5 yoga poses to invigorate your morning

Start every day with a simple, quick yoga routine and you’ll reap the benefits mentally and physically.

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A little bit of yoga goes a long way. Even if you don’t have time to do a full workout, completing a few poses daily will strengthen your body, lower stress levels and help you stay focused.

Whether you’re a complete beginner or a fully-fledged yogi, these five simple stretches are perfect for morning exercise and a great way to kick-start your day. Namasté!

1. Downward dog (adho mukha svanasana)

If you only do one yoga pose each morning, make it downward dog. It stretches the whole body, builds strength and energises. Regular practice can also improve digestion, help prevent osteoporosis and even ease PMS or menopause symptoms.

How to do it:

  • Start on all fours with a neutral, natural spine.
  • Tuck your toes under, raise your hips, bring your ears in between your outstretched arms and look backwards at your thighs – the aim is to create an upside down ‘V’ with your body.
  • Keep your arms strong, spine straight and hips reaching towards the sky.
  • Pedal your heels up and down to stretch out your calves and hamstrings.
  • Take three long deep breaths and return to all fours.

2. Garland pose (malasana)

According to research from Always Discreet, one in three women experiences a sensitive bladder at some point in their lives. The main culprit is weak pelvic-floor muscles, and yoga is a great way to build up their strength. The garland pose lengthens the pelvic floor, helping it to contract more effectively.

How to do it:

  • Lower yourself into a deep squat, letting your knees fall out to the sides while your heels stay closer together and flat on the floor, if possible.
  • Spread your thighs wide, and lean your torso forward.
  • Place your elbows on the inside of each knee and bring your palms together in front of your chest.
  • Lift your spine, lengthen your head towards the sky and support your core.
  • Breathe deeply and hold for one minute.

If you’re worried about doing this pose during your period, then Tampax is here for you. Or if your concerns are due to a weak bladder, try wearing an Always Discreet liner, pad or underwear. The underwear comes with double LeakGuards™ for added protection, while the pads and liners have a thin, flexible design for light to moderate protection.

In fact, Always Discreet Incontinence Pads are so good, they’ve earned a ‘Good Housekeeping Reader Recommended UK 2019’ award! So there’s no need to let incontinence hold you back from your yoga routine.

3. Mountain pose (tadasana)

Mountain pose improves your posture, strengthens your legs and is great for practising your breathing.

How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, lift up your toes, spread them out, then place them back on the floor to ‘ground’ you.
  • Squeeze your thigh muscles slightly, tuck your tailbone under but don’t lock your knees.
  • Lift up your head and lengthen your waist, drop your shoulders and, keeping your arms by your sides, stretch your fingertips towards the floor.
  • Inhale and lift your arms upwards towards the sky, keeping them straight either side of your ears.
  • Hold for four breaths.

4. Extended triangle pose (utthita trikonasana)

This stretch will release the muscles in your lower back, open your hips, strengthen your core and increase stability. It also stimulates the organs in your abdomen, which boosts metabolism – great if you have a sluggish digestion.

How to do it:

  • Start with your feet hip-distance apart, then step them wide.
  • Check your heels are aligned and pivot your right foot out 90 degrees so your toes are pointing to the side, then turn your left foot inwards slightly.
  • Raise your arms parallel to the floor to shoulder height, palms facing down.
  • On an exhale, fold at your right hip, reaching your right arm down towards your right foot, resting your hand on your shin or ankle.
  • At the same time, stretch your left arm up to the sky, palm facing forwards, and align your left shoulder directly above your right.
  • Gently turn your head to look up to the left, breathe and hold for one minute.
  • Reverse the pose to repeat on the other side.

5. Standing forward fold (uttanasana)

This simple pose is great for stretching out your back and legs at any time of day (especially if you’ve been sitting down for a long period of time).

How to do it:

  • Stand up straight with your heels slightly apart.
  • Feel the strength in your legs and slowly swan dive forward, hinging from the waist (if you can’t touch your toes, don’t worry, you can bend your knees slightly).
  • Let your fingertips brush the floor, hold it, and then slowly ‘roll up’ one vertebra at a time, lifting your head and neck last.

What’s your favourite way to wake up in the morning?
Let us know in the comments section below.