By Morgan Bernard
It may be a tad ironic, but living an active life can take its toll on your body. Doing the things we love to do, whether that’s hiking, running, climbing, surfing, or skiing, can have a cumulative exhausting effect on our bodies. Despite the myriad of health benefits that come with being active, preventative care is required to ensure you’re fit and ready for such strenuous activities. For many athletes, weekend warriors, and everyone in between, yoga provides invaluable recovery and relief to our active lifestyles. Beyond recovery, yoga is a powerful tool for building strength and increasing mobility, which will help prevent injury and increase your performance in whatever your sport or activity may be. Additionally, starting your day with yoga will boost your energy, improve your mental health, and set the tone for a productive day. To help you get the most out of your active days, we’ve created The Best Yoga Poses to Start Your Day: Farm Brand’s Guide to Creating Your Own Morning Yoga Routine.
Years of surfing, climbing, and hiking combined with the wear and tear of a collegiate athletic career have taken their toll on my back. Each morning I wake up with a significant amount of tension in my lower back. Back pain doesn’t discriminate. It can plague the highly active, the sedentary, and the average gym goer. The Seated Twist provides a gentle stretch that will help ease you into an active morning or a day at the office. If you suffer from back pain, consider adding the Seated Twist to your Morning Yoga Routine.
To perform, begin in a seated position with the legs crossed and arms relaxed by your sides. Take the right hand and place it flat on the ground directly behind you, twisting gently in the spine as you do. Place the left hand on the right knee and hold the pose for 5 to 10 deep breaths before switching sides.
Another gentle yet effective pose for back pain is Cat-Cow. Technically Cat-Cow is two separate poses, but they are performed in succession. In addition to alleviating back pain, Cat-Cow will also reduce tension in the neck. Consider adding this easy pose to your morning yoga routine to help reduce posterior stiffness.
To perform, begin on your hands and knees with the hands directly below the shoulders and your knees on the floor below the pelvis. Inhale, as you do so, look up and arch the spine by rolling the shoulders away from the ears (cow). As you exhale, press into the floor with your hands and knees. Round the spine so that your body resembles a startled cat (cat). Perform for 5 breath cycles.
Camel Pose is a powerful chest opener that will expand the lungs and allow for deep breaths, which will help increase blood flow and wake you up in the early morning.
To perform, begin with both knees planted into the floor with your hips over the knees, so that your shins are resting on the floor behind you. Turn your feet to curl your toes under, placing them on the floor. Put your palms on your hips and arch the spine, pressing the stomach outward. Squeeze your elbows together slightly behind your back, while pulling your shoulder blades towards each other. Keep your thighs rotated inward. Glance to the ceiling as you lift your chest. Release your hands by placing them on your heels and arch your spine. Keep your shoulders down away from your ears. Hold for 5 to 10 deep breaths.
Twisted Chair Pose
Once you’ve performed the first few poses in your morning routine, incorporate some more challenging poses that recruit your major muscle groups for an invigorating morning stretch. Twisted Chair is a total body burner that will increase total body circulation and aid digestion.
To perform, stand with your legs together. Bend at the knees and sink the hips down to knee level, as if you were sitting down in a chair. Bring the palms together in front of the heart. While keeping your core tight, rotate the spine while slightly bending forward to bring the right elbow to the left knee. Hold this pose for 30 to 45 seconds. Switch sides, and repeat.
Bridge Pose is a gentle Inversion that uses gravity to slowly open your chest and shoulders. The raised chest position of this pose helps massages the thyroid gland, which helps regulate your metabolism. Additionally, the slight inversion of Bridge Pose will send blood to your brain to help you start your day alert and focused.
To perform, lie on your back with your knees bent, feet shoulder-width apart, and flat on the floor. You should be able to reach down and barely touch your heels with your fingertips. If you cannot, walk your heels back closer to the body. Press down through the feet to lift the hips upwards towards the sky while keeping the thighs parallel. Move the arms underneath your raised torso and clasp your hands together while squeezing the shoulder blades. Hold the pose for 30-45 seconds. Release and repeat at least two additional times.
If you're in the market for some comfortable yoga attire, check out Farm Brand's latest leggings and joggers. Some of our favorite women's yoga pieces include the Namaste Capri Leggings and the Namaste High Waist Comfort Leggings, both of which allow you to move and flow with ease. For guys, we cannot get enough of our Day Club Pastel Shorts. They have all the comfort of a good pair of joggers with the freedom and mobility of athletic shorts. Stay tuned for more Farm Brand yoga content. If you’re new to yoga, check out Farm Brand’s Comprehensive Guide to Yoga for Beginners.