5 Morning Stretches To Connect With Yourself & Start The Day Tension-Free
We all know the importance of creating a healthy morning routine–but, of course, it's a challenge to begin and keep it going. The secret is shifting our mindset from checking off a list of well-being practices we think we should be doing toward choosing ones we enjoy (that also happen to be good for us).
Then, we transition from dreading something good for ourselves to being more aware of what our body really wants and needs—a concept I discuss in my book Clean Mind, Clean Body. And that's key because I strongly believe we need to enjoy ourselves for wellness to work.
This morning routine I've created is all about making a good connection with yourself so you become more adept at making better choices (for you personally) the rest of day. Take a moment to soften your whole self and enjoy this self-connection practice. You deserve to feel better.
- From lying down, with minimal effort, cross one leg over your other diagonally, so this twist is happening from the tips of your toes all the way up through the tips of your fingers.
- Hang here for a few big deep breaths and roll onto the other side.
Seated side bend
- Without any hurry, roll yourself up toward sitting and lean on over toward one side, until your forearm catches you on the ground.
- Hang here for a bit and roll around in the places that could use your attention.
- Roll yourself up and over toward the other side.
Seated leg-out stretch
- Stretch one leg out to your side. (This doesn't need to be your biggest stretch ever. Keep it easy on you.)
- Lean over toward your extended leg until your forearm catches you on the ground inside your leg.
- Reach your opposite arm up and over. Explore around here for a few big breaths, then go for the other side.
- Roll up to sit. Allow yourself to move a bit here gently, until you gradually find a neutral, balanced place. Like a tree swaying in the breeze, gently responding to the breeze until the breeze becomes quiet.
- Don't force yourself to be still. Allow yourself to move in response to your breath. Soften your whole self here so you can move easily.
- Hang here for a few deep breaths and notice how you feel.
- Gradually roll yourself to the ground. Take your time. How you move in between the moves is just as important. Allow each moment to feel good and useful to you. Remember, this isn't about checking off a list of poses; it's about you taking time to connect to you.
- Sit comfortably and lean onto your thigh with your elbow or forearm. Allow yourself to make contact and really lean.
- Slide your elbow down gently toward your knee, making contact and leaning at a few points along the way.
- Hang out in any place that feels particularly good or interesting to you.
Energy flows not by us manipulating it but by making a good connection, freeing up blocks, and allowing it to flow. I learned that from my shiatsu teacher and friend Sam Berlind. He also reminds us that making a good connection with others begins with making a good connection with ourselves.
So that whole self-care thing—yes, that's essential for not only feeling good but doing good as well.
Tara Stiles is the founder of Strala Yoga, a revolutionary approach to healing through movement. She's also the author of Clean Mind, Clean Body. Thousands of guides are leading Strala classes around the globe in partner studios, gyms, and clubs. Strala has been illustrated in a case study by Harvard Business School, and its philosophy of ease and conservation of energy are incorporated by business leaders, entrepreneurs, and well-being professionals.
Stiles teamed up with W Hotels on Fit with Tara Stiles—a program bringing Strala Yoga classes and healthy recipes to W properties around the globe. She collaborated with Reebok, working closely with the design team on their yoga lifestyle range, as well as developed a line of knitwear and homeware with Wool and the Gang. Stiles has authored several books including Yoga Cures, Make Your Own Rules Cookbook, and Strala Yoga, all translated and published in several languages. She has been profiled by the New York Times, Times of India, The Times.
More from the author:
The Complete Guide To Yoga