Not scheduling yoga is the first way many of us fall off the map on our regular practice.
This is why, perhaps, it’s become increasingly common to incorporate yoga into one’s morning routine (though ancient yogis did this all the time). Then it’s “out of the way” and we feel better for the rest of the day.
In fact, research suggests that working out in the morning particularly helps us sleep better at night, lose more weight and reduce stress. And, not surprisingly, morning exercisers are more likely to be consistent about working out than those who exercise later in the day. For these reasons and more, I always have our Sidha Yoga Teacher Training students practice first thing in the morning.
If you want to incorporate yoga into your morning routine but don’t know where to start, here’s some inspiration from regular people like you and me from a great thread on Reddit:
- From “SerendipityHappens”:
“I’m still struggling with keeping up a routine. Work is at 8:00. I get up at 5 a.m., get a drink of water, put on my yoga clothes (tank top and yoga pants) then pull out my iPad and log on to yogatoday.com. I decide what kind of workout I’m in the mood for, or what instructor I’m in the mood for, select a suitable video (1 hr), then get to it.
I need a video to help me to keep pushing myself. I know that if I don’t, and I’m in a wimpy mood, I will give in much sooner to the tiredness or discomfort of muscles being forced to hold a pose longer than they want to.
I spend 10 minutes in savasana, then get up and go shower, put on makeup, make my morning juice (32 oz) of carrots, celery, kale, lemon, beet, parsley, ginger, cucumber, maybe a pear or a little pineapple, zucchini, or whatever else I might have on hand. I switch it up depending on how I feel. I always stir in some kelp granules and spirulina. Then I make a fruit juice for my husband with some mango, kiwi, carrot and cucumber because he’s a wimp and can’t handle the taste of the greens. I start downing my juice, then get dressed, fix my hair, then off to work.”
- From “lostinbass”:
“My ideal morning:
- Wake up around 5/6.
- Do some pushups, pull ups, and squats to help get the blood flowing.
- Drink a bunch of water.
- Go for a ~2 mile jog.
- Drink more water.
- Pranayama – deep breath + retention and/or alternate nostril breathing.
- Sun salutations with warrior/triangle mixed in, then chill out in shoulder stand/plow for a while.
- Long hold lotus variations.
- If I have time, practice headstands and other challenge poses.
- Start my water boiling on low and do silent meditation until it starts chirping.
- Brew tasty coffee/tea and oatmeal with cinnamon, raisin, and coconut oil.
If I manage to accomplish this I have an extremely high chance of having a great day.”
- From “bootswiththefurrr”:
“Ideally, I wake up around 7:30 or 8. I have the internal “it’s so cold oh god why” struggle. I pull myself out of bed after about 15 minutes after checking my phone and screwing around online for a bit. I keep a bottle of water on my desk and I drink a bit of that. I go to the bathroom, come back to my room, put on my yoga clothes, and unroll my mat. I practice for an hour plus. I meditate for 25 minutes (though this has fallen by the wayside lately).
From there, it depends. I either eat breakfast (usually oatmeal and/or a green smoothie), followed by coffee and Reddit/Tumblr/various internets, get dressed, and go to class (Tuesday/Thursday) or the library to do homework (Monday/Wednesday). Or I crawl back into bed with my boyfriend (some weekends).
I love slow mornings. I usually don’t start what most people would consider their “day” till 10:30 or 11, even though I’ve been up for 2 or 3 hours.”
- From “otterpop”:
“Wake up, hit the bathroom, drink some water, and then start my workout routine. I always start with a warm up of my vinyasa, do some random yoga poses for about 20 mins (I try to keep it interesting and do different things every day) and end with doing some strengthening work. Currently that consists of reps of Hindu squats, Hindu push-ups, one armed push-ups, crucifix push-ups, and timed wheel and boat poses. Then I pet the cat who has been patiently waiting for me to finish, and meditate for about 10 minutes. Finally it’s shower time, followed by breakfast and coffee, then I’m out the door for work.”
- From “overboy”:
“Jesus, I’ve been dying to be asked this question.
- Up at 4:30.
- Hit the can then the scale.
- All my gear is prepped the night prior.
- Mon: Gym, 30 mins for Strong Lifts 5×5 (Hot Vinyasa at night).
- Wed/Fri: Gym, 30 mins for Strong Lifts 5×5, 1 hour Hot Yoga.
- Tue/Thu: Cycling Rollers, 30 Mins, Bootcamp.
- Breakfast: Oatmeal, Cinnamon, Honey, FlaxSeed, Chia, Walnuts, Berries, Granola, 2% milk, Green tea.
- Shower and Shave.
- Off to work.
In parallel I’m getting my son ready for school, but he’s mostly self sufficient. Some days I miss the 5×5 or cycling, but this is pretty much my gig. And it is the same breakfast 29 out of 30 days. The biggest obstacle is getting to bed on time, so wind down starts at 9, bed is supposed to be 10, but tends to be 11.
Saturdays I have my cycling group. The routine is similar, but I wake up a bit later and no workout. So there it is.”
- From “aglet”:
“I roll out of bed, pee, have some water, and get and onto the mat by 6 am. Like others here, I have to follow a video or I won’t push myself; I pick it out the night before. Routine is 45 min to an hour.
Finish yoga, wash face, insert contact, slap deodorant and clean clothes on, maybe grab an orange or something to pop my blood sugar up a little. I had to give up coffee a few years ago. I still mourn its loss.
Next, drive the kid to school, then continue on to work where I have First Breakfast, high-protein Greek yogurt with homemade granola & berries, followed a couple hours by Second Breakfast, usually eggs in some form, sometimes on toast or with sweet potato hash or sauteed greens. Days when I work from home, I go right to the eggs, then snack on fruit and things till lunch.”
- From “DragonSadhana”:
“Mornings are a struggle. I wake up and spend ten minutes online with the hopes the bright light will wake me up. I do some light yoga stretches immediately – side bends, hip openers, forward bends… Then I let out the dog, unlatch the door on the chicken coop, check the chickens’ food and water and gather eggs, water the greenhouse seedlings, water the seedlings beneath the grow lights, feed the cat and the dog, feed the fish, and if it’s a good morning, I do 20-30 minutes of circuit training. I then cook breakfast (usually a veggie omelet or oatmeal, and always with hot chocolate in a travel mug) and get dressed and get to work eating my breakfast in the car.”
- From unknown:
“…I start with a few Sun Salute A’s and B’s, then work my way through a little routine I based on a bunch of Tara Stiles videos. Lots of hip openers, twists, and hamstring stretches, followed by a core workout. I do 30-40 minutes usually, unless I’m feeling really icky or something. Then, I either shower (I started /r/nopoo recently, so I don’t have to wash my hair more than twice a week; I usually just jump in to rinse the sweat off) or go straight to eating breakfast: about half a cup of rice and black beans with two eggs and a dab of sour cream. I drink a cup of tea with breakfast, put the kettle on while I get ready for my second job, and make myself another cup to go. I also try to grab some lunch to take to work with me. Ta da!”
As you can see, there are dozens of simple, human ways to fit yoga into your day—without being a Pinterest model or waking up at 3:30 a.m..
Hopefully these eight yogis have served as a launch outline for your perfect morning. What’s your current or ideal yoga routine? Leave it in the comments below!
Author: Meera Watts
Editor: Caroline Beaton