5 Perfect Morning Yoga Poses

Standing backbend and side stretches: Inhale the arms up straight and bend back slightly to feel elongation throughout your entire body. Exhale and let one hand slide down the side of your body with the other hand still raised. Allow your head and neck to relax, feeling an even deeper stretch in the ribs and side body. Slowly inhale up to center and exhale to the opposite side. Repeat this motion 5 times on each side.

Forward fold: Exhale, folding forward at the hips. Allow your knees to bend and try to bring your chest towards your thighs. Relax the neck and let the head hang heavily. You will feel this stretch in the lower spine as well as in the legs. This pose allows fresh blood to flow easily to the brain, cleansing and refreshing the brain, aiding the circulatory system. Stay here for 10 deep breaths.

Tree pose: With feet hip distance apart, spread the toes wide to help plant yourself firmly on the ground. Bring the hands onto the hips or to heart's center. Inhale to bring one foot up, placing it either on the calf or the thigh (never place the foot on the knee). Exhale. Keep the core engaged, and if you have your balance reach your arms to the sky. Stay here for 5 rounds of breath. Exhale to slowly place the foot on the ground, switch legs. This balance pose is a great time to set an intention for your day -- perhaps an intention of balance, perseverance, fun, or whatever you desire!

Cat-Cow: Come down onto the hands and knees. Be sure that the wrists are directly below the shoulders and the fingers are spread wide. Feel each knuckle and the finger pads on the ground to distribute the weight into the hands so that not all of the weight is on the wrists. The knees are hip distance apart and the tops of the feet are on the ground, the big toes are touching. Inhale into cow (the head and tailbone lift up, dropping the belly towards the ground, heart extending forward). Exhale into cat (arch the spine upwards, tuck the chin toward the chest, draw the navel in towards the spine). Continue for 2-3 minutes, moving slowly at first and steadily increasing your speed as you gain flexibility.

Down dog: Tuck the toes under and lift the tailbone towards the sky. Drop the head down and push into the hands to create length in the spine. Draw your navel in towards your spine and press the soles of the feet down towards the ground. Take 5 rounds of deep breath in this pose, closing the eyes if you have your balance.

Now you will be refreshed and ready for the rest of your busy day!