Most people associate yoga with deep stretches and relaxation. Others leverage its unique movements for a full-body workout rivaling any jog. But, because yoga engages the mind and the body, few people realize how powerful it is for productivity and stamina throughout the day. If the low light levels of winter are making it hard to get things done, try these procrastination-busters.For most people, Monday morning means a headful of goals for the week, but by Friday, they find themselves fried, limping toward the weekend. Instead of testing your limits each day, consider how taking a small amount of time out for yourself in the morning can transform your physical health, your mind and your spirit. When you feel good, you’ll probably find you’ll get a lot more done.
5 Yoga Poses to Transform Your Morning
Here is a sequence to start your day to boost productivity and increase your mental health. Begin in a mountain pose, arms by your side and core strong. Make sure your body is in proper alignment. Sometimes, a practice can be less than effective if you don’t begin by engaging your core. Then, follow this sequence:
The great thing about the warrior two pose is it’s adaptable depending on your level of experience. If you’ve been practicing for years, your stance will likely be low. If you are new to yoga, it’s an easy move to make — its challenge is holding.Step your feet three and a half to four feet apart and lift your arms so they’re parallel to the floor, reaching out to your sides with your palms facing down. Then turn your right foot to the right and your left foot 90 degrees to the left. Bend your left knee over your left ankle — your shin should now be perpendicular to the floor.
Going to triangle from warrior two is a seamless move. Straighten the front leg, kick the hip back and move your front arm forward. From there, reach your front arm to your inner thigh or ankle. Take your time finding your triangle. It can be a particularly challenging pose for runners because of how tight their hips are, but it’s also crucial to their future health.
Nothing turns on your core and leg muscles like getting into a chair pose. Like warrior two, it’s accessible for many levels. When you hold it, you light a fire that will warm you all day, organically increasing your productivity. Simply move from your triangle by raising your arms from the triangle overhead. Keep your shoulders back and down, then sit like you would if there were a chair behind you.
For some, a forward fold presents a unique challenge that only practice will fix, but it’s worth the practice. This simple move stimulates your internal organs, preparing you for the day ahead. Simply raise up from your chair — do a slight backbend as a counter if it is in your practice — then fold over. It may help to think of your body as two pieces to fully engage in the asana.
Perhaps one of the best yoga poses you can do, downward dog strengthens your muscles while stretching them. From your fold, place hands on the floor and step back to your down dog. Keep your chest open and your heels reaching for the floor. There are few moves that can strengthen the arms, open the heart and stretch your spine. This asana alone tells your body you are ready for the day.Once you’ve completed the sequence, repeat it starting from the opposite position of your initial warrior two. To flow there, step or hop from your downward dog to your fold, then raise yourself from there into warrior two. This sequence works well for energy boosting because it wakes up all your muscles — arms, legs and core are all activated throughout.
How Yoga Makes Your More Productive
Though this is a great flow, there are many others that can work, depending on your body. Whatever flow you choose, consider the productivity-boosting benefits of just a few minutes of practice:
- More Energy. If there’s anything that will help you be more productive, it’s more energy to get things done. Like all exercise, yoga naturally increases your energy by increasing your blood flow. It energizes your muscles and your brain for a better, more productive day.
- Less Pain. Yoga is an art that’s been practiced for thousands of years. Certain asanas are known for helping with pain, but when you train your whole body, it will protect itself from injury, lessening pain and preventing it from happening in the future. It also helps the mind handle pain and deal with it more effectively.
- Relieves Stress. Yoga re-centers the mind, helping it deal with the anxiety and stress of the day. When your mind isn’t always churning with anxiety, you are better able to handle the work at hand.
- Better Concentration and Creativity. By calming the mind and allowing it to refocus, yoga can create a clean slate for your brain, which helps its creative energy flow. Fresh ideas mean you can get more accomplished.
- Better Sleep. When your mind is clear of stress, your body has been physically active and you’ve gotten work done, better sleep is a natural result. When you sleep well, your body is better able to tackle the concerns of the next day.
These are a few of the benefits research has proven practicing yoga offers, but, depending on the individual, there are many more. Yoga helps you be you, but better. And a better you will also be more productive, happier and prepared for the future.