Since you are on your knees from the cow/cat stretch, you can flow into light stretches for the chest, and shoulders. These will help increase your range of motion giving you more mobility and freedom of movement as your day begins. It creates a feeling of refreshment and invigoration.

IMG_20121219_081428Sit back on your calves with your feet flat on the bed. Your hands are in the same position from the cow/cat stretch – under the shoulders. As you sit back on your calves without moving your hands, slowly and mindfully drop your head between your outstretched arms as though you are bowing or doing a courtesy. If you can rest your forehead on the bed, great. If not, remember that has your flexibility increases, your forehead will come closer to bed. Try this stretch twice, holding from 10 to 30 seconds. If you did yoga years ago, this is a variation of child’s pose. For those not yet ready to place their arms and hands in front of them to begin this stretch, bring your arms in next to your body and place your hands next to your feet in another variation of child’s pose. Gently tuck your head as close to your knees as your flexibility permits. Breathe deeply for 10 – 30 seconds, expanding your back muscles as you inhale. Do this twice. Relax between each stretch.

Now come back up to your knees and gently lower your body to the bed, stretching out to your full length. You are now going to stretch your abdominal muscles. Your knees should be slightly apart although some may choose a wider distance depending on flexibility. Bend your elbows bringing them close to your torso. Your hands should be parallel to your chin and nose with finger tips facing forward. As you begin to press your hands into the bed, slide your shoulder blades down your back and inhale. Do not over arch your back as your upper body comes off the bed. Allow your stomach muscles to remain hollow in this natural motion that occurs as you slowly and gently press your body upward. Do not arch your neck back, but keep it going forward in a straight line, as an extension of the spine being pulled by a string attached to wall. Release to the bed gently if you feel pinching or strain. Do this stretch twice, holding for 10 to 30 seconds. Relax between each stretch. These are gentle morning stretches!