Over the past few weeks, I’ve been adding yoga to my morning exercise. Now, I’ll start of by saying that I’m a total newbie. I’ve never done yoga in the past, or much stretching of any kind, to be honest. As a result, I’m quite inflexible and most poses have been a challenge! All the same, I’ve been finding yoga to be a very worthwhile addition to my morning – preparing my mind and body for the day ahead.
Starting off your Morning
At the moment, I only aim for 20 minutes of yoga each morning. I find 20 minutes to be manageable, especially because I still like to fit in my regular exercise (I’m a bit of a runner). I follow a dvd by Rodney Yee called ‘AM Yoga’, which consists of 5 short sessions focusing on a selection of standing poses, backbends, forward bends, twists and hip openers.
Even with only these short sessions I’ve been noticing a big difference. Often after waking up, my body feels stiff and rigid. The fact that I run also means that my leg muscles are often tight and under stretched. Yoga has a unique way of releasing tension throughout your whole body, opening up your spine, back, hips and legs and broadening your chest. After a session I feel thoroughly stretched, free and energised for the day ahead. It’s funny, but now when I miss a day, I just don’t feel right… kind of like going to bed without brushing your teeth, ‘not right’. I feel as if my day is missing something!
Yoga also has a way of making me feel present in my body and mind. So often we can become stuck dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, we can forget the importance of just being present. Every movement in yoga requires attention to detail. It requires you to be present within yourself – to turn your attention inward, and to listen intently to your body. Are you keeping your muscles activated? Are you stretching evenly? Are you focusing on your breathing? In this way, I find yoga quickly silences all that noise in my head, and centres my mind. Afterwards, I feel calm and mentally prepared for whatever comes my way!