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…

Subscribe for unlimited access to

  • NEW! Unlimited access to our premium Mindful Meditations
  • Full access to every story on
  • Print magazine and mobile app
  • Complete PDF library of Mindful magazine

Already a digital subscriber?
Log in to access this article


Get practices, tips, and special offers delivered straight to your inbox

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
About the author

Cara Bradley

Cara Bradley is a leading authority on mental fitness having led thousands through her signature strategies of how to work and play in flow. She shares her 30+ years of body-brain training with Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, and premiere college sports teams. Cara’s expertise includes science-backed tools to enhance coherence and awareness through mind training and priming the nervous system and gut-brain connection. She is the author of On The Verge: Wake Up, Show Up, and Shine, founder of the award-winning Verge Yoga Center, and host of the On The Verge mental fitness podcast.