cobra pose

Photo: Josh Darr

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Favorite of: Jill Jerome, owner and instructor at Yoga Loft Chicago

Why it's great in the morning: You'll shake off any grouchiness and start the day feeling strong. "This is a nice heart-opening posture, which allows for deeper breathing," says Jerome. "That also relieves any stress and tension you might be feeling when you wake up. It strengthens the spine, along with your abdominal muscles and buttocks."

Expert instructions on how to do it: "Lie belly down on the mat. Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders, keeping your elbows snug to the sides of your body. Press the tops of your feet, legs and pelvis firmly into the floor. On an inhalation, begin to straighten your arms to lift your chest off the floor, but not so high that your pelvic bones lose contact with the floor. Your arms should still be bent. As you do that, press your tailbone toward your pubic bone. Keep your butt firm but don't squeeze it. Lift and draw your sternum slightly forward, stopping if you feel tension or pain in the lower back. Hold for a few deep breaths."