Guys, you're never going to believe this. I'm sick again! My throat started feeling a little sore yesterday afternoon, and I was hoping that it was just a random occurance after my workout, but I woke up this morning, and it's a little worse. How I managed to get sick twice within a week and a half period is completely dumbfounding, and I have no idea if it's even the same illness that I had before, or if I was just lucky enough to catch another one so quickly. Normally, I would think that I just "relapsed," but my throat feels sore in different spots this time than it did the first time around. I'm so annoyed...especially because I really do feel like I took it easy last week, and I thought I was almost back to 100 percent just a couple of days ago. Now, my mom is coming tomorrow...I'm just praying that it doesn't get worse and turn into a full blown flu like it did last time! I tried to sleep in today, and I'm going to rest like crazy today in hopes that I can keep this thing under control. Wish me luck! I just can't believe I'm feeling this way again! I hope it's nothing serious...my tonsils or something? Anyway! Thanks for letting me complain for a bit. Since I'm not feeling all that great, today's bridal fitness exericises are probably the only physical activity that I'll be getting today!
Given yoga's strong emphasis on stretching and deep, focused breathing, it's no wonder that many agree that the best time to practice yoga is first thing in the morning. Your mind is clearer, you have an empty stomach and will have the least amount of distractions. That, and it's a great way to stretch out the spine after a (hopefully) good night's sleep! I was thinking about the different ways we can integrate fitness into our daily lives, outside of spending that hour at the gym...more subtle things that we can do that won't be too difficult. I thought that yoga would be a great addition to my morning routine, so I did a little bit of research to figure out what poses and moves would be best to do right after I wake up in the morning!
Morning Yoga - Poses and Meditation
- Morning Meditation: When you wake in the morning, clear a space with no noise or distractions and be seated on the floor in a simple cross legged position. If your hips are feeling tight, or this is an uncomfortable position for you, try sitting on a few folded blankets to elevate yourself a bit. With your hands in either Namaste (hands together in front of your chest), or resting comfortably on your lap with your palms facing up, sit for one minute with your eyes closed, taking long deep breaths. Try to set an intention for your day ahead...this can be an emotion you'd like to feel, someone you'd like to connect with or something you'd like to achieve yourself. You may also consider chanting. According to Kundalini practice, you chant "Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru," in Sanskrit, which means, "One Creator created this Creation. Truth is His Name. Great beyond description is His infinite wisdom."
- Sun Salutations: A basic series of three to five sun salutations are always a great way to start the day! Begin in a Mountain Pose, followed by a half Forward Bend, into a Plank Pose, Upward-Facing Dog and finishing with a Downward-Facing Dog.
- Kundalini Yoga Stretch Pose: I remember learning this pose in my yoga class, and it's a lot harder than it looks, I have to say! There's a great video tutorial right here, but it basically involves you laying on your back, lifting your head and your feet while engaging your abdominals and performing the "Breath of Fire," for a recommended three minutes.
What is the "Breath of Fire," you ask? It's quite interesting, actually. You inhale and exhale at even lengths with no breaks between, and in doing so, you'll notice that your navel will start to pump up and down with your breath. The breathing is said to spur kundalini energy at the base of the spine, which expands within you and ignites your energy system. If you don't necessarily believe that, then you may appreciate the fact that performing the "Breath of Fire" for the full three minutes is supposed to allow your liver to cycle through and filter your blood completely. When you try this for the first few times, you may become lightheaded - I know that I usually do - because your taking in so much oxygen into your body at one time and the toxins are rushing through your liver. This is also the reason that it is not recommended that you perform the "Breath of Fire," if you are currently menstruating or are pregnant. It can be tough to maintain the breathing for a full three minutes, so I would say to start off with only 30 seconds, taking one inhale per second, and slowly work your way up. Many kundalini instructors will also recommend that you use the "Sat Nam" mantra (essentially meaning "Truth is my identity,"), by mentally (or verbally) saying "Sat" as you inhale, and "Nam" as you exhale. I find that saying the mantra out loud helps you focus on taking your breath down into your belly button, as well. There's so much more to say about this particular element of yoga, but those are the basics that I've gathered. It's a really interesting move that I highly recommend that you try out!
- Other recommended poses: Honestly, there are so many poses that could be of use to you personally first thing in the morning, and there really no hard and fast rules as to what you should and should not do when you get out of bed everyday. I say, do what works and feels good for you, above all else. Some other recommended poses include the Corpse Pose, Bridge Pose, Tree Pose and a Spine Twist. Remember to move slowly, and not to push yourself too hard; this is supposed to be something easy that you can do (and even look forward to doing) every morning before all of the craziness begins!