Need a little wake-me-up? Introducing the new addition to your morning routine: sun salutations.
Sun salutations are a big part of the "vinyasa flow" style of yoga. "Vinyasa" means to link or connect. In this case, it's nine or more postures, each accompanied with an inhale or exhale. The sequence teaches you to really focus on your breath, and embrace the meditative aspect of moving through each pose. There is something beautiful about linking these poses together. I look at it like an expressive, flowing dance.
Meanwhile, the blood flow loosens up stiff muscles and opens up the body. And let's not discount how great of a workout this is on your upper body and core. Overall, the flow creates energy and reduces sluggishness—perfect for getting your day going.
Take a look at the gallery above for my 12-step sun salutation flow. I recommend finding a quiet and calm space in your home, outside in a garden or park, or anywhere else you feel would suit you. Repeat this cycle however many times you would like. You can do a few cycles to get your muscles warm or a handful of times to start breaking a sweat. Holding poses, like plank and half plank, for five breaths will make this harder, or add push-ups (plank to half plank) a few times.
When doing your first sun salutation for the day, remember to go slow. Take more than one breath in each posture, so your body can settle into the poses properly. Once you have done it a couple of times, you can try linking one breath to each movement. Perhaps bend your knees in the first couple forward folds just to give your body time to open up. If you know your hamstrings are more on the tight side, have two blocks handy at the top of your mat on both sides so you can modify when you need to.
Stay tuned for more yoga tutorials from Bikini.com's resident yogi, Michelle Arenal!