When you win the morning, you win the day. But there are days when my body isn’t quite ready to wake up when I am. And if I want to meditate in the morning, and my body’s not awake, my practice won’t be as invigorating as it could be—Which is why I start every morning with mindful movement. It promotes healing, increases energy, enhances awareness, and sets you up to thrive. With that in mind, I developed a simple 5-minute mindful movement practice that you can do as soon as you wake up to focus your mind and energize your body before you sit to practice meditation or start your day.
As with all of my mindful movement exercises, this morning routine has three elements: Move. Breathe. Sit.
Wake Up: a 5-Minute Mindful Movement Practice
As soon as you open your eyes in the morning, tune into your body and breath. Allow yourself to pause in that delightful transition between dreaming and waking. Feel your body rise and fall with each breath. Note how your breath feels. Is it in your chest? Your lower abdomen?
1) Rise: Gently roll over to one side and rise slowly, pausing in each transition to notice your breath and feel your body.
2) Attend to your needs: Then, go do what you need to do: bathroom, wash face, brush teeth… and return to your bedside.
3) Single Knee to Chest: This movement warms up the lower back and hips. We’ll start on the floor. Lie down next to your bed, on your back with your legs straight, arms straight, palms on the ground, and head facing the ceiling. As you inhale slowly, bring your right knee up towards your chest, grab your knee with both hands and pull it in to your chest. As you exhale switch legs and then exhale and bring the left leg towards your chest and repeat. Repeat for 3-5 breaths.
This movement warms up the spine helps to relieve any tension accumulated in the spine during sleep.
4) Dynamic Bridge: This movement warms up the spine helps to relieve any tension accumulated in the spine during sleep. Place your arms flat on the ground by your sides a few inches away from your body, with your palms facing down. Place both feet to the floor under your bent knees. Make sure your back is flat and your body feels centered and balanced. Then, as you inhale lift your hips up towards the ceiling, creating a straight line from your knees, down your thighs, to your chest. Exhale and lower your hips back to the ground so that the small of your back and your hips tough the ground together. Repeat 3-5 times.
5) Cat/ Cow: This movement continues to warm up the spine. Slowly bring your knees to your chest and gently roll over to your side and then move on to all fours: Place your hands on the ground beneath your shoulders and your knees on the ground beneath your hips, keep your back straight and your head forward. As you inhale gently drop your belly towards the floor, lift your chest and look forward arching your spine slightly. As you exhale bring your face towards your navel while doming your upper spine, rounding the top of your back. Repeat for 3-5 breaths.
6) Dynamic Mountain: This movement gets the blood flowing while warming up your upper body. Bring your self to a standing position and stand with your feet hip-width apart, back straight shoulders back, and face forward, hands facing palms in by your sides. As you inhale bring your arms forward and up towards the ceiling. As you exhale, turn your palms out, and bring your arms back down to your sides. Repeat for 3-5 breaths.
This movement invigorates your entire body.
7) Side Sways: This movement invigorates your entire body. As you inhale reach your arms up as you did with the last movement. This time as you exhale turn your right palm outwards, bend towards the right, bringing your right hand down to your side, and arching your left hand over your head. Inhale rise back up to the center. Exhale repeat on the left side. Repeat for 3-5 breaths.
8) Mindful Mountain: This movement allows you to tune into your body. Bring your hands to your sides, and stand tall, yet relaxed. Take a moment to pause in mountain pose. Notice the physical sensations in your body: your heart beating, coolness or heat rising, tingling or prickling in your feet or hands, soreness or achiness? Observe these sensations without judging them.
9) Seated Mindfulness Meditation: Sit on a chair in your bedroom or on the side of your bed with your feet on the ground. Rest your hands on your thighs. Place your attention on the sensation of breathing and count to five as you inhale and five as you exhale. After a few minutes relax from counting your breath and pause in stillness for a few more minutes, allowing your natural breath to return—Simply experience being aware of your breath and your body.
I hope this mindful movement helps you ease into your day with more clarity and vitality.