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Does it ever seem like your day isn’t actually your own? You hit the snooze button, scan your emails with toothbrush in hand, juggle meeting after meeting, become further buried beneath work, and tell yourself you’ll sneak in a yoga practice later when you have time…and then reality happens and you can’t slip away to the studio for class. You sigh and tell yourself you’ll try to make time again in the morning. Tomorrow will be different, you think.

But then it’s not.

It can be easy to lose yourself in all the things that demand your attention each moment. Yet when another day starts its inexorable slide without you taking time for yourself, it’s easy to feel increasingly deflated, frustrated, and unlike yourself.

The importance of a morning routine

We’ve all heard that morning routines can help you be more productive and even optimize brain function. Yet there’s another compelling reason to take a little time for yourself. Kendra Adachi, the founder of The Lazy Genius brand, recently explained in a podcast on morning routines that making certain you find even a little time in the morning to do something fulfilling “helps you feel like yourself so you’re not frantically searching for yourself throughout the day.” Morning routines help you “begin the day carrying that truth rather than searching for it as we get busier and more tired,” explains Adachi. It’s not about having unlimited time. It’s about prioritizing whatever unique thing it is that you need to get to through the day.

For many of us, even a simple yoga practice that’s shorter than we’d like can be exactly thing we need that reminds us of who we are. Your unique yoga practice will be as individual as you are, but you can take inspiration from this quick strengthening sequence that includes some challenging arm balances and backbends to help you set the mood for your day, rather than letting what happens dictate how you feel.

A 10-minute yoga sequence to jump-start your day

A person demonstrates Cat Pose (Marjaryasana) in yoga
(Photo: Andrew Clark; Clothing: Calia)

CatCow Pose

Come onto your hands and knees and stack your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. As you exhale, press down through your palms, round your back, and tuck your chin in Cat.

Woman in Cow Pose
(Photo: Andrew Clark; Clothing: Calia)

As you inhale, slowly arch your back and lift your chest into Cow. Begin to move your spine in a rhythmic motion, moving with your breath for as long as you need.

(Photo: Photo: Andrew Clark; Clothing: Calia)

Table Top to Superman

From all fours, lift your belly in toward your spine. Pause here. When you’re ready, extend your right leg straight behind you and reach your left arm alongside your ear. Bend your right leg and reach behind with your left hand to grab your foot. Press your foot away from you as you lift your chest and come into a slight backbend. Breathe here. Slowly lower to the mat and repeat on the other side.

Man performing a Downward-Facing Dog modification with bent knees
(Photo: Andrew Clark)

Downward-Facing Dog Pose to Knee-to-Nose

From Tabletop, inhale as you tuck your toes under and lift your hips up and back. Pause here and breathe. Downward-Facing Dog Pose, inhale as you lift your right leg up high behind you, and then exhale as you  round your spine as you draw knee to chest. Keep your pelvis low and round your upper spine toward the sky. Hug your right thigh to your chest and knee to your nose. Keep pressing the floor with your hands. Return to Downward Dog and then repeat with the left leg.

 

A person demonstrates Side Plank in yoga
(Photo: Andrew Clark; Clothing: Calia)

Side Plank Pose

From Down Dog, shift your weight slightly forward so your shoulders are almost stacked above your wrists. Roll your heels to the right. Shift your weight into your right hand and the outer edge of your right foot. Turn your gaze down as you stack your left foot on top of your right (or you can keep the inner edge of your left foot on the mat). Fire up your thigh muscles and press your feet and right hand down as you lift your hips. Bring your right hand to your hip or extend it toward the ceiling. If you feel steady, slowly turn your gaze up to the ceiling. Breathe. Either return to Downward-Facing Dog or proceed to Wild Thing.

Photo: Andrew Clark; Clothing: Calia

Wild Thing

From Side Plank, slowly step your right foot behind you. Keep your left foot grounded onto the mat and your left leg straight. Lift your hips and chest toward the ceiling and reach your right arm alongside your ear. Press down through every part of you that touches the mat to lift the rest of your body into a slight backbend. Let your head gently hand. Breathe. Return to Downward Dog. If you need, take Child’s Pose for several breaths before returning to Down Dog. Repeat Side Plank and Wild Thing on the other side.