In today’s society, we are constantly bombarded with messages telling us to do more. We all struggle to balance a demanding work schedule with family duties, and time for relaxation and sleep go by the wayside. Unfortunately, this leads to constant stress in our lives, which can lead to physical side effects like difficulty sleeping, headaches, and muscle and joint pain.
It is important to recharge your batteries by taking even a few minutes each day to relax and take some time for yourself. One of the simplest ways to start is to take 5 minutes in the morning to stretch. Instead of rushing off to the shower the second your alarm goes off, try staying in bed, lying on your back for a few seconds. Close your eyes and visualize your body, then slowly work down your body, tensing your muscles and then consciously relaxing. Start by tensing your forehead and relaxing, and go all the way down to your toes.
Once you have done this, bring one knee in towards your chest, to begin to open your hip muscles and stretch your lower back. Hold each knee in to your chest for 20 seconds. Then begin stretching along the side of your body by bringing one leg over to the other side of your body, twisting at the waist while you keep both shoulder blades of the bed. Once you have done this on both sides, you are ready for some quick and easy morning yoga.
If you have never done yoga before, yoga may conjure up images of contortionist positions, which are intimidating. On the contrary, you can incorporate some morning yoga stretches into your routine that are gentle but invigorating, and will energize you to start your day.
Stand tall on a yoga mat or carpeted floor. Inhale and raise your arms over your head, and exhale as you bring them down in front of your chest. Repeat this as many times as you like to calm your breath. Bend forward and relax to stretch your hamstrings and allow blood to flow to your head. For a final pose, relax in a downward dog position for as long as is comfortable to stretch your legs.
By taking just a few minutes each morning, you will allow yourself to mentally prepare for the day ahead. You will warm up and stretch your muscles to prevent stiffness throughout the day. Most importantly, you will begin to develop a sense of inner calm that will allow you face the challenges that come up day to day.