Yoga stretches are amazing for the morning to get rid of any stiffness or pain from your sleep and wake your muscles up. These poses will give you the energy to start your day on the right foot and center your mind to stay focused on whatever you have planned. Research shows that yoga isn’t just a great workout, but also combats stress and anxiety.
Child’s pose is great for stretching the hips, spine, thighs, and ankles and helps increase blood circulation to your head. Start in a kneeling position with your knees wide, your butt on heels, and your hands to the floor. Walk your arms forward as you lower your chest and stomach down to your thighs, and rest your forehead on the floor. When done with deep breathing exercises, child’s pose is very relaxing and great for calming stress.
Low Lunge is just as good a way to warm up the body as it is to relieve it after exercising. Start by standing up, fold forwards and place your hands down on the floor below you. While holding yourself up on your fingertips or knuckles, Step your left foot backward until it is straight, tuck in your toes, and bend your other knee 90 degrees. Lower back knee and shin on to mat and untuck left toes. If your leg muscles are tense, such as after a run, this pose will relax them and help them heal faster. This pose is particularly great for stretching the hips down to the knees and legs, as well as for opening your chest into a satisfying stretch.
For those with lower back issues, Cat and Cow pose is great because it lengthens your spine and brings movement to the back muscles. Begin on all fours with wrists directly under shoulders and knees below hips. Start with Cat by exhaling through the mouth while rounding your spine and dropping your chin to your chest and your head towards the ground. When switching sides, inhale deep through your nose, arch your back, and stretch your tailbone and face towards the sky. Try this pose going back and forth 5-10 times between cat and cow to feel an automatic difference in the back.