This 10 minute yoga sequence can balance your body and focus your mind. You'll actively deepen your breath and gently wake up the body and mind. No special workout gear or studio space is necessary.
You can do these beginner-friendly yoga poses anywhere. They will increase your flexibility, balance and strength, so you can be energized for your the day ahead.
Kneel, then take your knees wide and big toes to touch. Walk your hands forward until your forehand rests gently on the ground, or block or pillow for support. Practice deep, steady inhales and exhales as you let go of distraction and focus on your yoga practice.
Stay for 5-10 breaths.
Rise from child’s pose to tabletop, with your shoulders stacked over wrists and your hips stacked over knees. Place equal weight through your hands and knees, relax your feet, engage your abdominal muscles and lengthen your spine.
Inhale, gaze forward as your belly drops to the floor for Cow Pose.
Exhale, push through your palms round the spine and bring your chin to your chest for Cat Pose.
Move at your own pace for about 5-10 breaths. Be gentle with your lower back as you begin to warm up the body for the day.
(Tip: if this bothers your knees, place a towel or rolled up edge of a yoga mat underneath your knees for more support.)
Downward Facing Dog
Walk your hands forward an inch or two, curl your toes underneath and lift your hips up into downward facing dog. Bend your knees generously and reach your heels toward the floor. Ground down through all your fingers, especially the space between your thumb and first finger, and press through your arms while lifting your hips up and back.
Stay for 5-10 breaths.
Standing Forward Fold
Gently walk your feet in between your palms, and step shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees generously let your chest and head hand free, belly reaching to thighs. Hands grab opposite elbows for rag doll pose. Try moving your neck around here, exploring how it feels to bend or straighten your knees, acknowledging stiffness or tension in any part of your body.
Stay for a few breaths.
Inhale, place hands on your shins and lift your shoulders to be in line with your hips. Engage your core and open your chest forward while elongating through the neck. Push the shoulders down and away from the ears as you shine out of the crown of your head. Your hands can fall towards your shins or ankles. Exhale to standing forward fold, and repeat as necessary.
With three cycles of breath, role your spine up to standing, your head is the last thing to come up. Windmill your arms up to the sky, standing tall. Feel the weight evenly distributed in the four corners of your feet, with strong legs and an active core. Soften your shoulders away from your ears and extend your fingertips up as your palms face one another. Your body is one long line of energy: head over shoulders over hips over heels.
Breath for 3-5 counts, close your eyes and set an intention for your day.
High Plank Pose
From mountain pose, fold forward and step back into plank pose. Your hands are shoulder-width wide with feet together. Stack your shoulders over your elbows over your wrists, and align your hips to your shoulders and heels. Look down in between your hands and activate your entire body, engaging all your muscles. Broaden the backs of your shoulders.
(Tip: Drop to your knees for less sensation.)
Hold for 3-5 breaths.
Lower slowly to your belly. Bring your hands to your sides, near your low ribs, and hug your elbows in tightly. Inhale, raise your chest up a couple of inches and lighten the weight through your hands. Gaze is down, neck is long, and shoulders relax away from your ears.
To exit, exhale to release your forehead to the ground, inhale push through your palms press back up to plank (on your knees or toes), and exhale to return to downward facing dog.
Three Legged Down Dog
From downward facing dog, lift one leg up with intention, flexing your foot toward the ground to keep your hips level. Send the heel of your other foot a little closer to the ground, and press through hands and arms evenly. Stay for a few breaths, and on an exhale, send the foot through to place in between the palms and prepare for Warrior II.
Drop your hips and walk your hands forward to high plank pose. Bring your left foot forward for a lower runners lunge. Exhale to spin your right heel down. On an inhale, lift your torso up as arms reach out wide. Your left knee is directly atop your left ankle. Pull your belly in, stack your shoulders over your hips and keep equal weight in both of your feet. Draw your left knee toward your left pinkie toe. Look past your left hand, and ignite the muscles throughout your arms as your pelvis sinks down.
Hold here for 3-5 breaths.
From Warrior II, cartwheel your arms forward to frame the left foot, send the left foot back to high plank on the balls of your toes. Shift your shoulders forward slightly. Exhale to lower your body until your elbows reach 90 degrees. Avoid going lower to protect your shoulder, elbow and wrist joints. Keep your core engaged.
(Tip: this is the same pose as high plank, only your elbows are bent this time. Drop to your knees for less sensation.)
Upward Facing Dog
On your next inhale, press through your hands to lift your shoulders up, stacking them over your elbows and wrists. Draw your chest forward as your belly, upper thighs and knees move away from the ground. The only body parts touching the floor are your palms and the tops of your feet. Drop your shoulders away from your ears and look forward (not back) to find openness through the chest, neck, shoulders and abs.
To exit, exhale to downward facing dog. Repeat three legged down dog, Warrior II, high plank to low pushup, up dog, and down dog on the opposite side.
After you return to downward facing dog, gaze forward, bend your knees, and step both of your feet to your hands in between your palms. Inhale to halfway lift, and exhale to fold forward. Inhale to find chair pose: bring your big does to touch and heals slightly apart, sit your hips down and back. Keep your spine long and your abs engaged. Scoop your tail boon under. Relax your shoulders away from your ears, lift your arms high. Palms face one another. Breathe here.
Stay for 5 breaths. Feel the breath generating heat in the body.
To exit, release into a standing forward fold.
From your forward fold, frame the feet with the palms and walk the feet back to high plank. Bring your right knee forward and place it on the floor. Walk your right foot over to the left so it rests behind your left hand. Your right foot will be somewhere in front of your left hip. Square your hips, and make sure the left leg is straight out behind you and the top of the left foot rests on the mat. Inhale, come onto your fingertips, lengthen your spine, draw your navel in and open your chest. Exhale, walk your hands forward and lower your upper body towards the floor. You can rest your forearms and forehead on the mat.
Stay for 5 breaths or longer.
To exit, push back through the hands, lift your hips and move your leg back into all fours. Find a counter stretch in the hip with downward facing dog. Repeat on the other side.
Begin in a seated position with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lift your feet off the floor. Keep your knees bent at first. Bring your shins parallel to the floor. This is half boat pose. Your torso will naturally fall back, but do not let the spine round. Straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle if you can do so without losing the integrity of your upper body. You want to keep your torso as upright as possible so that it makes a V shape with the legs. Roll your shoulders back and straighten your arms roughly parallel to the floor with your palms turned up. Do your best to balance on the sit bones, but it's normal if you are resting slightly behind them. Focus on lifting your chest to support the balance.
Stay for at least five breaths.
To exit, release your legs on an exhale.
Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat. Inhale, and bring your knees to the left. Your arms are at a T and gaze is over to the right. Keep your shoulder blades glued to the mat. If you have to adjust your torso so your shoulder blades can stay on the mat equally, please do. Breath into the belly and melt into the gentle twist.
Stay for at least five breaths.
Exhale, bring your knees back to center on the inhale. Repeat bringing your knees to the right.
Reclined Child's Pose
Bring your knees into your chest to give yourself a bear hug. Release the lower back. Rock from side to side to massage your kidneys and lower back muscles, and muscles surrounding the spine and torso.
Happy Baby Pose
With an exhale, bend your knees into your belly. Inhale, grip the outsides of your feet with your hands. Open your knees slightly wider than your torso, then bring them up toward your armpits. Flex through the heels. Gently push your feet up into your hands as you pull your hands down to create a resistance. Keep the back flat on the mat. Rock back and forth to gently massage the lower back.
Come to a seated posture cross-legged, however you wish to get there. I invite you to sit on a blanket, block, or bolster for support. Root evenly into the sit bones. Elongate through the spine and crown of the head. Gaze forward and keep the neck long. Rest the backs of your hands on your thighs, palms up. Bring your first finger and thumb together on each hand for Gyan Mudra, which symbolizes unity and consciousness. Stay for as long as you wish.
Give yourself the gift of gratitude for your body's ability to breathe and move with a sense of power, grace, and health.