Health & Fitness

Namaste: 5 yoga poses to start your morning off right

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For most of my life, I thought black women didn’t “do” yoga. I know it’s so stereotypical, but I never had examples of women who looked like me taking on the ancient art that originated in India. But a couple years ago, I started hearing my friends talking about learning yoga and I saw black yogis, such as @yogaracheal, on Instagram do amazing handstands and other poses with their bodies.

I took my first yoga class on my 25th birthday, and it was one of the most invigorating experiences I’ve had. I left the room drenched in sweat since I just couldn’t resist trying hot yoga, but also I felt limber, lithe and super relaxed. Since then, I’ve taken yoga classes here and there, but it’s easy to take some of the easier poses and do them right in your room each morning.

Here are 5 yoga poses you can do THIS morning, along with some #blackgirlmagic yogis you can follow for inspiration.

Mountain Pose

@blackgirlinom doing a mountain pose

@blackgirlinom doing a mountain pose

Yes, this pose is just you standing up with your arms in the air (lol). But, the power of this pose comes from taking deep breaths (something you’ll see in all poses) and allowing yourself to feel the strength of your body — like a mountain! Point yourself toward a window and enjoy the sunrise while doing this pose.

 

Seated Twist 

@yogaracheal doing a seated twist

@yogaracheal doing a seated twist.

If you’re a dancer, athlete or avid exerciser, you’ve done this pose before. It stretches your shoulders, hips and back so you’ll be ready for your other poses for the morning. Stretch each side for 1 minute and take slow, deep breaths to fully oxygenate yourself and get relaxed.

Downward Dog 

@chelsealovesyoga doing a downward dog

@chelsealovesyoga doing a downward dog

This pose is one of the most recognizable and a favorite for yoga beginners. It stretches the backs of your legs, strengthens your arms and forces you to focus on your breath. Hold this pose for 3 deep breaths and repeat a few times to get the full benefits.

Cobra

@paradiseasha doing the cobra pose (via @blackgirlyoga)

@paradiseasha doing the cobra pose (via @blackgirlyoga)

This is my favorite pose! I would do this pose in my high school dance classes, and I loved how my back felt after doing it. The key is to avoid overextending yourself and straining your neck. Just relax, breathe and enjoy the moment.

Child’s Pose

@helena_dz doing the child's pose (via @blackgirlyoga)

@helena_dz doing the child’s pose (via @blackgirlyoga)

Again, this is a simple pose, but it effectively stretches your legs, back and arms. Also, it’s incredibly relaxing — I almost fell asleep while doing it!

Try these poses each morning for a relaxed and focused start to your day! (For step-by-step directions for each pose, go here.)

Are you a yogi? Share your favorite poses below!

 

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