The weather is turning and mornings are getting a little brisk. Sometimes it can be a real struggle to get up and get moving! Instead of cranking up the heater or throwing on a couple of layers, waiting for homeostasis to do its thing, try stretching. By moving your body, you'll demand increased blood flow, which will warm the body. Try holding each stretch or pose for 15 seconds, or longer if you feel like it. Not only will you feel warmer, but it will help boost your metabolism, give you energy and set the pace for the day!
1. Chair Pose: This position is a yoga basic. It's great for strengthening and stretching the back while warming up the legs, energizing the entire body. You can modify it by putting your hands on your thighs, keeping the weight in your heels. Get more details here.
2. Cat to Cow: Moo. Meow. Going back and forth between these two poses, whether on all fours or seated, you'll draw breath into your body to jumpstart your systems. Pull the shoulders down and push the chest forward, then retract it, rounding out the spine. Let the shoulder blades pull away from each other. Do this a few times, breathing deeply. See it here.
3. Seated Twist Pose: While you're sitting, go ahead and set one hand behind you and place the other hand on the knee. Make sure your hip bones stay planted on the floor as you twist the spine. With each exhale, get a little deeper into the rotation, then switch. Check it out here.
4. Samson Stretch: Begin this one by standing, then step forward in a lunge as you reach the arms overhead. Let the back knee hover above the ground to fire up the muscles. If that's too much, you can always set it down or place your hands on your front knee. Step it forward and back a few times on each side at an easy pace. See more about it here.
5. Deep Squat to Standing: Activate the legs and back while sending more blood force through the superior vena cava to the head with this dynamic stretch. You'll keep your feet wide as you reach toward the floor, letting your head hang. Bend your knees and grab your toes as you draw the hips to the ground. Look up to the ceiling for a full stretch, then release to the forward bend again. Keep going for three to five reps. See more on the move here.
6. Flying Tabletop: It might not be a stretch, per se, but it puts your into a position that fires several muscle groups. The core, the back, your quads and shoulders. Try to keep a flat back (naval pulled into the spine) and align your thighs and your arms so they are parallel to each other. Steady your breathing as you hold this position, allowing it to warm up your body for a full day of energy! See it here.