Touch your toes before jumping out of bed

I often hear the statement, “I’ve been thinking of taking some yoga classes”. They come in short conversations like passing ones at check out tills or by mail boxes. My response is usually the same, “start by touching your toes before you get out of bed, breathing into the stretch, and you’ll suddenly be doing yoga.” This tidbit never fails to meet with approval, as it brings yoga out of the realm of something you have to go far afield to study, and into the comfort of home. Yes, it’s important to get eventually get teachings in yoga, but if someone procrastinates because either they feel overwhelmed, or because they have no reference point for the positive effects of stretching and breathing, then the most important thing is to simply get them started.

Touching the toes, or Sitting Forward Bend (paschimottanasana), stretches the long muscles of the body and loosens the lower back. It wakes up the limbs and torso gently, a much needed contrast to jumping out of bed at the sound of an alarm. I believe in this simple practice because it has helped me for years, both to maintain flexibility and to centre myself after a long night of trancing in sleep.

If it seems difficult at first, persevere with patience. Keep yourself from crunching your internal organs by holding your spine as straight as you can. It’s nice to actually touch the toes because it creates an restorative energy circuit, but if that’s impossible, place the hands on the knees. If you have good flexibility, then bend all the way forward and lay your forehead on your knees. Breathe… relax… extend… and breathe.

Then, enjoy your day!

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