Morning yoga is the most energizing, transcending, and enlightening experience. Once you make it a daily habit, you’ll notice a wide variety of changes to your body, mind, and everything that makes you, you. For people with depression and anxiety, issues with healthy eating and other health problems may benefit from its healing properties.
Studies show that increasing flexibility can eliminate generalized or specific body pain. If you have chronic pain Fibromyalgia or are trying re-condition your muscles, regular stretching will ease stress and tension due to work or other stressful issues in your life.
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How Practicing Yoga Every Day Changed My Life
Since I’ve made Yoga a habit, I’ve noticed a change in my overall mood. A strong mindset is everything if you want to sustain a positive outlook on the things that happen to and around you.
Your mind is one of the most important assets and keeping it in the right place will help you get through those tough curve balls life can throw at us.
Six years ago, I started doing yoga each morning and now I do it morning and night for about ten to twenty minutes. Bottom line: Yoga can save your life, and it did mine. Thank goodness I did that because three years ago, my lung collapsed on a flight and almost died. It was traumatic and scary but I focused on doing as much breathing as my lungs allowed.
But even in the midst of the scary situation, my Yoga-strength lifted me up and out of that chair so I could get to a hospital. Looking back, I see how Yoga carried me through the trauma.
Mental and physical strength go hand-in-hand but mentally, you have to be in a good mind-frame to move through those hardships.
5 Ways Morning Yoga Benefits Your Health
We can’t know when tragedy or hardships will strike. To understand how Yoga can transform your life, you must first know how it benefits you.
1. Mental Clarity
If you’ve ever looked at an ocean on a windy day and noticed busy, angry waves, you’ve probably also noticed that you can’t see the ocean floor even near the shore.
When our minds are busy with angry or turbulent thoughts, you can’t think clearly. Our thoughts or thinking paths we return to can be so destructive that our ability to function and work efficiently becomes encumbered.
Trouble in your work life may arise and leave you mentally exhausted from trying to keep up with everything and everyone. Being overwhelmed all the time will cause a burnout. A burnout essentially is when your mind and body surrender to the exhaustion and they both shut down.
Morning Yoga creates stillness in the mind which then leads to calmness which then leads to happiness. Twenty minutes of a stretch routine to focus on diaphragmatic breathing as you move with your body will target your anxiety and depression.
You can get overwhelmed at any time but when you establish any routine, you’ll be compelled to create more healthy routines such as snacking healthier, doing things that decrease your stress, and pre-planning so you can effectively tackle that ever-changing to-do list.
2. A Level Mood
Have you ever flipped out on something small, almost unnecessary and asked yourself, “Why did I blow my lid over that?” Did you find yourself in that inevitable situation of needing to explain yourself after? I think to some degree, we’ve all been there at one time or another.
When we’ve entered ‘flip out’ mode or have become irritable, that’s a sign of an imbalanced emotional state of mind. You’ll wind up self-sabotaging without realizing it or feeling like you can’t get everything done on time and so, you lose it.
Our current moods reflect our emotional health and how we process life’s issues and mysteries.
Morning Yoga is a great way to strengthen your emotional health as it boosts your mood. Instead of keeping your emotions on a roller-coaster, do yoga, get off that up and down chaos and level out.
Think of your mood as a smooth ocean current, steady and still. A daily Yoga regimen will make you feel like you’re mind is floating on water.
3. Zap Cravings for Bad Foods
Those sugar cravings can arise at any time but between 2:00 and 4:00 P.M., they can sneak up on you. What you’re feeling is sudden fatigue or a dip in your alertness, which can occur if you’re not getting enough adequate sleep.
But if you do some Yoga poses such as lying down with your legs stretched up a wall or sitting on the floor and raising up your arms, those poses can help you eliminate those cravings.
4. Enhance Your Sleep Life
Developing a healthy sleep life, which includes morning and evening routines, are one of the ways morning Yoga can assist.
Balance means different things to everyone. Doing yoga each morning will enhance your sleep and aid in regulating brain activity.
When it’s night time, the brain produces melatonin. If you’re not allowing your brain the time to prepare for sleep, that can mess with your circadian rhythms and sleep cycles.
Doing Yoga each day is a wonderful form of meditation that directly affects your brain and mind simultaneously.
5. Sustain Stamina and Endurance Throughout the Day
Some people are more alert in the mornings while others are at night.
Yoga will sustain your physical stamina and endurance throughout your work day and all the way into the evening. This was one change I noticed the more I incorporated Yoga into my mornings.
As someone who has suffered chronic fatigue, Yoga rescued me and allows me to work hours on end and keep my focus on important tasks. I stopped having spurts of weakness in my muscles mid-day.
10 Yoga Poses for Beginners to Try
Now that you know how morning yoga can change your life, it’s time to get started or pick it back up again if you’ve stopped for a while.
Here are ten beginner poses (that will make a difference) for your flexibility, stress levels and overall well-being:
1. Cat and Cow
The Cat and Cow pose is perfect for restoring energy in your body and directly affects your spinal cord.
First, plant your knees and hands on the ground, all fours, making sure that your shoulders align with your wrists and knees align with your hips.
Inhale as you lift your head and buttocks while lowering your stomach. Exhale as you slowly lower your head, curve your spine and lower your tail bone.
Breathe as you do these movements. With each breath, you’ll feel more of a range of motion and stress melting away.
The plank pose is great for strength. To do it, lie down on a Yoga mat and press your hands on it. Make sure your hands are under your shoulders and your toes are touching the mat.
As if you are doing a push-up, lift your whole body off the ground, balancing on your hands which should align with your shoulders and your toes.
Your body should look like a long board. I hold that pose for thirty or more seconds.
3. Spinal Twist
For the spinal twist, another favorite pose, sit down in staff pose on your mat. Bend your right knee and position your right foot beside your left outer thigh, touching the floor.
Rotate your torso to the right and place your right hand on the floor behind your tail bone.
With your left arm, wrap it around your right leg. Repeat on the opposite side.
4. Downward-Facing Dog
With downward-facing dog, think of the position as making a triangle with your body, and the floor is the bottom.
Plant both feet close together and stick your buttocks up, the highest point of the triangle, and align your hands with your shoulders.
This stretch is great for the spine as well and will ease tension in your shoulder muscles.
5. Crescent Lunge
Make a ninety degree angle with your right knee. Stretch your left leg back behind you and reach your arms toward the ceiling.
This exercise promotes strength and tones the lower body.
6. Cobbler’s Pose
Sit on the floor and position your legs as if they are butterfly wings.
Your feet should be touching each other with your hands on your toes. Both of your knees should be bent.
Slowly lean forward as far as you can and hold the pose.
7. Warrior II
Think of the Warrior II pose as a lunge but with your arms stretched out, one in front and one behind you, forming a T with your upper body.
This pose addresses balance and flexibility.
8. Reclining Goddess Pose
Lie down on the floor and bring your feet together, bending both knees, forming a wide diamond shape with your legs. It helps to have a pillow under your knees and lower back for extra support.
Once you’re lying down in that position, rest your arms beside your hips.
9. Low Lunge
The low lunge pose is similar to the Warrior II pose.
Instead of forming a T with your upper body, stretch both hands up and over your head toward the ceiling.
One leg should be on the floor from the knee down and the other should be bent, forming half of a cube shape. This pose stretches your back and inner and outer thighs.
10. Bridge Pose
The bridge, I love, and I do this every morning and night after a long work day. The pose will align your spine and hips and addresses strength and balance.
Lie down on the floor or a mat and bend both knees, with feet planted on the ground.
Have your hands at your side and press them into the mat while raising your hips upward, creating a slight diagonal line with your torso, stomach and upper thighs. Keep your shoulders on the ground as much as you can.
Yoga is the best way to manage stress in your life. Stretching and using a Styrofoam roller will release the fascia in your muscles where the tightness and tension are stored.
Doing yoga in the morning is exercising your mind and body simultaneously. Diaphragmatic breathing in and out of poses regulates every system in your body, especially the central nervous system.
Your nervous system needs to be balanced and leveled so you can function at your optimal level.
If you’re functioning on overdrive or auto-pilot constantly, you will be mentally exhausted and drained more frequently, even without realizing it.
Morning Yoga is a resource for resetting all the systems in your body, stimulating blood flow and circulation, and recovering strained or tired muscles. It’s a way of eliminating those toxins we encounter in our environment as well.
Yoga has changed my life and I hope that after you read this, you try out a couple of these poses on your own and see how you feel.
Featured photo credit: Janet Orzechowski via unsplash.com