The Poses Yoga Instructors Use to Start Their Day Right
Photo: Erika Flores
Favorite of: Christine Burke, owner and instructor at Liberation Yoga in Los Angeles
Why it's great in the morning: This series of 3 moves is the antidote to any morning bloating or constipation, and it loosens up your back. "The first pose is a wonderful back release and helps activate the digestive system," says Burke. "Next is a spinal twist, which also gets digestion going while strengthening the smaller muscles in your back and lengthening your spine. The last pose, Happy Baby, is great for loosening up your hips."
Expert instructions on how to do it:
1. "Lie on your back and draw your knees into your chest. Use your arms to hold your legs near you and practice 5 deep belly breaths. You can add a count of 5 as you inhale and 5 as you exhale.
2. Keep your left leg in, with your hands clasped on your shin and extend your right leg to the floor. Breathe here for a few moments with the foot of your outstretched leg flexed. Then take your right hand to your left knee and draw it across your body and toward the floor. Extend your left hand away from you at shoulder height and look toward that hand. It's fine if your bent knee is hovering and doesn't make it to the floor but try to keep both shoulder blades on the ground. Hold for 5 breaths and then switch sides.
3. Lying on your back, hold the outer edges of your feet, or clasp your toes with 'yogi toe lock' by wrapping your index and middle fingers around your big toe and connecting your thumb to those fingers. If you can't reach comfortably, you can hold onto your calves or behind your knees. Take a few breaths with your ankles right over your knees. Inhale a comfortable breath and, with your lips closed, sharply pump the air out through your nose. Let the inhale happen on its own and concentrate on sharp, defined exhales through your nose as you feel your navel draw in and toward the floor with each exhale. Count 11 of those breaths and then release your legs with your feet together and your knees open as you stretch your arms up over your head. Inhale and open your mouth, relax your jaw and exhale. Practice 3 rounds of this combination and then rest on your back in corpse pose or sit in meditation."