Best Morning Stretches for Energy and Digestion
By: Steph Ball-Mitchell, E-RYT-500, RPYT, RCYT, YACEP
Many people are looking for the best morning stretches for energy. Anytime that we come into spinal extension, which is when the heart moves away from the thighs, we are energizing the body. Backbends of all kinds are invigorating.
Come onto the hands and knees in tabletop position. The shoulders stack over the wrists, and the hips stack over knees. On an inhale, drop the belly, arch the back and turn the gaze up. Roll the chest and shoulders open. This is cow pose and will help to bring you energy. Cow pose is often paired with Cat pose. Cat pose is a nice counter stretch for Cow. To come into Cat pose, on an exhale, press into the palms, round the spine and tuck the chin towards the chest. Repeat both cat and cow 5-10 times, moving with the breath. Always inhale to come into Cow and exhale to come into Cat.
Come into a comfortable seated position. You may choose to cross the legs and sit on a mat. You may even choose to sit in a chair. Sit up nice and tall in your body and grow long through the crown of the head. On an inhale, reach both arms behind the back, interlace the fingers and straighten the arms behind you as you roll the chest and shoulders open. Turn the gaze up. Remain here for 3-4 breaths. This will help to bring energy into the body.
Whenever we come into spinal rotation, we are improving digestion. All of our organs are somehow connected to the spine, either directly or indirectly. As the spine comes into twists, all of the organs go along for the ride. A nice massage for the organs, coming into twists is almost like ringing out a towel.
When you’re still laying in bed first thing in the morning, you can spread the arms out like a “T” and hug the knees into the chest. Let the legs fall over to the left as the hips stack, and turn the gaze out over the right shoulder. Stay here for a few breaths. Then, take the legs over to the right as the left hip stacks on top of the right. Turn the gaze out over the left shoulder. Stay here for a few breaths. Coming into this twist every morning will help to improve digestion.
Come into a comfortable seated position. You may choose to cross the legs and sit on a mat, or you may choose to sit on a chair. On an inhale stretch both arms up overhead. As you exhale, turn to look out over the right shoulder. Bring the right hand behind you onto the ground, or the back of the chair. Bring the left hand to the right knee. Inhale for length. Exhale to twist more deeply. Stay here for a few breaths. Then, reverse the movement to the other side. On an inhale, stretch both arms up overhead. As you exhale, turn to look out over the left shoulder. The right hand comes onto the left knee, and the left hand comes behind you for support. Remain here for a few breaths. This will help to improve digestion.
To learn more about the best morning stretches for energy and best morning stretches for digestion, please join us in our 200 hour yoga teacher training online or our virtual yoga studio.