Minding Your Body: Wake Up Moves

Is this you every morning?
The alarm clock rings, you hit snooze a few times before, literally, rolling out of bed. Sometimes your neck or lower back ache and you feel more like someones grandma waking up, instead of a perky, sexy Paula Patton jumping around in a Robin Thicke video. It could have been the way you slept, or what you did the day before, but regardless, you feel a need for a better wake up call!
Why not set your alarm 5 minutes earlier, and before or after your shower, take a few minutes  to start your day off right. Here are 5 simple stretches to do in the morning to help you feel a little bit better first thing in the morning. These stretches help to open the spine, lower back  muscles and hips, which tend to be trouble zones for many people.

Bridge

  • Start on your back, with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
  • Beginning from your tailbone, slowly curl your hips, your lower back and then your rib cage up from the floor, as if you are slowly peeling your spine from the floor like velcro. Hold for 2 breathes.
  • Slowly roll down, melting your upper back, ribs, and then your hips into the mat. Repeat 5 times.

Spinal Twist

 

  • After the Bridge stretch above, slowly allow your knees to fall to your right, while keeping both shoulders planted on the floor. You may feel this stretch in your hips and/or lower back.
  • Hold for 5 deep breaths; repeat on the other side.

 Glute Stretch

  • While lying on your back, pick up your right leg with your hands, and place your left ankle on top of your right thigh.
  • Be sure to keep your lower back and shoulders on the floor. You should feel this stretch through the back of your hips and butt.
  • Hold for 5-10 deep breaths; repeat on the other leg.

Cat/Cow Stretch

  • Come to a kneeling position, with your knees apart under your hips, and your hands apart under your shoulders.
  • Take a deep breath in and slowly roll your spine up to the ceiling, dropping your head and curling your tailbone under. Exhale and drop your chest and stomach, lifting your head and tail.
  • Repeat slowly 5 times.

 Downward Facing Dog

 

  • After the Cat/Cow Stretch, stand firmly into your hands and place your feet flat on the floor, lifting your hips to the ceiling and straightening your legs. Its okay to keep your knees slightly bent.
  • Hold this position, taking deep breaths. You can also bend one knee while straightening the other, like walking in the place.
  • Hold for 5-10 deep breaths.
  • End by walking your hands back to your feet, and slowly rolling up to a standing position.

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