start it deserves with this 20-minute morning yoga routine.
It’s specifically designed to rid overnight stiffness, wake up your muscles and sharpen your mind.
The initial poses stretch…while the final poses strengthen and tone.
Here’s a preview of the wake-up morning yoga routine:
4. Bound Angle
5. Spine Twist
10. Standing Forward Fold
12. Warrior II
13. Extended Triangle
14. Warrior I
Hold each pose for 1 minute unless otherwise stated (Easy!).
The entire morning yoga routine should take only 20 minutes or less.
And when you’re finished, you’ll be ready to tackle the day head on!
What are the Benefits of a Morning Yoga Routine?
Here are just a few of the many benefits of performing a morning yoga routine:
1. Relieves Tension and Stiffness
A morning yoga routine is a fantastic way to rid overnight stiffness and tension.
Without resolving this tension, it can put us in a bad mood all day and cause other health problems.
Practicing a morning yoga routine allows you to identify where you hold this tension and release it from your body.
2. Improves Posture and Balance
If you spend the majority of your life sitting and slouching, yoga helps improve your posture.
No more stooped shoulders and you’ll appear taller and more confident!
3. Promotes Relaxation
Because yoga promotes relaxation and slow breathing, it helps you to carry over these habits into your everyday life.
4. Improves Brain Function
Just 20 minutes of yoga can sharpen your mental focus and improve memory.
5. Fends Off Cravings
Trying to lose weight?
The University of Washington revealed that yoga has a positive impact on diet awareness.
When you’re more mindful of what you eat, you’re more likely to make healthier choices and lose weight.
6. Boosts Immunity
Yoga helps to flush out your lymph nodes and stimulate internal organs.
This gives your body a greater advantage when fighting, infections, cancer, and other illnesses.
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20 Minute Morning Yoga Routine (Better Than Coffee!)
Ready? Let’s hop on the mat and get started!
1. Cobra Pose
The Cobra pose focuses on stretching and strengthening your spine.
It also opens up your shoulders abdomen, lungs and chest so is recommended for asthma sufferers.
Step 1: Lie on your stomach with your legs stretched out behind you and the tops of your feet on the mat.
Step 2: Position your palms on the mat directly under your shoulders and draw your elbows back and into your sides.
Step 3: Press down with the tops of your feet and thighs firmly into the Earth. Inhale, push down with your palms by straightening the arms and lift your chest away from the floor. Don’t go so far as to lift your pelvis off the mat.
Step 4: Firm your shoulder blades and lift through the top of your sternum. Keep your lower back relaxed and avoid tightening the muscles.
Top Tip: If you experience any lower back pain, you must honor the needs of your body. Try widening your legs to release the pressure.
Step 5: Hold for 30 seconds, breathe slowly and evenly and release on the exhale.
Contraindications: pregnancy, carpal tunnel and back injury.
The Cat-Cow stretch is another great pose to warm-up and stretch the spine.
The Cat-Cow is also very restorative. It’s been shown to stimulate the adrenals, kidneys and abdominal organs and can even relieve menstrual cramps.
Step 1: Come to all fours with your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Your spine should be neutral (straight) and neck long. Curl your toes up onto the ground, keep your tummy muscles engaged and breathe in deeply.
Step 2: Exhale and press your belly button up toward your spine, pushing your back into a hump (like a cat arching its back). At the same time, pull your chin into your chest and relax your back.
Step 3: Inhale, relaxing your abdomen and keeping everything loose. As your back sags, raise your head and tailbone upwards making sure not to add pressure to your neck. Look up and pull your shoulders away from your ears.
Step 4: Repeat the Cat-Cow five times making sure to connect the movements with your breathe. Be mindful of your spine throughout the flow.
Contraindications: Neck injury.
3. Pidgeon Pose
The Pidgeon pose is great for the whole body and in particular, will open up the hips, while stretching your back, groin, thighs and hip flexors.
It’s wonderful for treating sciatica and urinary disorders.
Step 1: From all fours, bring your right knee toward your right hand. Angle your right knee slightly and send your left leg back as far as it will comfortably go.
Step 2: Ensure your hips are square to the floor to relieve any pressure on your spine. To deepen the stretch in your glutes, slide your right foot further forward.
Step 3: Press your fingertips down to raise your torso, with your chest open and breathe deeply and slowly.
Step 4: Bend your torso forward over your bent knee, going as low as you feel is comfortable. Rest your forehead on the ground and take a few deep breaths.
Step 5: Release by pushing down through your palms so your torso becomes upright. Repeat the Pidgeon on the other side.
Beginner’s Tip: If you’re brand new to this pose, try remaining up on your hands to keep the pressure off your hips. And if you need more of a stretch, you can rest on your forearms
Contraindications: knee injury.
4. Bound Angle
The Bound Angle, is another great hip opener and is ideal before standing and twisting poses. It will also stretch your groin, knees and inner thigh.
You can hold this pose for minutes at a time, but for the purposes of our morning yoga routine, 1 minute is fine.
Experts credit this pose with energizing the lower tummy, boosting heart function and circulation, relieving menstrual pain and menopause symptoms and helping with depression and asthma.
Step 1: Begin by sitting on the mat with your legs in front of you. Exhale as you bend the knees and draw your heels towards your pelvis.
Step 2: Bring your heels in as much as they will comfortably go without hurting you. Once you’ve found the sweet spot, firmly grasp your big tow with your fingers interlaced.
Step 4: Keep your torso upright with your pelvis in a neutral position. Draw your shoulders back, and torso erect as you lengthen your spine.
Step 5: Rather than force your knees to the floor, focus on pushing your thighs down to the mat without causing any pain.
Contraindications: knee or groin injury.
5. Spine Twist (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)
The Spine Twist is recommended for lower back pain, sciatica and neck pain.
The gentle twisting action strengthens not only the spine, but also hips and shoulders.
But that’s not all. The spine twist massages abdominal organs, helps with digestion and is a great stress buster.
Step 1: Sit on the floor with your legs flat in front of you. Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground. Tuck your left foot under your right leg so it’s resting at the edge of your right buttock.
Step 2: Place your right leg over your left so your foot is resting against your left thigh, close to the knee.
Beginner’s Tip: If this position is uncomfortable, avoid bending your left leg and keep it straight in front of you.
Step 3: Inhale and raise your left arm over your head. As you exhale, twist to the right bringing your torso to the inside of your right thigh. Bring your left elbow to the outside of your right knee.
Step 4: Direct your gaze over your right shoulder. As you continue to inhale, try to lengthen your spine more. As you exhale, twist deeper into the pose.
Contraindications: High or low blood pressure, headaches and menstruation.
6. Plank Pose
The Plank will tone your shoulder and arms, while strengthening your neck, spine and core.
Step 1: Start on all fours with your shoulders and hips stacked over your hands and hips and your toes curled under.
Step 2: Push with your toes and legs taking your knees away from the floor and hips towards the ceiling.
Step 3: Activate your core and step your feet back until your body is straight. Keep your arms perpendicular to the floor directly above your wrists.
Step 4: Keep your arms firm as you pull your shoulder blades together to broaden your chest.
Step 5: Continue to engage your core and pull your tailbone towards the floor. Do not go so far as to curve your back – it must be completely straight.
Contraindications: carpal tunnel syndrome and shoulder injury.
Related: 11 Yoga Poses for Weight Loss
7. Bridge Pose
The Bridge pose is a terrific all-rounder and focuses on your spine, neck and chest whilst firming your legs and butt. Many yogis report it improves digestion and also relieve headaches and fatigue.
Step 1: Begin on your back and raise your knees to 90 degrees. Keep your feet flat on the mat and your hands tucked into your buttocks.
Step 2: On exhale, press your feet and arms into the floor, squeeze your butt and raise your pelvis towards the ceiling.
Step 3: Place your hands under your back and use your arms to support your shoulders. Try to keep your knees over your feet.
Step 4: Keep your core engaged, firm your shoulder blades and lift your sternum up.
Contraindications: neck injury.
8. Garland Pose
The Garland pose strengthens your legs and tummy while stretching your groin, back and ankles.
Step 1: Begin in a squatting position, with your feet close together.
Step 2: Make sure your thighs are wider than your torso and as you exhale, lean forward in between your thighs. Make sure that you don’t lift your heels off the ground.
Step 3: Push your elbows outward against the inside of your knees and bring your hands together in the salutation seal (prayer position). Be mindful of keeping your torso erect and not slouching.
Contraindications: injury to lower back, ankle, hip or knee.
See also: 10 Yoga Poses for Flexibility
9. Mountain Pose
This pose might just look like you’re standing there but it’s a great way to prepare for the following standing poses.
It also does wonders for your posture, so you remain calm under pressure as you face the day!
Step 1: Stand with your feet separated enough to feel stable. Next, flex your toes upwards and wide – give them a real stretch! This helps you establish a solid connection with the ground. If you lose balance, you need to shift your weight so it’s spread evenly over your feet.
Step 2: Bend your knees slightly and straighten them – this helps to relax your knee joints. Keep your legs straight, but never locked.
Step 3: Activate your thigh muscles and try to lift your kneecaps. Now, turn your upper thighs slightly inward while lengthening the tailbone to the ground while lifting your pelvis towards your belly button.
Step 4: Allow your chest to open up and shift your shoulders to the rear. Lift your sternum upwards without pushing your lower rib cage outwards.
Step 5: Stand tall and straight with your arms relaxed by your side. Focusing your gaze straight ahead will increase your mental focus
Step 6: Position your head directly above the center of your pelvis. Ensure your chin is parallel to the ground and keep your mouth and neck soft.
Contraindications: lightheadedness, low blood pressure, dizziness.
10. Standing Forward Fold
The Forward Fold targets the hamstrings and back. Experts credit the pose for alleviating mild depression, stress, headaches and insomnia. The gentle folding action nourishes the liver, kidneys and gut.
Step 1: Stand tall with your feet firmly connected to the ground and spread apart for balance.
Step 2: Exhale and bend slowly forward at the hips whilst pulling your tummy inwards and activating your abdominals. As you roll forward, be mindful of lengthening your back and bend at your hips, not the waist. Descend only as far as you can while still breathing easily.
Step 3: If your hamstrings are tight, bend your knees to release any tension. If you’re able to straighten your legs, place your fingertips or palms on the floor. If this is too much, clasp your hands around your elbows.
Step 4: Let your head and neck hang freely. Breathe in, adding more length to your torso, then breathe out and deepen the pose.
Contraindications: back injury and pregnancy.
11. Tree Pose
The Tree builds strength in your lower legs, especially your thighs, calves and ankles. It also stretches your inner thigh, groin, chest and shoulders.
It’s great for improving balance (and posture) and can even relieve sciatica!
Beginner’s Tip: If you have trouble balancing, steady your knee against a wall.
Step 1: From Mountain pose, begin by shifting your weight onto your left foot. Bending your right knee, reach down and grab your right ankle with your right hand.
Step 2: Pull up your right foot and position your heel into your left groin. If you can’t reach this high, place your foot as high as it will comfortably go.
Step 3: Lengthen your tailbone and maintain the firmness of your right foot on your left thigh. Bring your palms to prayer position and direct your gaze straight ahead.
Step 4: Repeat on the opposite side.
Contraindications: Low blood pressure, dizziness, headaches.
12. Warrior II
The Warrior II strengthens your legs and ankles while stretching your shoulders, chest, lungs and groin. It’s ideal to improve lower body stamina and can also relieve back pain.
The pose will nourish your abdominal organs and combat osteoporosis and flat feet.
Step 1: Begin in the Mountain pose, then exhale as you sweep your left foot backward about 3 – 4 feet. Angle your left foot outwards to 90 degrees and bring your right knee over your right ankle.
Step 2: Inhale and raise your arms so they’re parallel to the ground. Keep your shoulder blades wide and open up your chest as you rotate your palms downwards.
Step 3: Spread your balance evenly and tuck your tailbone under. Reach through your fingertips and keep your torso erect and straight.
Step 4: Direct your gaze over your right middle finger.
Contraindications: If you have a neck injury, keep your head straight rather than turning into the pose.
13. Extended Triangle Pose
The Extended Triangle Pose strengthens your lower body, especially your thighs, knees and ankles. It stretches your hamstrings, groin, hips and calves as well as your spine, shoulders and chest.
Pregnant women – it’s great for back pain!
Beginner’s Tip: Trouble balancing? Brace yourself against a wall.
Step 1: Stand in Mountain pose, exhale and widen your stance about 3 -4 feet. Lift your arms until they’re parallel to the floor. Reach through your fingertips, widen your shoulders and face your palms down.
Step 2: Turn your left foot slightly to the right and rotate your right leg until your right foot is at 90 degrees.
Step 3: Exhale and bend your torso at the hip (not at the waist) over your right leg. Keep your left heel pressed firmly down. Pivot your torso slightly to the right, keeping its length evenly distributed and let your left hip move forward a bit.
Step 4: Place your right hand on your lower leg, ankle or ground, depending on whatever’s most comfortable. Stretch and raise your left arm up to the sky, and line it up with your shoulders. You can let your head remain in place, or you can turn to the left and gaze toward your left hand.
Step 5: Follow the same steps on your opposite side.
Contraindications: If you experience neck problems, keep your gaze straight ahead instead of looking up.
14. Warrior Pose
We finish our yoga routine with the Warrior. This Pose continues to activate your lower body and will truly kickstart your morning metabolism.
Step 1: Begin in Mountain pose and exhale as you send your left foot back 3 -4 feet. Next, turn your left foot to 45 degrees and keep your right foot facing forward.
Step 2: Your hips and shoulder should both be facing forward. As you inhale, reach your arms upwards until they’re perpendicular to the ground, maintaining a shoulder-width distance.
Step 3: Face your palms inwards and avoid hunching by drawing your shoulders back away from your ears.
Step 4: Move your right knee directly over your ankle and keep the weight over your heel, not in your toes.
Step 5: Tilt your head back and look at your thumbs. Make sure your left foot/heel stays connected with the ground, or else use a thin block to stay grounded.
Contraindications: if you suffer from neck injury, keep your head in a neutral position and avoid looking up.
Well done on completing this 20 minute morning yoga routine. You should now be feeling energized…not exhausted!
If you’re a new practitioner, I hope that yoga has introduced a whole new dimension of well-being and vitality.
Performed each day, it has the tremendous potential to improve ALL areas of your life.
Introducing: Yoga Burn for Women
If you’re really serious about improving your health with yoga and want a simple yoga strategy you can use in the comfort of your own home, then I highly recommend Zoe Bray-Cotton’s Yoga Burn for Women.
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In this program, you’ll learn the secret to Yoga Burn for Women’s success – a technique known as Dynamic Sequencing.
This strategy forces your body to adapt, giving you a more shapely, feminine body that looks great.
What’s more, Yoga Burn for Women is designed exclusively for women from any walk of life who want to lose weight and get in shape, without trekking to the gym and spending countless hours performing fruitless cardio.
The program is specifically tailored to suit women of all fitness levels from the very new to advanced yoga students.
You’ll also learn how to optimize each pose to take advantage of your very own fitness levels.
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If you have any questions, the comments section is now open! How has yoga transformed your life? Leave your comments below.
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