I am sharing a morning routine with you that I have been doing for about a year and a half. It is called the Tibetan Rites of Yoga, or others would call it "the fountain of youth." It is an ancient form of health therapy. I learned about this from a world-class trainer, Steve Maxwell, who was named one of the top 100 trainers in the U.S. by Men's Health Magazine.
It is simple, short and sweet! I love doing this in the mornings, usually after a sauna session (will get to that in another post) and before I get my day going.
Here is the video I created to help demonstrate the movements. If you want to fast forward to minute 1:10, that's where it starts.
There are just 5 movements, which you can start out doing 5-7 repetitions of each 5 movements, building up to 21 repetitions.
Here we go!
Stand with your arms outstretched and horizontal to the floor, palms facing down. Your feet should be about hip distance apart. Draw the crown of your head up toward the ceiling. Focus on a spot in front of you so that you can count your rotations. Spin around clockwise until you become a little dizzy.
Breath work: Inhale and exhale deeply as you spin.
Lie flat on the floor. Fully extend your arms along your sides and place the palms of your hands against the floor. If you have lower back issues, place your fingers underneath your sacrum. As you inhale, raise your head off the floor, tucking your chin into your chest. Simultaneously lift your legs, knees straight, into a vertical position. If possible, extend your legs over your body toward your head. Then slowly exhale, lowering your legs and head to the floor, keeping your knees straight and your big toes together.
Breathing: Breathe in deeply as you lift your head and legs, and exhale as you lower them.
Kneel on the floor with your toes curled under. Place your hands on the backs of your thigh muscles. Tuck your chin in toward your chest. Slide your hands down the backs of your thighs as you draw your shoulders back and your head up toward the sky. Keep in mind that you are arching your upper back more than your lower back. Move your head back as if you were drawing a line with your nose on the ceiling. Slowly return to an upright position and repeat.
Breath work: Inhale as you arch your spine and exhale as you return to an erect position.
Sit down on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and your feet about 12 inches apart. Place your palms on the floor alongside your hips. Slowly go into a table-top position. Slowly return to your original sitting position.
Breath work: Breathe in as you rise up into the pose, hold your breath as you tense your muscles, and breathe out fully as you come down.
Lie down on your belly with your palms face down. Press up into an upward-facing dog by curling your toes under. Your arms should be straight. Look straight ahead of you, or if you are a little more flexible, gently draw your head back, taking your eyes upward. Then draw your hips up and back, extending your spine, into downward-facing dog pose. Repeat by moving back and forth between downward- and upward-facing dog.
Breath work: Breathe in as your rise up into upward-facing dog; breath out as you push back into downward-facing dog.
Again, you can practice this everyday, under 5 minutes, to really help get the blood flowing, wake up your muscles, and begin your day.
In a world of chronic sitting, lack of movement and other destructive habits, these simple exercises are something that can be added in to your daily flow to bring a bit more function to your body.
Disclaimer: This is simply a posting on what has worked for me to regain mobility in my own body, so it may or may not work for you. If you do wish to try it, do so in a conservative manner, let your body be warm and do not strain yourself. Consult with your physician if you are concerned about injuring yourself.