Top 7 Benefits Of Morning Yoga Explained
Good heavens, do we need another post on the health benefits of yoga? Apparently so, because some people are still under the impression that yoga is simply a glorified form of stretching and nothing more. Now, I’ll agree that there are those who are taking advantage of “yoga life” trends and who make this sacred practice look like an expensive placebo. But the truth will outlast all the fakers and flossers AND haters -- so with that in mind, here are 7 health benefits of morning yoga.
I’ve found yoga (and tai chi, for that matter) to be one of the best things to do right after bed. When you’re talking about starting your day off well, you just can’t beat those two methods. Now look, I understand the pressures of the morning -- I truly do -- but all you need is a few precious minutes. And they are indeed precious, but hear this now: it is often worth it to sacrifice 5-10 minutes in the morning, for the next 5-10 hours of your day.
Call it a fad, call it stretching, call it a sham, a swindle, a load of hogwash. I feel the impact yoga has had on humanity is undeniable and indisputable. A fad? A trend? Maybe. But if so, it has been “trending” for about five thousand years, man. And yeah, maybe there is something placebo-esque about it, but this Eastern placebo produces real Western results.
How Yoga Helps The Body And Mind
Let’s grant that proposition for a second, and say all yoga is stretching. Do you remember what stretching really feels like? Do you remember that pleasure and energy that courses through your physical being and your mind when you get a good, long, hearty stretch in? Whether after a workout or after a night’s sleep, stretching can help you out in a lot of ways. Why, then, would so many people be hating on this practice? Personally, I have no idea.
When executed consistently and properly, yoga has the potential to make your body more flexible, stronger, more agile, and better on basically every conceivable level. The systems of the body -- nervous, circulatory, digestive, hormonal, and the rest of them -- can benefit from this ancient method. Is it a cure for anything? No, not outright. But it is certainly a staple of healthy living for those who choose to engage in it and depending on your gene pool, it can be highly instrumental in the prevention of various conditions.
The mind-body connection is a fierce one, and when these two facets of our being are able to work together, you may feel that you are happier, healthier, and more focused because of it. Plainly put: yoga helps the mind and body by turning certain signals on and fading others out. It helps to maintain the physical body and the complex mind or spirit that dwells within it. It’s a tall order to fill, but the yogis throughout time have demonstrated this time and again.
Top 7 Health Benefits Of Morning Yoga
Morning time holds many secrets to leading a successful life. Humans are daytime creatures by nature, and investing the time in your wellbeing during the morning (be it through yoga or something else) goes can help to set up not only your next 5-10 hours but your entire life. And no, this isn’t an exaggerated claim, not by any means.
Yoga in the evening can also yield many positive results, and there is no denying that pre-bedtime yoga can be a life-changing habit, particularly when it comes to high-quality deep sleep. That said, the morning has something which the night does not -- a rebirth of some kind. By the time evening comes, you’ve presumably been through a lot, both mentally and physically. But in the morning, when you’re just waking up, it’s like a kind of genesis. 7 traditional benefits of morning yoga are:
1. Weight Loss
Although you could apply this benefit to yoga at large, doing it in the morning may do wonders for your metabolism and digestive system. Can you achieve weight loss through morning yoga? Well, it’s not a standalone weight-loss method, but it can certainly help. It’s all about consistency and its domino effect. One good habit can easily lead to another, and yoga helps to set an example for the rest of the hitherto-acquired habits which may seem beyond your reach or capacity.
2. Reduced Stress
Mornings can be stressful, as we already know. Waking up a tad earlier and doing 5-10 minutes of yoga can help set the tone for the rest of the day. The stress hormone cortisol was found to be most abundant in the morning, and it’s part of that “up and at ‘em” feeling that the body gets so we can start our day. But the need to get up and DO can also lead to negative stress, and that is precisely what morning yoga can help reduce.
3. Increased Positive Energy
Starting your day with yoga can help you feel more alive, plain and simple. Certain poses, in particular, have the ability to activate our brain and other organs and increase the flow of good energy into our being. Likewise, it physically stimulates the circulatory system and helps get the blood pumping through our waking body. Do you know how people talk about “being pumped”? That’s what morning yoga seeks to facilitate, among other things.
I mentioned earlier that the formation of one good habit can lead to the adoption of another. In other words, yoga in the AM can be the cornerstone of your newer and ever-improving self. By being persistent and disciplining your body and mind -- first thing in the morning, no less! -- you may learn to discipline yourself in other areas of life. The value of consistency, tenacity, and self-discipline cannot be overstated, and you find that morning yoga is the path to many other abilities.
Some say happiness is a goal in and of itself. Some say it is but a means to an end. Regardless of where you stand on that issue, one thing is crystal clear: joy is a wonderful motivator, and you can often perform better at any given task when you are a happy individual. Practicing yoga in the morning can help to boost your mood and let you slip into a more joyful and welcoming mindset, thanks to the “happy hormones” that are released during physical activity.
Moving your body in the morning helps it become more alert during the day. While this “body motion” doesn’t have to take the shape of yoga, the different poses and breathing exercises can help your mind and body wake up in a fuller sense. This way, you may find you don’t get a kind of ‘afternoon low’, and are able to carry on with your day. This state of alertness increases productivity and creativity and allows you to take better advantage of your day.
Our head is crammed with so much stuff. Neurons constantly firing, smartphones ringing and dinging, and sights, sounds, and scents are always around us. Sometimes it can be difficult to find some quality “me time”, and this is certainly true in the morning. By practicing yoga right after bed, you condition yourself to become more clear-headed and less overloaded throughout the day. It can offer a more serene start to your day, and to top it all off, it often becomes easier to navigate the daily grind of work, family, chores, errands, etc.
There are so many other benefits to discuss, but these are the ones you can begin to notice even after a short period of time. Obviously, your yoga mileage may vary.
Quick Early Morning Yoga Routine
The ideal would be to designate a quiet room in your home, where you can practice yoga and meditate in peace. An hour-long session in the morning sounds wonderful, but honestly, most of us haven’t the time. We require a quick and easy set that we can follow and complete in 5-10 minutes. An hour-long session? A quiet room? Meditate in peace? Ha.
Incidentally, if you ever find yourself in a position to pull that off regularly, do it. Waking up early and welcoming the dawn with yoga and meditation can do so much for you. Truly, it’s like discovering a whole other way of living. Until we get there, though, here’s a quick early-morning yoga routine.
The English name of this routine is Sun Salutations, and it is a very popular one. Many yoga practices incorporate this series of poses as an intro to a larger routine, because of its ability to create positive flow and effective breathing. It’s a sequence, which can be difficult to learn at first, but once you get into the swing of it, you’ll be saluting the sun like a boss. True to its name, it is often practiced with the coming of the sun, and it can also serve as a standalone set of 8 or 9 poses.
You can do it slow or fast, once or repeatedly, all depending on your wants and needs. The classic pose progression is:
- Upward hand
- Forward bend
- Half-standing forward bend
- Four-limbed staff
- Upward-facing dog
- Downward-facing dog
There are plenty of videos and guides online and offline which can show you the best way to get it done. You can choose to do only part of these poses, or do them all. You can perform them slowly, or do them several times in quick succession. It’s your call, but listen to your body and work on maintaining proper breathing. Your breath of life goes hand-in-hand with your physical movements, and this increases the value and results of your morning’s efforts.
What To Eat After Morning Yoga
Yoga and healthy eating habits complement each other, much in the same way that exercise and diet do. Yoga should ideally be practiced on an empty stomach (empty, but not necessarily hungry), and there are many good ideas for post-yoga meals.
The rule of thumb here is something plant-based and protein-rich, high in good fats but low in processed-sugars and calories. Nothing fried, oily, or too spicy. Water, as always, is of the utmost importance.
Think veggies, fruits, nuts, and grains -- these are considered by many to be the very foundation of healthy living, and it can provide you with the energy to get on with your day and sustain the positive effects of your short morning routine.
You know your body and its triggers, probably better than anyone. Once you decide to pay closer attention to it, you’ll be able to see what foods and ingredients agree with your body. You can always consult with your physician or a dietitian, and see what works best. Don’t get tied down by too many opinions and recommendations. Try to keep it simple so you can stay consistent.
Morning yoga and its health benefits have been known for many centuries and countless generations. More and more people are signing up for classes that take place outside, and that is always great to see. But we can’t all do that, and so invariably there will be plenty of people who will be doing yoga at home.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you need a special guide or class. Thanks to the internet, you don’t need anything else but a mat for an effective morning routine to take place. Also, consider adopting some mantras to recite in the morning, as a verbal counterpart to the physical routine.
There could be things which get in your face and tick you off, mere seconds after you put away that mat… It could happen and it does happen. Life is unpredictable and erratic at times, despite your efforts to steer it in the proper path. Yoga in the AM can provide you with some tools to carry on more wisely and serenely, with less stress and negativity. Isn’t that worth a lot? I think it is.
Here’s a truth: you don’t know your true potential. There is a lot you can do, in the positive and the negative sense. Morning yoga is there to get you moving towards the good, towards balance, as soon as you wake up. After a while, you may find yourself asking why you weren’t doing this all along. Patience and simplicity can often work wonders over time, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t reap these rewards.