5 Yoga Poses to Start Your Day

Starting your day off with intention and mindfulness is always the best way to set yourself up for success.  Imagine if every one could wake up to pranayama, a 60 minute Yoga flow, meditation and a green juice before heading out the door. Maybe that’s how all the worlds problems would be solved? Unfortunately, most of us don’t have that kind of time and struggle to even find time for our mat in the morning despite our need for it. Yes, NEED. Which is why I’ve decided to share with you the 5 yoga poses I do almost every morning to help stretch and wake up my body and prepare my mind for the day. 

I usually wake up in the morning with a lot back and shoulder pain and naturally want to work out those kinks and tightness, which is where is sequence originates.  It can easily be used as a warmth for a morning flow or keep it short hand sweet if you’re on the move. However, disclaimer; these poses are know to case a crave for more yoga. 

1. Cat/Cow 

This is almost always the first pose I find myself in after childs pose. It may technically be two poses by in my mind cat always accompanies cow and cow always accompanied cat.  

Start in tabletop with hips over knees and shoulders over wrists. Inhale while you drop the belly and lift the chest and the tailbone toward the sky. Pull the shoulds back to make sure to lengthen through the abdominal muscles and make sure not to crunch through the lower spine. Use the exhales to draw the navel to the spine and chin to the chest, rounding through the spine like an angry cat.  

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2. Thread the Needle  

Start in table top, just like you would cat/cows. Ground down through the left hand and inhale your right arm up toward the sky, pull your right shoulder back. Exhale while you dive your right hand under your left arm pit and bring your right cheek/chin to the mat. Press your left hand into the mad to help open the shoulders and chest. Stay here for at least 5 deep breath beast before repeating on the other side. 

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3. Seated Twist

Sit down with both seat bones grounded into the mat and a straight spine. Ground the right foot down into the mat in the left side of the food and bend at the left knee bringing the heel toward the hip. Inhale and reach your arms up to prepare, exhale and twist to the right bringing the right hand behind you as a kick stand and left elbow to right knee, you can use this as leverage to twist deeper.  Use you inhales to grow taller, reaching through the crown the head and heal to twist through the spine.

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4. Downward Dog

Yupp, good ol down dog.  Start in table top with fingers and palms spread wide,  firmly press down through the thumb and index finger. Exhale and send your  hips toward the sky and heels toward the mat, lengthen long thought the spine.  Externally rotate the shoulders and keep your arms firm pressing your body away from the floor. Release the head and the neck and keep the tailbone shifted toward the sky. Breathe here. 

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5. Forward Fold

Starting in Tadasana, or standing, hinge at the hips and fold forward. Make sure that when you fold, you are folding from your hips with a flat back, not from your waist. Keep the upper body as long as possible letting the crown of the head aim toward the toes. If you're tight then take a bend in the knees and just hang heavy, maybe even shift from right to left. 

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Hopefully these poses help fill your morning with love and light like they do mine and you find the perfect start to your day. xoxo, Dare. 

Surrender to Your inner child ('s Pose)

Let Go of the Ego

When my practice first formed it was largely fueled by the ego.  I would push myself, sacrificing my breath and my alignment to keep flowing through Vinyasas with the others around me, or to maneuver my body into poses or variations I wasn't ready for.  I allowed my ego to convince me I reaped no benefits from simple or child like poses... poses like Child’s Pose!

My practice now looks nothing like it used to, pausing and breathing into each pose to create space, moving with more intention and surrendering to my mat when my body asks for rest.  I no longer allow my ego to fuel my practice (most of the time, I am still human).  I favor poses that both my body and my breath settle into naturally, poses that help me slow down and find gratitude.  

In a society where we are flooded with images of seemingly perfect yogis in bikinis, jumping into handstands and backbends in dream-like destinations, quieting our ego can be a true challenge.  When you find difficulty, take a lesson from your inner child; return to Child’s Pose, return to humility.

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"If you want a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue.  Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, the need to judge.  Those three things the ego is doing all the time.  It is very important to be aware of them every time they come up. " -Deepak Chopra 

Why I LOVE Childs Pose 

  1. THE BENEFITS. I won't lie, I usually don't even make it out of bed before I find myself stretching my arms forward, hips to heels and settling into child's.  This versatile pose gently stretches the lower back and ankles, opens the hips, softens the front body and neck, and even aids in digestion!  Perfect after you’ve woken from your slumber or after a long sequence of standing poses. 
  2. Nurtures + Nourishes! Balasana is a resting pose, its a perfect time to surrender to your mat and re-connect to your breath; your prana, your life force. Take this opportunity to return to your intention and remind yourself that you're only practicing for yourself. 
  3. Gratitude. When I settle into Balasana, I find an immense amount of gratitude.  The feeling of my stomach rise and fall against my thighs with my breath and my heart pound in my chest against the floor reminds me how beautifully magical my body and its capabilities truly are.  Pair this with a sweaty vinyasa flow and feel gratitude for days.
  4. Third Eye Connection. This is the perfect pose to use to tap into your Third Eye Chakra, or your intuition. The third eye is located just between the brows at the forehead.  Relax your neck and shoulders and begin to rock your forehead from left to right, masaging your third eye chakra.  Since Child's Pose is a resting pose you could even go as far as to make this a meditation, repeating to yourself a mantra and visualizing a glowing blue/purple light.

Does your ego fuel your practice? What poses help you find humility?