Health & Beauty

10-Minute Morning Yoga to Wake Up by Yoga With Kassandra

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Trying to be more consistent with your yoga practice? There’s a simpler solution than the common trap of setting an ambitious goal then fizzling out because your expectations weren’t realistic. Being unnecessarily stressed is the exact opposite of how yoga should make you feel. Instead, start small. Try committing to a 10-minute morning yoga practice as a simple routine that you can actually stick with on an everyday basis.

The following sequence slowly engages all the major muscles without being overly strenuous. There are no complicated transitions. You don’t even need to get out of bed. Try it for a week and you’ll understand what a difference a simple everyday yoga practice that doesn’t ask too much of yourself can make.

10-Minute Morning Yoga to Wake Up

Yoga doesn’t always look like a 60-minute class. Even committing to 10 minutes of a regular morning yoga practice can help you feel the benefits of stretching and slowing down. There’s no need for you to have any experience with yoga to try this practice.

Yoga With Kassandra on a yoga mat practicing a 10-minute morning yoga practice to wake up, specifically Bound Angle Pose with her knees bent and the bottom of her feet together
Keep your muscles relaxed and your breath slow in this passive forward bend. (Photo: Yoga With Kassandra)

Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

Start your 10-minute morning yoga practice to wake up seated. Bring the bottoms of your feet together, letting your knees fall apart. Adjust the distance between your heels and hips based on what’s comfortable to you. Lean forward at your hips, round your upper back, and relax your neck as you allow gravity to guide you into a passive forward fold known as Bound Angle or Butterfly Pose). Rest your arms alongside you, palms face up. To intensify the stretch in your thighs, move your heels closer to your hips. To focus on the stretch in your outer hips, slide your heels farther away from you. Breathe here.

Sometimes the simplest of movements can bring the most profound stretch. (Photo: Yoga With Kassandra)

Bound Angle Pose with Side Stretch

From your forward fold, keep your upper body fairly relaxed as you walk your hands forward and lift your chest slightly. Come onto your fingertips and walk your hands toward the right. Press down through your left sit bone to keep it from lifting off the mat. Breathe here and feel the stretch along the left side of your lower back and body. Slowly walk your hands to the other side, maintaining your forward fold. This time, through your right hand while pressing your right sit bone down. Walk your hands back to center.

You may have tried this same pose lying on your back. Sitting allows you to more easily adjust the intensity of the stretch by sliding your mat foot closer or farther away from you. (Photo: Yoga With Kassandra)

Seated Pigeon Pose or Figure 4

From sitting, place your hands behind your hips, fingers pointing either toward or away from you. Straighten your legs and then cross your right ankle over your left knee. Keep the crossing of your legs as you bend your left knee and slide your left foot closer to your hips. Keep your right foot flexed and lean your right knee away from you. Press your hands into the floor to help you maintain a straight back. You should feel much of the same stretch as Pigeon Pose. If you prefer, slowly sway your legs from side to side. Breathe here.

This effective stretch combines one bent leg and one straight leg allows for the many subtle ways our bodies aren’t symmetrical. It targets the lower back, hamstrings, and inner thighs. (Photo: Yoga With Kassandra)

Head to Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana)

From Seated Pigeon Pose, slide your left leg straight on the mat and bring your right foot to your inner left thigh. Inhale as you sit tall, lengthening and straightening your back. Exhale as you actively press the back of your bent leg into the mat and passively fold forward in Head to Knee Pose. Allow your back to round, release your chin toward your chest, and try not to grip with your hands. Breathe here.

This release for the side body and the hips is essentially Side Angle Pose practiced on your knees. (Photo: Yoga With Kassandra)

Kneeling Side Angle Pose or Stargazer

From your forward bend, walk your hands back toward your hips and slowly lift your chest. Keep your right knee bent as you plant your right hand behind you, fingers pointing toward the back of the mat. Keep your left leg straight as you shift your weight to your right knee and shin. Reach your left arm alongside your head, and lift your hips in a kneeling version of Side Angle Pose. Breathe and feel the stretch from your left foot to your left foot. Slowly release and come back to sitting by reversing how you came into the pose.

Slowly straighten your right leg and repeat the past few poses on your other side, beginning with seated Pigeon Pose.

A supported backbend that you can easily adjust to be more or less intense. (Photo: Yoga With Kassandra)

Sphinx Pose

Come onto your belly and extend your legs straight behind you, hip-distance apart or wider. Bring your forearms to the mat with your elbows slightly in front of your shoulders in Sphinx Pose. Roll your shoulders back, broaden through your chest, and press into the tops of your feet to find the desired intensity of your backbend. If you experience pinching in your lower back, lower your chest slightly. If you want to intensify the stretch, bring your hands wider than your shoulders, press through the palms, and straighten your arms. Breathe here.

A classic, Down Dog can, in time, feel like a resting pose. Until then, continue to find ease wherever you can by releasing tension in your upper shoulders, neck, and jaw. (Photo: Yoga With Kassandra)

Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

From Sphinx, lower your chest to the mat, bring your hands beneath your shoulders, and tuck your toes. Inhale and slowly lift your hips up and back into Downward-Facing Dog. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and relax your neck. Breathe here as you press your hands, and especially your index fingers, into the mat and lengthen through your upper body. Stay still or alternately bend each knee as you stretch through your calves, ankles, and hamstrings.

One of the simplest poses. Also one of the most profound releases for your entire back body, from your heels to your head. (Photo: Yoga With Kassandra)

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

From Downward-Facing Dog, walk your feet forward toward your hands. Adjust your feet hip-distance apart or wider and keep that forward bend. If the stretch is too intense, bend your knees a little or a lot. Stay still or hold onto your elbows and sway gently from side to side in a rag doll version of Standing Forward Bend. Breathe here.

If your heels lift off the mat during a squat, tuck a rolled blanket beneath your heels for support. (Photo: Yoga With Kassandra)

Squat (Malasana)

From Standing Forward Bend, bring your fingertips to the mat, turn your toes slightly out, and bend your knees to come into a squat. Bring your palms together and press your elbows against your inner thighs. Lengthen through your back and lift the top of your head. Breathe here.

The challenge with Reverse Tabletop is to keep your hips reaching toward the ceiling rather than sagging. (Photo: Yoga With Kassandra)

Reverse Tabletop

From a squat, sit down and bring your feet hip-distance apart. Plant your palms firmly behind you, fingers pointing toward your heels, and press through your feet and hands as you lift your hips into Reverse Tabletop. Try to create a straight line from your shoulders to your knees by engaging your core, glutes, and thighs for stability. If you feel comfortable, gradually release your head back, allowing a gentle stretch in your neck. Breathe here. Exhale to release, lowering yourself to the mat with control.

The experience of sitting still in Easy Pose isn’t always easy. And that’s sorta the point. Slow your breath, focus your thoughts, and stay for at least a few breaths. (Photo: Yoga With Kassandra)

Easy Pose (Sukhasana)

Finish your 10-minute morning yoga practice to wake up by taking a comfortable sitting position and closing your eyes. Bring your hands together at the front of your chest. If you like, focus on one word that encompasses what you want for your day or simply focus on a sense of stillness and self-awareness. Stay here for a few breaths before starting your day.

About Our Contributor

Kassandra Reinhardt is an Ottawa-based Yin Yoga and vinyasa yoga instructor whose YouTube channel, Yoga With Kassandra, has grown to 2.2 million subscribers and has more than 230 million views. Kassandra recently released her guided yoga journal, My Yoga Journey: A Guided Journal, her daily affirmation card deck, I Radiate Joy,and her book, Year of Yoga.


www.yogajournal.com