Struggling to get out of bed now that the mornings are that bit colder and darker? You’re not alone.
While it may feel impossible to find time to do the bear essentials – have a shower, brush your teeth and remember your packed lunch (if you’re that organised) – taking just a few minutes each morning to move properly can help to wake up your central nervous system and give you an energising boost to start the day.
“It’s important to get moving first thing in the morning,” she says. “Movement feeds the spine and connective tissue with blood and nutrients.”
Below, she demonstrates two easy sequences to kickstart your day.
In the first video (at the top), Nahid takes us through cat-cow, a popular yoga sequence which takes your spine into flexion (cat – a forward fold) and extension (cow – a back bend), side bending and rotation.
1. Begin on all fours, making sure your hands are properly spread on the ground and that you’re sending the floor away through your hands, the front of your feet and shins.
2. From there, slowly begin to curl the pubic bone in towards the ribs, which domes the back up towards the sky. The pelvis moves first, followed by the rest of the spine, followed by the head to look in between the thighs.
3. Start to reverse the movement as you open up the pelvis, focusing on lengthening forwards from the breastbone, allowing your shoulder blades to slide back.
4. Next, come down onto your forearms, take your right arm forwards and imagine you’re sweeping the floor all the way over to the left, opening up those muscles in between the ribs.
5. From all fours again, take the left arm out, bend through the right arm, taking it into rotation. Push the floor away to come out of it and reach back up to the left.
6. Repeat the last two movements on the other side.
2. Downward dog with a twist
If you’re feeling a little more active, here’s a second short practice to squeeze into your morning, which involves the downward dog pose, with an added twisting movement in the knees.
“This sequence will juice up your joints and feed your spine with fresh oxygenated blood, giving you energy for the day,” Nahid says.
1. Begin on all fours with your toes tucked under. Press into the toes, reverse parking your pelvis into your sit bones. Then use your fingertips to drag yourself all the way back up again.
2. Next, travel back into downward dog, remember to keep your focus on maintaining the natural curves in your spine here, which might mean you have to bend your knees a bit.
3. From a bent knee downward dog, letting your head hang heavy, come up high onto the balls of your feet and turn your toes towards the right and bend your knees. Then turn your toes towards the left and bend your knees again. Do this a few times to unravel tight muscles around the spine and nourish the discs with fresh blood and nutrients.
4. If you want an extra challenge turn your toes towards the right again, bring your left knee down, walk your right foot forward, look over your front left shoulder, bringing it on top of your wrist, then pull your weight downwards to start turning the breastbone all the way around to the right. Take the right arm up to the sky and reach over your ear to open up again through the ribs. Take a deep breath in and out.
5. Now inhale to come back into downward dog and repeat on the other side.
Give one of these morning yoga sequences a go the next time you feel like you need an extra boost for the day ahead – it’ll leave you feeling uber zen, if a little smug. Namaste.
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