Help yourself find a little moment of calm in the mornings with these 7 morning stretches to give you a full body wake up call and get yourself geared for your 9am lecture.
We know that our morning sets us up for the day and sometimes getting out of bed can be the one of the hardest tasks we face. Our morning routines are often a rushed dash to get some coffee, grab some food and be on the go, leaving us feeling scattered and chaotic. Help yourself find a little moment of calm in the mornings with these pyjama safe stretches to give you a full body wake up call and get yourself geared for uni, switching your brain online faster than a coffee can.
Stretching in the morning helps to flood the body with happy hormones and removes any tension and stagnancy that has set in overnight. It makes us more resilient to the stresses of our day helping you stay calm under the pressure of student life – these shapes will have you feeling energised and ready to meet your day.
#1 Chest Opener
Stand with your feet hips width distance apart, reach your arms up over your head growing as tall as you can, then take the hands together behind your back, binding the hands or holding opposite elbow or wrist if taking the hands isn’t accessible. Once you have your bind, draw your hands down towards your heels, allow your back to bend gently and puff your chest up to the sky breathing space across your lungs and shoulders to expand your vitality. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
#2 Side Body Stretch
Standing with your feet still hips distance apart, reach the arms up over your head feeling your side waist lengthen, take one hand onto your hip and arch your body over, bending towards the side with your hand on your hip. Breath into the side of the body that is opening feeling the space between your ribs expand. This massages your adrenal glands that help balance the body stress levels as well as the kidneys that filter out the internal fluids. Hold for 3-5 breaths then swap sides.
With your feet now wider than hips width distance, take a soft bend to your knees and remaining standing bow over your legs so your spine begins to lengthen towards the floor. Make sure your knees are bent enough that your belly and your thighs almost touch. Take hold of opposite elbows and make sure the back of your head is relaxed, you could give your head a little shake side to side to help release any tension stored there or sway your body from side to side to help the compression of the lower back begin to unravel and the brain flush with fresh fluids. To feel more stable you can rest the hands on the floor for support if you need. Hold this shape for 5-20 breaths.
Take a lunge with one leg forward, your knee stacked over your front anklet to keep the joints safe, you can pad the back knee where it rests on the ground. Hands can be either side of your front foot for support or reaching up in space for more extension. Feel the front of your hip that is opposite to the foot you have forward starting to stretch and release the muscular tightness that builds from sitting so much and hinging at the hip. To help release the hips further in this shape you can try gently activating the opposite glute (bum cheek) to the leg you have forward. Tip – if you feel wobbly here try walking your front foot away from the midline of your body. Take 5-20 breaths on each side.
Laying down on your back curl your knees up into your chest letting your lower back lengthen on the floor. Keep your knees close up towards your chest and let them drop over towards the floor on one side of your body creating a twist through the entire spinal column – the highway of communication in the body – and massaging all of your inner organs helping to activate the digestive system and clear any stagnancy or dullness to get you going for the day. Try to keep your shoulders on the ground behind you and to increase the spiral you can turn your head to look the opposite way of your legs. Hold for 1-3 minutes on each side.
#6 Bridge Pose
Laying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor about hips width distance apart, knees staking over ankles. Make sure to keep your gaze straight up at the ceiling and not turn your head from side to side once you’re in the pose to keep the neck protected. To come into the posture press into your feet, lift the hips and spine up off of the floor, keeping your tailbone long towards your feet. You can shuffle your shoulders underneath the body to open more space across your chest and lungs and get more energy flowing through the respiratory system. This is like a coffee for your nervous system helping you to feel awake and vital. To come down, lower the spine then the hips and hug your knees into your chest to release your lower back.
Hold up to 5 minutes.
#7 Locus shape
Laying on your belly, reach your hands back towards your toes with your forehead or chin resting on the floor. Take a long breath out and feel your belly tone and your pubic pone press into the floor gently. Then contracting all of your back muscles lift your arms up as far from the floor as you can, then lift your chest up as high as you can, then lift your legs up (so you look a little like superman flying through space). Make sure you breathe here and feel the strengthening of all of your back muscles so they don’t get achy while you’re sitting in lectures. Try 3 rounds of these for 3-10 breaths each.
Now that you have had a taste of how good it feels to be stretched up and energised for the day set your alarm 10 minutes earlier for tomorrow so you can start to build a morning routine that helps you to walk into your day feeling refreshed, focused and vital – make sure you wake up your housemates and the whole gang stretching with you!