Two Minute Morning Yoga
No matter what time I go to bed, whether its dark and cold or bright and sunny, one of the things I am shocking bad at is hauling myself out of bed in the morning. And getting up isn’t even the worst of it, the real challenge for me is in resisting the urge to get back under the covers as the sleep clings to my body and brain, willing me back into my nest.
I’ve got two pieces of advice, one requires a lot of theory, so I’ll be as concise as I can, and the other is a quick practice you can do on getting up (or at any time of day you need it) that wakes up the body and mind with fresh blast of oxygen.
In yogic science we talk about Nadis which are described as energy pathways. If you overlay a map of Nadis with the Nervous System, they match up pretty well. Conventional science and Yoga both agree that the main of the nervous system is housed in the spine, connecting the brain via a network of radiating pathways to send and receive messages that make this amazing instrument we live in function.
In Yoga, the Nadis of the left and right sides are named as Ida-Left, Pingala-Right. As this is the concise version, we’ll also work with the yogic received wisdom that the left side is associated with the Moon and rest and the right side associated with the Sun and activity. So, when getting out of bed you can literally start the day on the right foot which sends a message to the brain that its time for action. Similarly, if you’re getting up for a trip to the bathroom in the night, step on the left foot first to keep the body in a restful state. I’m not making any wild promises here but it’s a useful bit of knowledge to have in the back of your mind.
Now you’ve made it upright, congratulations. Here’s for the activity part which can be done standing (preferably) or seated on the edge of the bed.
Bring the finger tips to the shoulders, and with a strong inhale send the elbows forwards and up, and exhale naturally as they circle back to their starting position. Try to make the inhale audible and as deep and strong as you can (build it up as you go to prevent hyperventilating!) Do 12 rounds of these and then 12 reversing the direction, inhaling as you send the elbows backwards and up before exhaling them back in a circle in front of you. If you’re standing, you can add a bend of the knees to help you get a bit of momentum behind the action as you warm up into the exercise.
An easy thing to add in is placing the fingers into Samana Mudra, where all 4 fingers tips join the tip of the thumb creating little beaks that are connected to your shoulders throughout.
In the yogic science of Mudras (gestures usually done with the hands) each of the 5 digits represent one of the 5 elements. Thumb = fire, first finger = air, long finger = space, third finger = earth and little finger = water (fun fact, in India poking your little finger out means you need a wee, handy to use to get over language barrier when communicating with long distance bus drivers).
In Samana Mudra all the 5 elements are brought together and contribute towards balance within the body. Whilst having a quick google of Samana Mudra, we happened upon an article wildly claiming that any ill in the body can be cured by creating the position with the hands and placing it on the part of the body that is affected. We had a little chuckle at the audacity of this claim and then I covertly tried it out on my painful lower back…low and behold I actually felt some relief! It’s more likely that it came from bringing my awareness more fully to the area that was causing me discomfort and actively trying to relax it over anything specifically to do with the mudra, but I’m always willing to take what works! Give it a try for yourself and see if you notice any changes.
Making resolutions in January is the easy part, but keeping them as the dark days roll on is bloody hard. So unless your resolution is to have 5 choclate biscuits for breakfast, go easy on yourself and try to keep your good intentions alive with small and simple achievable practices. Try adding this technique I’ve descrived above into your daily routine, maybe as soon as you rise from your bed or perhaps as you wait for the kettle boil so you can dunk those 5 choccy biccies! Don’t beat yourself up if you miss it, but try to notice the benefits when you do manage it and use that as your encouragement to keep going.
Happy New Year
Love from Your Wholehearted Yogis,
Lucy & Ollie