I’m sure all of us have a go-to morning booster to wake us up!
I have a plenty of boosters to keep me happy - grabbing a handful of mentos from the receptionist desk as I get into my office, sipping Milo soaked-Khong Guan whole wheat biscuits, eating spoonfuls of Milo by the can, or a having "homemadewithlove" barley drink when I’m sick.
Extra Hot No Classic Soy Green Tea Latte is my current favourite happy drink in Starbucks. In fact I’ve converted a lot of my caffeine-addicted friends to this combination because let's face it - it is less addictive than coffee, less sweet (please ask for no classic so they don’t pump additional sugar syrup), and it is vegan. Doing my bit to be healthy somewhat.
I should be having it every day because it's so good for my soul! But it is not cheap - this daily indulgence will set me back S$220 per month.
So I have to limit myself to 1-2 per week, on my lowly yoga teacher salary.
It's the opposite for exercise though. I should exercise daily because I truly believe movement is medicine for the soul. But damn it, why am I not following my own doctrination?
I have too many excuses why I don't get to a yoga class or do a self-practice or go for a run around the block. And no, I don't get to work out with my students when I teach. The only muscle working is my vocal chords! :P
So I am on a streak of NOT madly exercising, BUT moving daily - "Wriggle Walking" from A-SPACE in Cantonment to Pure Yoga in Chevron House; catch the Iyengar class in between my classes on Wednesdays, run in the hot afternoon sun, and wake up earlier to work out. I have to get back on the bandwagon of mindful movement.
I am also getting back to doing my morning stretches, which kinda doubles up as my meditation but in motion.
And I always get inspired to stretch after watching this video by Gil Hedley called the Fuzz Speech - like how if you don’t stretch daily, your fuzz (or fascia) will get thicker and thicker, which explains the stiffness experienced by the old folks. It kinda scares me into stretching.
And I'm calling my morning stretches my - Soy Latte for the Active Soul!
5 Mins Morning Stretch
Please take the time to breathe and tune into your body to see what works for you. If this doesn’t work for you, that’s okay! The process by which you’re learning more about your own body and its needs is what’s important.
This easy morning stretches can be done on the Bed, so you roll to the side, and you can do it with your eyes closed.
**THE NIGHT BEFORE: Set ALARM to go off at least 5 MINS earlier!
**MORNING OF: Set TIMER for 5 MINS!
1. Sit up and find an easy comfortable seated position on the bed, either cross legged, on your knees or let your legs dangle over the side of the bed. You can sit on pillow as well.
2. Place your hands on your knees, pass can face up or down, your choice. Sitting tall, stacking shoulders on top of sitbones.
3. [BREATHE] Gently close your eyes and take 5 big breathes in and and out of the nostrils, counting each inhale for 5 counts, exhale for 5 counts; slowing down your breath, and making nice long and even. Do this 3-5 times!
4. [SIDE BEND] On the next Inhale, swoop your arms out to the side and all the way up, keeping shoulders away from your ears. You will now be sitting upright with your arms overhead, and fingers reaching up.
5. On the exhale, place left hand down beside left hip and reach right hand over to the left side, creating a rainbow with left side body. Pause in your Side bend for several breathes, feeling the stretch in your side body, and getting longer with each and every breathe.
6. Inhale both arms back up overhead, Side bend to the opposite side.
7. [SPINAL TWIST] Inhale both arms back up overhead. On the exhale bring left hand on the bed behind you, and right hand come to your left knee in a gentle twist, pause for several breathes, with the inhale breath to lengthen and lift and on the exhale twist further.
8. Inhale back to centre, both arms over heard and switch to the other side.
9. [SPINAL ARTICULATION/SEATED CAT & COW] Inhale both arms back up overhead. Exhale and bring both hands on your knees, and press back into your knees to push your chest forward, keeping both sitbones on the bed.
10. Pause here for several breaths in this gentle chest opener. If it is good for your neck, you can lift your chin up, bringing the gaze to the ceiling.
11. When you are ready, on your next inhale, s-l-o-w-l-y bring your chin down and start rounding through the upper back, and coming back to your the back of your sitbones. Your hands stay on your knees using it as a fulcrum. And Pause.
12. Inhale body back to centre, arms overhead, bringing your chin back to parallel with the ground.
13. Exhale hands to your knees and pause.
14. This completes the seated salutation.
Repeat this sequence, going as slowly or quickly as feels good for you, until your five-minute alarm buzzes. You can also change this into a Vinyasa (one breath one movement). This sequence takes your spine through a safe range of motion and can be invigorating at any time of day.
Let's MOVE YOUR FUZZ!! And say BYE BYE to STIFFY SPINE!