Move. Breathe. Sit.

Start your day right with a gentle practice to wake up body and mind.

Illustrations by Elena Megalos

As the saying goes, when you win the morning, you win the day. Moving your body and focusing your mind just after you wake up can help you feel clear and energized for hours.

We’ve all experienced the feeling of stiffness when we get out of bed, like your joints and muscles clumped together overnight. Last year researchers at the University of Manchester, UK, discovered that inflammation in the joint cells of mice decreases during the dark of night but reactivates during waking daylight hours. Turns out, humans also experience a circadian rhythm in our joints, leading some to speculate that morning stiffness is actually the “reawakening” of the inflammatory response.

Moving your body, especially after hours of inactivity, helps to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and flush fluid that accumulates in the tissues and can make you feel heavy and sluggish.

Furthermore, mindfully tuning in to your body with gentle movement and focused breathing enhances awareness of your physical and emotional states. Sounds like a good way to start the day!

1. Single Knee to Chest

Start by gently stretching your low back and hips. With legs extended along the floor, inhale slowly and pull your right knee in to…

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About the author

Cara Bradley

Cara Bradley, a best-selling author of On The Verge: Wake Up, Show Up, and Shine, is a former pro skater for Rollerblade and the founder of Verge Body-Mind Center in Philadelphia. As a speaker and body-mind expert, Cara teaches executives and athletes how to live in flow using strategies integrating movement, breath, and mindfulness training to optimize wellbeing and performance. She works with organizations including Coca-Cola, World Bank Group, SAP and Goldman Sachs and college sports teams including the 2018 National Champion Villanova Men’s Basketball team. Cara hosts a weekly podcast on body-mind training and is a frequent contributor to Happify, Whil, Mindful,, and Thrive Global.