Some people wake up after a cup of coffee and others feel energized after a run, but you can energize the body without doing either of those things. Not everyone likes coffee and not everyone is down for a jog through the neighborhood. Well, it’s a good thing that you can sink into some deep stretches to awaken the body after you peel yourself out of bed.
The reason that a morning stretch feels so good is because your muscles become paralyzed during REM sleep. Waking up and stretching awakens the muscles, gets the blood flowing, and boosts endorphin production. According to renowned yoga instructors, carving out a section of your morning to do a few simple stretches can reduce fatigue and improve posture. One study found that people spend half of their waking hours in a seated position. To avoid stiffness and compromised health, start stretching every day and you’ll notice a huge difference in energy and how your body performs.
Standing Half Moon Pose:
Stand up straight with your feet together; your heels should be slightly apart. Extend your arms above your head and interlace your fingers, keeping your index fingers straight and together. Gently lean back and allow your hips to come forward a little, but don’t go too far. The intention is to create a crescent moon shape from your heels to your finger tips. It’s a gentle stretch that helps to lengthen the hip flexors and relieve lower back pain. Take five deep breaths and return to center.
Stand up straight with your feet hip-distance apart. Take a deep inhale and raise your arms above your head. As you exhale, fold forward, hinging at the hips, until the top of your head is facing the ground. You can cross your arms, grab your elbows, and simply hang in this position, or you can support yourself by putting your hands on your shins. Take five deep breaths before slowly standing up.
Come down onto all fours in a tabletop position. Keep your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. As you take a deep inhale, arch your back, drop your shoulders, and lift your head up. As you exhale, round your spine (like a cat) and drop your head down between your shoulders. Repeat this pattern for 30 seconds.
Standing Quad Stretch:
Stand up straight with your feet hip-distance apart. If you have difficulty balancing, stand next to a table, chair, or something sturdy to grab while you do the stretch. Bend your right knee up and reach back with your right hand to grab your right ankle. Pull your heel towards your butt and keep your balance as you stretch the muscles in your quad. Hold this position for 15 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
Get into a plank position and bring your right foot between your hands, stacking your right knee directly over the ankle. Drop your left knee down to the ground and stabilize yourself before you extend your arms above your head. Squeeze your gluteus muscles and lift your chest as you sink into the stretch. Take five deep breaths in this position and then repeat on the other side.