Working Yoga Into Your Day: 3 Poses

Morning Yoga

In the January newsletter, I talked about the importance of getting the body moving, even if it was just 5 or 10 minutes a day. What if you were to get the body stretching for just 30 seconds, though? Is it worth it? Does it make a difference? From personal experience I can say yes, it does! And on some days it can just be more achievable to sneak in a stretch or a balance while you’re standing in line, brushing your teeth, or in my case, making coffee.

Think about it. When you first wake up, what do you do? Okay, the first thing I do is hit the snooze button and bury my head. I’m so not a morning person. When I finally do decide to get myself moving, I do just that. I stretch. My arms stretch overhead, my toes flex and point, I wiggle around a bit, and I often let out a loud noise that sounds like a mix between a cat, lion, and something getting stepped on. Then I manage to roll myself out of bed and get on with my day. This little bit of movement helps my body wake up from the stiffness I’ve developed overnight. Adding a little more movement here and there through my day helps me shake off even more, whether it is lingering from my sleep or developed later in the day from sitting in front of a computer or driving around town.

I work these poses into my routines, things I do nearly daily. One of my morning routines is making coffee. Since I use an espresso machine, I am usually left standing around for a half-minute or so at a time as I let the machine come to the proper temperature, or as the beans are ground. One of my favorite poses to do during that time is a variation on downward dog, using the edge of the kitchen work table to place my hands on, and walking my feet back until I feel that stretch through my back, shoulders, and hamstrings that I feel when I’m doing down dog on the floor. Since my upper back holds a lot of my tension, this feels great for my body. I also focus on pulling my navel and rib cage into the midline of my body to play with waking up my core.

Depending on how much standing around I’m doing while making coffee, I may also throw in a side stretch. In the above picture on the right, I’m using cowface arms to get a bit more stretch through my left side. From my outer hip all the way through my upper arm I feel my body begin to unravel, using my breath to open up through the left ribs. If cowface arms aren’t your thing, you can always keep arms on the hips, in front of the heart, or over the head. The main thing you want to focus on here is making sure you don’t take the shoulder forward of the body (generally happens on the arm that is on top in this stretch), causing the stretch to go into your lower back.

The third pose I do while I’m making coffee (or later when I’m brushing my teeth, or when I’m out and about, waiting in line) is tree pose. Obviously, if I’m actually doing something, I don’t have the hands in prayer like I do in the picture above. Sometimes I place my foot on my inner thigh, other times I don’t have the ability to keep my balance or don’t want to dirty my pants with shoes, so I’ll cross the ankle over the shin or calf, gaining a little balance and strength at a time. The main focus here is to keep the hips balanced, not letting them shift to one side or the other, as you balance the weight evenly in your standing foot.

So find your daily routine or rituals, and see if you can sneak one of these poses in. Whether it’s brushing your teeth, waiting at the bus stop, or just a quick 30 second break from the computer before you run to grab something from the printer, incorporating one or more of these into your day is sure to make your body feel a little better!

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