“Yoga is not a religion. It is a science. Science of well-being,
scienceof youthfulness, scienceof integrating body, mind andsoul.”
― Amit Ray, Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style
I couldn’t agree more. And people who are still sleeping on this form of mind-soul building activity, you are missing out. We are physical, mental and spiritual beings, and yoga helps develop all three aspects. It helps you feel rejuvenated and energized.
If you are looking for the perfect morning stretch you have come to the right place. And if you want a quick routine, you have also come to the right place. My morning stretch routine combines yoga and stretching to give you the ideal morning boost. But first…
Let’s Go Way Back
Yoga first began in the Indus-Saraswati Civilization of northern India over 5000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in an old sacred text called the Rig Veda. A few centuries later yoga masters decided to create their own version that rejuvenates and prolongs life. They rejected ancient teachings of the Vedas and started exploring it as a way to cleanse your mind and discover beyond the realms of physical existence. This was also the time when Tantric Yoga was created.
In the early 1800s and 1900s, yoga masters began traveling to enlighten the masses about the art of yoga. People were inspired by its universality and were quite taken by it. One of the main pioneers at that time was Swami Vivekananda. Once Indra Devi (a yoga teacher from Russia), opened a yoga studio in Hollywood in 1947, there was no turning back.
Yoga is still widely prevalent all over the world. Despite it originating in India, it wasn’t until the westerners called it a fad or relevant did it pick up in India again.
Benefits of Yoga
- Reduces all physical stress
- Activates self-healing
- Helps attain harmony and peace of mind
- Increases self awareness
- Detoxifies mind from negativity and body from toxins
A Little Back Story
These are just some of the benefits of yoga. What I am about to reveal to you today is my own personal yoga/stretch routine. It is something that I do, or at least try to do every morning. I do this just to stretch out my stiff body after the night’s sleep. I work a desk job, where I am constantly using a laptop and have to sit on my butt all day. So this helps keep that perennial back pain at bay.
I have been attending yoga classes since I was a child. Although not regularly or consistently, I have definitely been a part of yoga classes since the tender age of six. Do not think of me as an expert , as it is impossible to become one without regular practice, which happens to be one of it’s core principles. What I am about to reveal is my personal yoga/stretching routine that helps me unlock and stretch out every single part of my body from my neck to my toes.
Read till the end to get a bonus fool-proof back pain removing yoga technique:
MY PERFECT MORNING YOGA STRETCH ROUTINE
The Full Body Stretch
Rotate your neck 10 times to either side.
This is a move you must have in your arsenal, especially since we spend a majority part of our days locked in on technological devices.
Rotate your shoulders forwards and backwards 10 times.
This will help
Stretch your arms wide to either side and rotate them forwards and backwards 10 times.
This will help loosen any stubborn arm fat that is refusing to leave.
Stretch your arms forward, ball them into fists and rotate them to your left and right 10 times each.
This is especially beneficial for your fingers if you spend a lot of time typing / using the laptop.
Place your hands on your hips and rotate your hips towards the right 10 times and do the same towards your left.
This will help loosen any tension in your pelvic region.
Place your arms slightly raised on either side and turn to either side and look behind you 20 times.
*20 because that’s how each side will get 10 repetitions.
This will help ease any tension in your back. Make sure you do them quickly and not take too much time between each side.
Stretch your right arm above you, close to your ears, and bend sideways to the left. Then stretch your left arm above you, close to your ears, and bend sideways to the right. Repeat this 20 times.
*20 because that’s how each side will get 10 repetitions.
This will help really stretch out your sides and get your juices flowing. Make sure you do them quickly and not take too much time between each side.
Slight bend and gently place your hand on your knees. Then rotate your knees to each side 10 times. You will know you are doing it right when you feel your knee sockets.
This is especially beneficial for anyone with weak knees.
Hold your right calf with both hands close to the front of your body. Do the same with the left calf. Hold for 10 seconds each.
Hold your right calf with your left hand, close to the back of your body as much as possible. Move forward with your right arm stretching ahead. Do the same with the left calf. You should really feel the tension in your thighs for this one.
Raise your right leg slightly while standing and rotate your right foot to the right and then to the left 10 times each. Repeat the same for your left foot.
This will help improve circulation to your feet instantly.
The Yoga Routine
No good morning yoga routine can exist without a good Suryanamaskar. It is one of the best ways to activate, energize and stretch your body. There are many variations, but the one I do is the simplest one of them all.
Step 1: Start with your arms raised over your head, with both palms touching each other in the ‘namaste pose’.
Step 2: Keep your legs straight and bend forward till your fingers touch the floor.
Step 3: Get into the first position of a running race i.e. get on your knee, with your left lying on the ground, your palms completely on the floor and your head looking straight.
Step 4: Then slowly come into downward facing dog pose. Ensure your feet are firmly planted on the ground. If you can’t keep your full foot on the ground and they keep getting raised, slowly walk forward and till you reach a comfortable position where you can keep your full foot on the ground.
Step 5: Come into cobra pose, with your upper body looking straight raised up and your lower body lying flat on the ground.
Step 6: Come back into downward facing dog pose.
Step 7: Come back into runner’s pose on your right knee, looking straight ahead.
Step 8: Get on your feet once again, bend forward with your fingers touching the floor.
Step 9: Stand straight with your arms raised above your head in ‘namaste’ pose.
Step 10: Repeat steps 1-9 again, with one difference both runner’s poses should be on your left knee.
I do this once daily, or twice if I have the time. Doing this alone for 10 -20 minutes is a great stretch and cardiovascular exercise.
Leg Over Head ( I don’t know the official Yoga Term for this one)
Step 1: Lie flat on the ground.
Step 2: Place your hands on the small of your back and give a firm yet gentle push your lower body up.
Step 3: Keep your legs straight in the raised position. (Hold for 20 seconds)
Step 4: Using your hands to balance your raised body start pushing your legs to where your head is.
Step 5: Stop when your toes touch the ground. (Hold for 20 seconds)
Step 6: Raise your legs back up.
Step 7: Gently bring then down.
This stretches out your lower back and helps improve your flexibility.
I especially love this one because I couldn’t do it till I started yoga classes again this year. I couldn’t do it for maybe 10 classes, but after the 10th one I was killing it. So don’t worry if you don’t get it right away. Keep practicing and you will be able to do it too.
Step 1: Lie flat on the ground.
Step 2: Raise your knees up with your feet on the ground.
Step 3: Place your pals on either side of your face.
Step 4: Use your wrists to raise your body up , so that your back is in an upside down ‘U’ shape.
Step 5: Hold for 10 seconds.
Step 6: Gently bring your back flat on the ground and straighten out your legs.
You can repeat this as many times as you want, and it is also great for burning
Downward Facing Dog Leg Lift
Step 1: Get into downward facing dog position.
Step 2: Raise your right leg up while keeping your arms and left foot on the ground and using them as support.
Step 3: Hold for 10 seconds.
Step 4: Repeat by raising left leg.
This is one of the best ways to activate your glutes a.k.a. your butt muscles. If you are feeling really active you can even add some rotations to your raised leg time.
Cobra Bend ( is what I am assuming it is called)
Step 1: Get into cobra position from Suryanamaskar.
Step 2: Lower your upper body and raise your knees.
Step 3: Hold your feet and press them to your back or as much as you can go.
Step 4: Hold for 10 second.
This will help give your lower back a good stretch. This may not be easy at first, but you will really feel a difference once you do it right.
That’s it. You have reached the end of my 20 minute Yoga Routine. I hope you liked it. This is one of my favourite ways to start my day. I hope it helps you feel energized and ready to take on the day too.
Here’s an additional tip for instantly reducing back pain:
Lie flat on your back and hold your knees close to your chest by holding it with both your arms. Rock back and forth five times.
What was your favourite move? If you have any additions for my routine please mention them in the comments below.