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Morning Workout Routine

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Good Day Sunshine is a five-minute morning workout routine that will give you a
great outlook on your day

Your alarm goes off and it's dark, cold, and all you've got to look forward to is another day at the office. Getting out of bed, frankly, sucks. So you hit the snooze button, turn over, and snuggle back into your pillow for five more minutes of bliss. But—ouch—something else is amiss. Not only is it cold and dark outside the covers, but your New Year's resolution of getting into shape has rendered your body sore and stiff. "This is all I need," you think, your resolution fading with each pang of pain. "Something to make my life tougher!"

Don't despair; help is on the way. Here is a 5- to 10-minute morning routine that will revamp your outlook on the day. And the best part is, you don't even have to toss aside the covers to get started.

Part I - The Snooze Cycle
You've hit the snooze and buried yourself deep within the confines of your comforter, contemplating the inevitable reality that you have to leave this space. Here's how to turn these moments of dread into a time of hope, or even inspiration.

  • Breathe. This is easy, since you're doing it anyway. Focus on taking a few deep breaths. Breathe in slowly from your nose and relax as your exhale, letting the breath slide out of your body.
  • Wiggle your toes. Slightly at first, then work this into flexing and extending them, moving them side to side and in circles. This simple process is not only a warm-up for your feet. Jumping out of bed is cold is one of the harshest things you do to your body, but it primarily affects the feet. If everyone practiced this one simple thing, maladies like plantar fasciitis would be far less common.
  • Do the same with your hands. Open and close them easily, working up to stretching your fingers as far as they can go. This is even more vital if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Next, like a cat, move your arms and feet as far apart as they can go in a full body stretch. Tense your body, then relax it. Repeat a few times. This will open up your lungs and you'll begin to lubricate your connective tissues and bring blood to your muscles.
  • Still under the covers, lie on your back and slide your knees up. Then drop them to one side. This easy rotation will stretch out your back and spine. Repeat on the other side.

You're now ready to get out of bed. As your feet hit the floor they'll be warm and ready to bear the weight of your body. Your breathing will be more pronounced and standing will be easier, especially if you're sore. While the feeling will be subtle, each movement should feel less restricted.

Part II - The Sun Salutation
You've taken a great step already, but the addition of a few Sun Salutations can be truly transforming. No matter how bad I feel, when I practice this, I'll always hit a point where my mind clears and it feels as though a weight has been lifted off my body. Every day, no matter what. It's better than coffee!

There are two types of Sun Salutations, or Surya Namaskara, if you're traditional or Indian. The first consists of nine vinyasas, or positions, and the second, of 17. We will discuss the first type here. Of course, if you want to do more you can.

1st vinyasa. To begin, stand straight up, feet together, chest up, head tilted slightly down, gazing at the tip of the nose. This is called Samasthiti, which means standing in a straight line. Then breath slowly in through the nose, raise your arms overhead, and bring your hands together. Lean your head back and look up at your fingertips.

2nd vinyasa. Release your breath slowly, bend forward, and bring your hands down to the sides of your feet, trying to touch your knees with your nose.

3rd vinyasa. Then, inhale slowly and lift only your head.

4th vinyasa. Next, press your hands on the floor and while exhaling, throw your feet back until you are on your hands and toes onlylike the bottom of a push-up, but with your arms in close to your sides.

5th vinyasa. Then press your chest forward, straightening your neck and bending your back. Look up toward the ceiling, extending your feet out so that the tops of your toes are pressing against the ground (this pose is often called "Up Dog").

6th vinyasa. Next, lift the waist up, tilt the head under, heels to the floor, and gaze at the navellike an inverted "V" (called "Down Dog").

7th vinyasa. This is a movement that goes back to the 3rd vinyasa by jumping your feet up close to your hands and straightening your legs. This can be amended by just stepping forward. I usually step on the first one and jump on subsequent repetitions.

8th vinyasa. Follow the 2nd vinyasa.

9th vinyasa. Follow the 1st vinyasa. Now you should be standing back in Samasthiti.

Repeat as many times as desired. Try to empty your mind and keep your gazed fixed toward the tip of your nose. Don't try and push these movements or stretch too much—you're just warming up. Just concentrate on your breathing and let the Salutations take you into the day.

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