We are thrilled to welcome our first guest blogger, Cheryl of Cheryl Yoga. Visit Cheryl's website for her pick of the latest yoga and health news, views, tips and details of upcoming classes and workshops.
Yoga is a great way to start your day off right. A little gentle movement can awaken your entire system and leave you with a fresh and lasting energy. Yoga poses are a great physical exercise for your body but they provide so much more. These 5 poses will warm up and awaken a different part of the body giving you an all round energising effect and leave you feeling more connected with yourself and ready to take on the day's challenges.
After a night of sleep this is a great pose to warm up the spine. The rolling action gently massages the spine creating small movements between each vertebrae and stretches the front and back of the torso and the neck.
Come to all fours placing your hands under your shoulders and spread your fingers wide. Set your knees under your hips, so thighs are vertical to the floor. Inhale and simultaneously allow your belly to sink towards the floor, press your chest forwards and lift the sit bones upwards. Lift your head so your chin is level with the floor and take your shoulders back away from your ears. Exhale and round your spine towards the ceiling, draw the tailbone in towards the pubic bone, release the head to look inwards. Carry out a few rounds like this synchronising the movement with your breath.
2. Parsva Balasana
This pose is great for stretching the sides of the torso, the shoulders and arms and will leave you feeling calm and refreshed.
Come to kneeling with big toes touching and knees in line with your hip joints. Exhale and fold your torso over your thighs, reaching your hands forward. Press your hand evenly down into the floor and roll your shoulders back away from your ears. Rotate and firm the upper arms outwards. Inhale and walk your hands towards the right, taking your torso over your right thigh. Reach forwards with your arms fully stretched as you press both sit bones evenly towards your heels. Breathe into the stretch along the left side of your body. Walk hands back to centre and repeat on the other side.
3. Ardha Matysyendrasana
Twisting poses energize the spine and can relieve lower backache. They also open the shoulders, chest and lungs allowing you to take in more oxygen to the body. The twisting action gives a gentle squeeze to the abdominal organs providing an internal massage which can improve digestion and help rid the body of toxins as a fresh blood supply is flushed into the area following release of the twist.
Sit on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Slide your left foot under your right leg to the outside of your right hip and rest your leg on the floor. Step your right foot over your left leg and press the sole of your foot into the floor. Inhale and lengthen your spine upwards as you press your sit bones into the floor. Exhale and twist towards the right bringing your left elbow to the outside of your right knee and the right fingertips a few inches behind your buttocks. On each inhalation continue to lengthen your spine upwards and on each exhalation twist a little further towards the right. Release the pose gently to come back to centre and repeat on the other side.