Elizabeth Kovar by Elizabeth Kovar
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Need a fresh start to your day? Awaken your mind and invigorate your body as you start your morning with an energetic yoga practice. Morning yoga eases the transition from the sleeping to the waking state and prepares you for whatever may come your way throughout the day.

This simple and easy routine includes nine postures and takes 10 minutes to complete. Try something new this fall as you rise, shine and practice yoga.

Cat/Cow

cat-cow

Cat/Cow is an excellent pose to warm up the spine, breath and body. This rhythmic movement flows with the inhalation and exhalation, and is known for helping maintain a healthy spine.

How to Perform: Start on all fours with hands under the shoulders and knees under the hips. On your exhalation, round the spine toward the ceiling, while bringing your chin toward the chest. Inhale, reverse the motion and lower the navel toward the floor, and lift the chin toward the ceiling. Continue this motion, working with the inhalation and exhalation, for one minute.

Downward-facing Dog

downward-facing-dog

Most dogs after waking from a nap stretch in this position, thus giving credit to its name. This position is beneficial in a morning practice to alleviate a tight back, hips and lower extremities.

How to Perform: From the all-fours position, slightly walk your hands forward. Curl the toes under. Exhale, lift the hips into the air and allow the heels to relax toward the floor. The chest should maintain a relaxed position as the shoulders roll away from the ears. Hold for 30 seconds.

Runner's Lunge

runner-lunge

Runners Lunge allows the extended leg to open while maintaining strength and stability in the upper body. This is the perfect posture to transition from the mat to standing poses.

How to Perform: From downward-facing dog, lower onto all fours. Slightly lift your torso and bring your right leg forward. Reposition the hands on each side of the foot, and curl the toes of the back foot onto the floor. Slowly lift your back knee and hold.

To regress, place the back knee on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides. 

Revolved Side Angle

lunge-twist

This position increases mobility in the upper body while opening the groin, glutes and thighs. It also challenges balance.

How to Perform: From Runners Lunge, reach your right arm overhead, to where your torso rotates toward your inner thigh. To regress, place the back knee on the ground. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides. 

Crescent Lunge

crescent-lunge

Crescent Lunge strengthens and lengthens various areas of the legs, and promotes shoulder stability, while opening the front of the chest. This position also challenges balance.

How to Perform: From Revolved Side Angle, rotate the torso back to Runner’s Lunge and then lift the torso over the hips. Reach the arms up toward the ceiling. To regress, place the back knee on the ground. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides. 

Warrior II

warrior-ii

Warrior II promotes strength and stability in the legs and upper body. This position encourages a strong breath to allow for the pose to be meditative.

How to Perform: From Crescent Lunge, plant your back foot down at a 45-degree angle. Simultaneously, rotate your torso toward the long edge of your mat and bring the arms to shoulder height to a "T" position.

*Repeat from Downward-facing Dog to Warrior II with the left leg forward. Hold each side for 30 seconds.

Standing Wide-legged Forward Fold

standing-wide-legged-forward-fold

This forward-folding position allows the upper body to relax, while opening the back area of the legs and glutes.

How to Perform: From Warrior II, straighten your legs and turn your toes toward the long edge of your mat. With a flat back, slowly lower the torso and rest your hands on the floor. If your hands don’t reach the floor, place them on the shins or thighs. Hold for one minute.

Tree Pose

tree-pose

Tree pose challenges balance, while lengthening the inner thigh and stabilizing the upper body.

How to Perform: Stand in an upright position and turn your right knee away from the body. Place the right foot either above or below the knee. Reach the arms overhead and relax the shoulders away from the ears. To regress, place the toe on the floor with the heel above the ankle. Hold for one minute on each leg.

Spinal Twist

spinal-twist

Spinal twists are wonderful chest and hip openers, allowing the torso and pelvic region to gain flexibility and mobility.

How to Perform: Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and arms at shoulder level. Slowly lower the knees to the right and turn your face toward the left. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.