W E L L N E S S :: Super Easy Yoga Stretches to Start off a Great Day

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Hey Guys! *No prior Yoga knowledge or flexibility is needed for this flow*

I’m really excited about this post because it’s my first official Fitness post! I have always loved fitness, working out, and being healthy and I want to start incorporating that into my blog more because it is such a huge part of my lifestyle, so expect to start seeing more blog posts about health and fitness in the future! I don’t always love getting to the gym, and I H A T E cardio, but in order to have the MOST fulfilling life, fitness has to be a priority. Fitness doesn’t have to mean running until you want to die….that’s exactly how you lose motivation. Fitness should be fun, and it can be anything from light yoga poses and Zumba classes, to running marathons & squatting 400lbs.

I have always been interested in yoga, but never really knew what yoga was. I knew it had something to do with meditation, poses, and being flexible. At 20 years old I was hesitant about “getting into yoga” because I didn’t start as a child and felt weird about randomly getting into yoga. It sounds silly, but I felt like a “poser” for wanting to get into it so late in life..but then I remembered I was only 20 and I can do anything I want, ha! I could be a master by the time I’m only 25 if I just start now! It’s funny that I even felt that way in the first place now when I think about it!

Since deciding to really give yoga a go, I have taken regular yoga classes, fitness yoga classes, and most recently I have been taking hot yoga classes, which I LOVE!  I am in NO way even close a yoga master, but through the classes I have taken I have found the poses that I love doing and that I feel are the most beneficial for stretching myself, and I am here to share them with you! You will get the most benefit from these poses if you close your eyes, focus on your breathing,  and really focus on how good it feels to stretch. You DO NOT NEED to be flexible for these poses, and you do not need to know how to do yoga. These poses are super easy, super basic, and they will gently stretch you out and make it easier to start your day! Doing these specific stretches always makes me feel relaxed and euphoric, and most importantly- stretched.

-I have organized these stretches into a flow so you should be able to flow from one stretch to another pretty effortlessly. This routine can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes, depending on what fits your morning routine. If you experience any pain PLEASE stop because all of these things should feel good.-

1. Child’s Extended pose-  Use this pose as your starting pose, and a post you always feel comfortable coming back to. Really embrace this gentle full body stretch. Sink into your hips, and really reach your arms forward. You should feel a light stretch in most parts of your body. Stay in this post as long as you want to, and start to become aware of your breathing.

2. Cat/Cow pose- Coming from Child’s pose, propel yourself onto your hands and knees. This is when your breathing really becomes important. As you inhale, arch your back inwards and lift your head. As you exhale, tuck your chin into your body and arch your back outwards. Do this as many times as you want, but make sure your breath is aligned to your movement. On Your last inhale, prepare to move into Downward dog as you exhale again.

3. Downward Dog- This is one of the most iconic poses in yoga, and it will probably be the most challenging part of this flow. As you exhale into downward dog, you will notice the position feels a little awkward. Don’t be afraid to adjust yourself. The key to a good stretch in this pose is a straight spine, which means to sacrifice your legs instead of your spine, so bend your knees and focus on lifting your hips higher, instead of making sure your legs are perfectly straight. You will also notice your hips, hamstrings, and calves will feel tight, as this is their first movement of the day. Walk them out by moving your hips and calves while maintaining the position.

**From downward dog, walk or hop to the front of your mat as you inhale. As you exhale, really let yourself go at the hips and bend over as much as possible (while remaining relaxed). Slowly inhale yourself to standing, and reach your hands above your head (mountain pose).

4. Mountain Pose- Reach your hands above your head (remember to embrace the stretch), and take a breath. As you exhale, fold over at the hips. repeat this as many times as you want.

5. Squat Pose- From Mountain pose, (carefully) drop it low to squat pose. This is a hip opener and you should feel a gentle stretch. If this hurts, prop a blanket under your heels. Go down only as far as your body will allow you to. Stay here as long as you want, and then gently lay on your back. and prepare for Supine Twist.

6. Supine Twist- This is my FAVORITE stretch. Once you’re laying on your back, put your arms out to the side in a “T” shape. Bring your knees to your chest, and as you exhale, bring your knees down to the right using your core muscles. As you inhale, bring your knees to center, and as you exhale again, bring them to the left. Do this as many times as you want. If you make sure to align your breathing with your movement, this becomes an INCREDIBLE back stretch. This is always my favorite part of every yoga class because it makes you feel SO amazing!! This is a great way to start or end your stretching.

After completing this little yoga cycle, you should really feel the benefits. You should feel relaxed, and you really will have a feeling of warmth and euphoria for (at least) the rest of the morning!

^Click the link on each pose to see a visual representation of each pose from http://www.pocketyoga.com/Home

I hope you enjoy these stretches as much as I do!

Thanks for reading!

XX -KK

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