As any yoga teacher, whether you spend most of your day sitting behind a desk or chasing the kids around the house, a morning yoga session is a great start to the day. It gets your heart pumping and helps clear your mind so you can focus on the day that lies ahead. You don’t need to attend a morning yoga class, you can get all of the benefits at home. All you need is 30-minutes and a gentle morning yoga sequence to get off on the right foot.
Best 30-Minute Morning Yoga Session at Home
If you’re interested in adding gentle practice to your morning routine but aren’t sure where to start, here are a few beginner-friendly yoga postures to get you started without having to visit the yoga studio.
Mountain pose is a great way to stretch before the rest of your workout. Begin by standing with your feet together, then elongate the spine, lifting your thighs and knee caps without tensing your abdomen. Pull your shoulder blades back, head facing forward. Imagine a string at the top of your head, pulling you toward the ceiling. Practice deep breathing and hold for two minutes.
Standing Forward Bend
Transitioning from mountain pose into a standing forward bend helps relax your spine and back. Begin by bending forward slowly from the hips. Touch your toes or cross your forearms, holding onto the opposite elbow until you’re flexible enough to do so.
As you improve, grip the backs of your ankles, touching your head to your knees. Inhale when returning to the standing and repeat for 15 to 20 breaths.
Next, move onto your hands and knees for the cat-cow pose. This is a great way to stretch the spine, shoulders, and neck.
Begin with cat pose, inhaling slowly and pulling your tummy up toward the spine and rounding your back and shoulders toward the ceiling. Then, move into cow pose by exhaling and tilting your head backward, raising your chin. Push your stomach down and lift your tailbone, tightening your buttocks.
Transition between the two poses for 20 to 30 breaths or about five minutes.
This pose helps you begin the day with a clear, focused mind, giving you an opportunity to focus on meditation. Begin by sitting on your heels, knees in line with your hips. Bend your body forward, resting your forehead on the yoga mat and keeping your arms stretched out in front of the body, palms face-down.
Hold your chest to your thighs for two minutes, taking slow, deep breaths.
Downward Facing Dog
Move to a downward-facing dog to strengthen your arms, tone your core, and improve blood flow to your brain. From child’s pose, come up onto all fours, keeping your back flat to form a table-like structure with your body. Move your hands slightly forward, just in front of your shoulders.
Inhale slowly, straightening your elbows and knees to raise your hips and forming a V-shape with your body. Make sure your toes are facing straight ahead and lengthen the neck by looking toward your feet. Hold for 10 to 20 breaths.
This is an excellent pose to open your chest and stretch the lower back. Lie on your stomach, keeping your legs and feet together. Then, place your hands on either side of your shoulders, and press against your palms to slowly lift your head, chest, and abdomen off of the ground.
Arch your back and stretch your head back so you’re looking toward the ceiling. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths or about a minute. Then, slowly lower your body back to the starting position.
To do a side lunge, stand, keeping your feet hips-width apart. Step forward with the right leg, shifting your weight slowly until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Hold for a few seconds, then switch to your left leg. This pose is a great way to tone your legs, but be sure to keep switching sides to avoid pain and fatigue. Take between 10 to 15 breaths on each side and repeat for five minutes.
This basic pose is a simple way to increase the strength and flexibility of the entire body. Stand up straight, face forward, and spread your feet apart so that they're slightly wider than the hips. Keep the toes of the left foot pointing forward and turn the right foot so the toes point to the side.
Take a deep breath, bending your body to the right while keeping the waist straight. Place your right hand on your right ankle and raise your left arm towards the ceiling with an open palm. Keep your shoulders and chest facing front. Hold for five breaths, then switch sides.
Seated Forward Bend
This seated pose starts by sitting on the mat with your legs spread straight out in front. Next, reach your arms to your toes, breathing in when the spine is straight and then exhaling while moving the body forward. Hold for a few seconds, then straighten the spine. Repeat for three to four breaths.
This is a simple pose to clear your mind and relax and a great way to end your gentle yoga morning routine. Lie down flat on the floor, relaxing your entire body. Breathe deeply, focusing on every part of your body from your toes to your head, systematically making sure everything is relaxed.
Focus on yourself, your body, and your surroundings, forgetting about all of the things you have to accomplish in the day and just being present in the moment.
Final Word on Gentle Morning Yoga
There are many benefits to starting every day with a morning yoga routine. Let’s face it, some days are so busy, a quick yoga video or solo session in the morning might be the only opportunity you have to squeeze in a workout.
The yoga sequence we outlined contains multiple poses that are suitable for yogis of any level. Follow it from start to finish or choose your favourites to put together a routine that suits your level of yoga practice and use a yoga block or other props if needed to safely continue your yoga journey.