Energize your body & mind with morning yoga
Starting the day with a short movement or pranayama practice energizes the body and sets a positive tone for the rest of your morning.
The number oneeason to practice in the morning instead of later in the day is simple: we have more energy, clarity, and focus when we wake up. We’re better able to put our total effort and attention on our physical and mental wellbeing before the responsibilities and tasks of the day enter our psyche.
If you lack energy and don’t feel in the mood for a vigorous morning yoga practice, cultivating the habit of waking up and spending 10-20 minutes doing Hatha postures or pranayama (breathing) techniques will support a more sustainable practice of making it to your yoga mat every day—no matter what occurred the day before.
If you’re ready to MOVE and flow when you wake up:
Get your day started with a short and fiery practice.
Start the day with this short class that has a bit of everything so that you are prepared for whatever the day asks of you.
Expect sun salutes, core activation, hamstring & quadricep opening, twists, and ending with a guided meditation.
Five Benefits of a Morning Yoga Practice:
The release of positive endorphins such as serotonin and dopamine have the power to shift your mental and physical state. The power of the yoga practice is in alchemy; we have the ability to shift how we feel and perceive ourselves and the world around us. The feel-good endorphins released have a positive impact on our bodies and minds, so that we may navigate the day with a more upbeat and productive mindset.
Boosts blood and oxygen circulation through the body to improve the function of the organs. As we move and breathe through specific postures, no matter how quickly or slowly we shift from pose-to-pose, we provide our organs with an internal massage to enhance their function. The movement of fluids through the body, such as blood and lymph, cleanses the body of toxins to support immunity.
Yoga and pranayama shift the body’s energetic state. As we’ve mentioned through the release of hormones and circulation, you’ll feel refreshed and energized and less likely to reach for a second or third cup of coffee.
Regular exercise reduces and regulates the amount of adrenaline and cortisol released in the body. Adrenaline and cortisol are known as stress hormones and helped us evolve as humans. Without these hormones, we wouldn’t have the capacity to fight or flee if in danger. Exercise is one way we place positive stressors on the body.
Physical activity fatigues the body so that we might get better rest. When we release excess energy, we have a better chance of falling asleep and getting proper rest. Over-excitement, angst, and nervousness represent an abundance of energy that may be balanced with physical activities like yoga.
The Best Morning Yoga Poses and Pranayamas
Do these yoga poses and pranayamas (breathing techniques) in the morning to stimulate the corresponding organs and hormone release to energize your day.
Backbends stimulate the adrenals. The adrenal glands are associated with the body’s fight or flight response and produce hormones that regulate metabolism, blood pressure, and the immune system. Due to the arch of the spine when we perform backbends in yoga, this may increase the force around the adrenals and stimulate the release of additional adrenaline into the body’s system. Too much adrenaline keeps us feeling awake and alert.
Backbending is also very energizing due to the increased blood flow throughout the body, so if you do backbends in the evening, you want to be mindful of how close it is to bedtime. If you do backbends in the evening practice, add a longer cooldown to allow the body time to settle and ground.
The other reason to do backbends in the morning is to open the shoulders and chest. Especially for those who work at desks, drive, or rock children all day, opening the chest in the morning to stretch all the muscles across the front of the chest feels excellent.
Examples of backbends to boost the adrenals:
Twisting stimulates blood flow around the muscles of the abdomen. B.K.S. Iyengar referred to twists as the squeeze-and-soak action as the twist creates an intra-abdominal compression. When the twist is released, the digestive organs receive blood rich in oxygen and nutrients. Twisting to the left compresses the descending colon, which pushes everything in the direction to relieve digestive stress.
Twists enhance the mobility of the spine. As we age, the muscles surrounding the spine become stiff and sticky, which leads to a decreased range of motion and discomfort in the surrounding areas. Twisting creates length between each vertebra to lengthen the spine and space between the bones. While core exercises create strength and stability, twisting creates length and improves range of motion.
Examples of twists to stimulate the digestive system:
3. Kapalbhati Breathing
Kapalbhati is very stimulating and excitatory; it generates heat, enhances circulation and digestion, and improves liver and kidneys’ function. Kapalabhati translates from Sanskrit as Kapal, meaning the forehead, and Bhati, meaning light or knowledge. This pranayama brings lightness and clarity to the mind and frontal cortex of the brain.
This pranayama style involves sharp, active exhales through the nose to stimulate the clearing of the lungs by clearing the stagnant air that collects around the sides of the lung cavity. The sharp exhale pulls the stale air in toward the center of the lungs and pushes it out. Energetically, we’re drawing the air upwards to revitalize the mind and body. The inhale is passive, and as kapalabhati breath is performed, the abdomen repeatedly contracts on the exhale and releases on the inhale. This pranayama is best done on an empty stomach during the earlier part of the day as its excitatory and stimulates the digestive fire.
- Enhanced mental focus and clarity
- Clearing of the lungs and nasal passages
- Excitatory to stimulate blood flow and boost circulation
- Tones the abdomen and lower organs
- Sharpens senses and concentration
- Balances nervous system
- Stimulates the digestive fire and appetite
- Purifies the nadis (energy channels) of the body through prana (breath)
Do kapalabhati with Clara:
If you need a hot-minute to breathe and slowly receive the day:
Embrace body and breathe through simple postures.
Wake up and treat the energy body through various yoga pranayama, circular movements for the joints, and breathwork from Chien Lung.
The subtle body, also known as the energy body, lives below the skin where Prana flows. Prana is the life force, or energy according to Ayurveda, which we work with primarily through the breath.
Featured pranayamas in this class include Boa’s Breath, White Leopard, Brahmari, and Bastrika Breath to strengthen your body’s Prana.
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Short, Energizing, and Inspiring Sequences
The Morning Yoga Series treats you to <30-minute yoga classes
Explore the Class Levels on Practice with Clara
⭐️ Open Level: Classes for yogis of all and any level, from beginners and those who are new to the practice to those who’ve been practicing for 10+ years.
⚡️ Intermediate/Advanced: Classes for yogis who have a regular daily practice for at least 1.5 years and have a rudimentary understanding of the asanas and pranayamas.
🔥 Advanced: Classes for yogis who have a regular daily practice for at least 3+ years and are well-versed in the poses and pranayamas to follow along in a faster-paced class.
**These are guidelines. Explore the different levels and see what works for you. The biggest thing to remember is to listen to your body. With the advanced classes, I’m teaching those who know the names and shapes of the poses. I focus less on anatomical cues and more on subtle/energetic cues. **
⭐️ Open Level
Shakti Flow offers a dynamic and flowing vinyasa yoga sequence to energize the body through movement and breath.
A sequence for play, self-exploration, and honoring the creative process, join Clara and the students of Lila Vinyasa Yoga for a Shakti-themed vinyasa flow.
Try this vinyasa class on Practice with Clara, new members get 7-days FREE!
In Arise & Illuminate, greet the sun with several styles of Sun Salutations.
This vinyasa yoga class opens with a reading of John O’Donahue to ease you into the practice with a meditative prayer.
A smooth and straightforward sequence to start your day, you’ll connect to your rhythm of breath as you cycle through several variations of Sun Salutations. A seated spinal twist to wring out the spine, inner thigh, groin, and hamstring stretching from the floor and a passive inversion with legs up the wall in Viparita Karani (dead bug pose) complete the class.
Try this class on Practice with Clara, new members get 7-days FREE!
In this short and spicy vinyasa yoga class, Spice It Up, you’ll get your heart pumping and blood flowing to build heat and burn off any excess energy and tension.
This class opens with shaking!
Shaking is therapeutic in that it moves all the stuff we’re holding onto in our bodies. You may feel lighter and warmer.
Try this class on Practice with Clara, new members get 7-days FREE!