Guest Author - Terri Johansen
Let’s admit it, exercising in the morning isn’t always fun. However this short yoga sequence called, “Wake Me Up” will make getting up those few minutes earlier well worth it. This is one of my favorite sequences and I use it often in my practice. I like to add some seated warm-ups like, easy pose forward bend, easy pose twist, pelvic circles, spinal flexes, and always neck releases.
•Begin in Mountain Pose, both feet together. Adjust your feet slightly until you feel the best stance for you and this will be “your Mountain”.
•Bring both hands behind your back and lace your fingers together.
•Fold forward as if you were going into Standing Forward Bend, however bend your knees and lift your arms as high as you can comfortably. Your chest should be resting on your thighs. Hold here for 8-10 breaths
•Rise slowly from the position and return to Mountain Pose.
•Take your arms overhead and reach hands to elbows.
•Spread your feet hip width apart and side bend to the right. After holding for 8 breaths come back to center and repeat on the left side.
•Come to the floor and into Table Pose. Your hands will be right beneath your shoulders and shoulder width apart. Your knees line up directly under your hips and are hip width apart.
•Tuck your toes and lift your butt into the air for Downward Facing Dog. Press forward through the palms of your hands and push your butt and hamstrings back.
•Relax your head and let it hang between your arms. Don’t worry if your heels don’t touch the floor. That can be something to work towards.
•Lift your right leg straight up behind you; bend your knee and take your foot towards the left. Hold for 5 breaths, and then sweep your right leg forward between your hands.
•This may sound a little acrobatic so if you need to come back to Downward Facing Dog and into Table Pose. From there go into a lunge with the right foot forward.
•In this lunge your left knee does not touch the floor. The leg reaches out long behind you and you are on your toes. If this is too difficult then drop the left knee and continue.
•Place your left hand on the floor on the inside of your right foot.
•Lift your right arm and turn twisting to the right. Let your head follow your right hand and keep your gaze on it.
•Lower your left knee to the floor. Now you are in a low lunge.
•Take both hands and place them on your thigh.
•Lengthen the left leg out from the knee and line up the right knee over the right ankle.
•Hold for 8 breaths.
•From Lunge you are going to lift up and step forward back into Mountain Pose.
•Keep your right foot forward and take your left leg back. Line up the middle of the left foot to the ankle of the right foot.
•With your legs spread wide turn your entire body and face the left side of your mat.
•Bring your arms into a T and lower your right arm down your right leg or to the floor if possible.
•Lift the left arm straight up. Turn your face and look up toward the left hand. Don’t do this if it hurts your neck.
•Hold for 8-10 breaths and release the pose stepping forward and back into Mountain Pose.
•Come to the floor and into Table Pose (referenced in step 3).
•In Table Pose lower down onto your forearms.
•Extend the right leg straight out behind you and then the left. This is a Forearm Plank.
•This is a difficult pose and you may need to work up to 8-10 breaths.
•Release and lower yourself to the floor for a quick rest.
•The last pose is Garland Pose. Come back into Mountain Pose.
•Open your feet wide, more than shoulder width apart.
•Bend your knees and push your butt out as you begin to squat.
•Open your knees wide and let your butt drop towards the floor.
•Place your elbows on your knees and bring your hands together in front of your heart. Hold for 8 breaths.
•This is a deep squat and is especially hard if you have knee problems. If you cannot lower to the full squat then come down partially and with knees wide and butt pushed back. Place your elbows on your knees and bring your hands together in front of your heart.
Now that you have completed all 8 steps go back to step 1 and start over on the other side and go through all the postures. Never push yourself into a pose that is uncomfortable or painful. Yoga is about non-harming and that includes you. Your body will tell you what you can and can’t do.
Always check with a medical professional before doing yoga or any other form of exercising. Live well, practice yoga.
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