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I've been doing morning yoga every day for six years

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Every morning for the past six years, almost without fail, I’ve rolled out of bed on a yoga mat. These short 10-15 minute morning yoga poses have evolved quite a bit over the years, but overall they make all the same notes: it’s a little movement, core work, body weight strength, and a physical therapy session that puts me in the right direction, mental and physical state before the day starts. .

Sometimes the yoga routine gets cut short for travel, races, or other things in life. But in the six years I’ve been doing it, the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience, and I’ve only gotten past it a few times.

Is it easy? of course not. Every morning, I find myself wondering if push-ups will ever be easier. (Answer: They kind of do, but then take them to the next level.)

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How did you start practicing daily morning yoga?

My relationship with morning yoga began in 2016, when I was staying at a small Airbnb studio in Louisville, Kentucky. It was another racing weekend where I was acting as team manager for the Aspire Racing Pro team, led by four-time National Champion Jeremy Powers.

I realized something on that trip: I felt like crap. I haven’t been riding or jogging regularly in weeks. My training became more and more intermittent as work became more and more hectic, and I could feel the effects. (The time I spent on planes, trains, and cars didn’t help either.) I was sore, inflexible and starting to feel soft. But with an entire season of travel remaining before I could return to my regular schedule, there was no decision to return to regular training.

A few months ago, I did an interview Strala Yoga founder Tara Styles Cycling And I fell in love with her high energy, fast paced yoga and especially the short 10-15 minute yoga videos on YouTube. I made a decision in Louisville: I was going to do one of her yoga videos every morning for a month and see if it made a difference. (And to write an article of course.)

It turns out that 15 minutes of morning yoga every day, for 30 days, can make such a big difference — that when the month was over, it didn’t even occur to me to stop. I was feeling leaner, less in pain, and thanks to Styles’ infiltration in push-ups and other bodyweight work, I was feeling strong, despite the mileage On the bike (and running) It was not increasing. Most importantly, I was feeling athletic again.

Jim Loehr wrote in The power of full sharingwhich explains that it is our energy that we need to manage, not our time. This ritual was really powerful.

Here’s why practicing yoga every day, especially morning yoga, works, and how to create your own morning routine.

Morning yoga routine

I’m a yoga instructor in my spare time, and I’ve developed this morning’s yoga routine over the years, adding and subtracting movements until I’ve found what works best for me. I’m not going to suggest this routine to everyone – feel free to adapt it. But it begins with a series of bodyweight exercises, then progresses to a yoga sequence.

Check it out in the speed video below, along with an outline of the movements.

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Yoga Molly in Super Speed

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Part 1: Bodyweight exercises

Part 2: Yoga Flow

Sequence the sun salutations: start by standing with the hands in prayer on the chest. Then you reach them up. Next, extend your hands down toward the floor as you fold forward at the hips. Place your hands on the floor, then return to the plank position. Halfway to the floor as you would a push-up, then drop the hips and raise the chest into a cobra (bend elbows) or upward-facing dog (arms straight). Next, raise the hips and again press down on the dog facing down. Next, walk your hands to your feet back into the front fold. On the inhale, raise the hands to the middle of the leg, then bend them again on the exhale. Extend your arms above the head and return to prayer. Then repeat.

Aim for 4 sets of sun salutations, working into the pigeon pose and second warrior position after the downward facing dog and before returning to standing. Be sure to perform the pigeon and the second warrior on both sides.

Do you want to add more work? Complete 3 sets of 10 to 12 push-ups as you descend into the plank, before descending into the upward-facing cobra or dog.

Do what works best for you in the morning, adding in extra poses and strength work whenever you feel comfortable.

6 benefits of daily morning yoga

1. It enhances my sports identity

In 2016, I was pretty much doing everything other than embracing my sporting identity, despite working in the bike industry in half a dozen different capacities. (Ask any cycling journalist what they don’t have enough time for, and we’ll all say “riding.”)

In the classic self-help book, 7 habits of highly effective people, Author Stephen Covey asks, “What is the one thing you can do (something you don’t do now) that, if you do it regularly, will make an enormous positive difference in your personal life?” For me, this thing ensured that I was doing something every day—maybe not a full ride or a run—for my athletic self.

2. My morning starts on my right foot

“If you want to get a full 180 degrees, rethink your morning and evening rituals—your most important habits,” legendary strength coach Dan John says in his book, Efforts.

Science supports this: Researchers I found that morning exercise resulted in better ability to make good decisions and better cognitive function throughout the day. And I’ve noticed that starting the day with a short workout makes me more likely to engage in my actual training journey or run later in the day — as well as making other healthy choices, like drinking water (instead of a fourth cup of coffee) or adding more veggies to lunch.

3. A sneaky way to indulge in fasting workouts

I am not a fan of long workouts in a fasting state, because I am a very hungry person, and some research studies He says fasting for endurance efforts is not in a woman’s best interest. But 15 minutes of movement before breakfast might be the best of both worlds — not so much that my cortisol spikes, but enough to break a light sweat and slightly increase my heart rate.

sMolar scale studies showed that even light exercise in the morning improved fat burning and metabolic efficiency.

4. It helps me recognize how I feel

I know a lot of people rely on Whoops, heart rate variability numbers, or any other app or device that gives them insight into how they feel overall for the day. While I like objective data, I’m a huge fan of figuring out how I feel based on how easy or hard push-ups are in my morning routine. It’s never easy, but some days are harder than others. It gives me a few minutes to think if I’m feeling a little low on food or water, or if I can rest at a later time. If I’m feeling great, it’s a good boost to head over to any tap workout that day.

5. Math is logical

On average, my routine takes about 15 minutes each morning. The annual total — 15 minutes multiplied by 365 days — comes to 5,475 minutes, or 91 hours. This is, technically, a massive amount of extra training that I just don’t think about anymore.

6. It finally makes me do some stretching

We all have stretches and movement exercises that we’re supposed to do, but be honest: How often do you actually do them? I know the morning is the only part of the day that I will make time to do the work I need to do to keep my body happy.

in Ready to runKelly Starrett makes my favorite point: “If you’re going to impose on your body the demands that being an athlete requires, your job is to support that body.”

Manduka Eco Light

Manduka Eco Light
Trevor Rabe
Gaiam Folding Mat

Gaiam Folding Mat
Trevor Rabe
jade level 1 mat

Yoga Level 1
Trevor Rabe
Lululemon Reversible Mat (Un)

Lululemon Reversible Mat (Un)
Trevor Rabe

How to make morning yoga happen

I’ve learned a few steps that will make your morning yoga routine consistent:

Create a cue, routine, and reward

Journalist and self-help author Charles Duhigg writes that the habit cycle consists of three parts: a cue, a routine, and a reward. Signal: wake up. Routine: Whatever yoga flow or small strength exercise you want to do. I recommend sticking to one simple routine to get started, either written on an index card or using a video you’ve already bookmarked. Don’t get up and try to figure out what to do while you’re still groggy!

Then there is the bonus. You may have decided not to have that cup of coffee until you’ve done 10 minutes of yoga. My personal bonus? I watch my favorite TV shows while I keep streaming. It’s not Instagram perfect, but it gets me out of bed.

Prepare your space

Leave the rug and any equipment out in the morning. When I first started this experiment, it took a few straight days of false starts, largely due to the way I was trying to do “yoga-ish”. I had big visions of myself doing morning yoga at the beach, or at least on our small balcony, and getting into a zen meditation.

The truth, though, is that I prefer watching Frasier’s reboot (no judgement) while I’m doing yoga, and with my husband Peter and Dachshund DW also doing their morning workouts, our exercise area gets crowded quickly. But when we’re at home, we have places at home that are perfect for morning yoga, and my iPad is always charged up. I know that some people will actually put their yoga mat right next to the bed so that they literally step on the mat as soon as they wake up. This is a genius idea, especially for the busy parent who knows that as soon as they get out of the bedroom, the game begins.

morning yoga

Jodi Wilson

Adapt to your routine

For the first six months, I watched one of Tara Stills’ 12-minute videos, every morning. After a while, I could do the whole routine through memory, and I was finding it hard to get excited to continue Which Tutorial, no matter how much I like Stiles. I tried a few different videos, but in the end, it was easier to stick to my routine if I allowed myself to enjoy TV. I love core work and push-ups too, so my routine has grown to include long plank exercises and push-ups throughout. At the end I also added the rehabilitation exercises my physical therapist recommended. As a result, it’s a routine that hits all the right notes for me.

Start shorter than you think

Even two minutes of sun salutations equate to big gains: roughly 12 hours a year of additional training, to be exact. The benefits of a head scrub are the same whether you do a 2- or 20-minute brisk walk or do yoga in the morning. If your life is so busy that you’re reading this entire article and mentally rolling your eyes (I see you), you can still take two minutes of time in the morning.

Stack this habit to get started

My favorite tip along those lines came from runner and entrepreneur Jacques Mariach, who tells me that while waiting to get her French press in the morning she squats. This is the stack of habits I can fall behind: coffee, some strength and mobility. This is a great way to start for people who don’t feel like they can carve out the time to do a full routine, because it uses time spent wandering the kitchen, or aimlessly checking social media, while brewing coffee.

Don’t stress the line

I love cascading rides or running – sort of. For some, it’s an important accountability tool. For others, it’s a reason to throw in the towel the second the line breaks. The bad news: If you’ve been doing something for years and years, sometimes you’ll miss a day. I only missed a couple, and I cut out a lot. And while it bothers me to miss a day, I know that the pursuit of perfection is impossible at best, and dangerous at worst.

If you skip a day, don’t stress about it. Try adding a few squats, maybe a sun salutation at your desk, or even just a moment of deep breathing in the car if you can, and resolve to hit the rug tomorrow morning.

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