Gentle Sunrise 5-Pose Practice


26 Mar
26Mar

This is my favorite, simple 5-pose practice for morning. This practice is a simple way for me to bring some easy, gentle movement into my morning before work.


The emphasis of this practice is to breathe with each movement. Usually, we inhale as we move up and exhale as we move down or ground. However, you always have the freedom to explore what feels right for you. This is your practice and only you can know what is right for you.


sunrise 5-pose practice


1. Constructive Rest Pose

Lie on your back, your knees are bent, and your feet are firmly on the mat. Your knees are directly above your ankles.

Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. 

Connect with your breath. 

Connect with your body.

Feel the breath. Feel the sensations in your body. Stay here for at least 5 breaths.


2. Cat-Cow

From Constructive Rest pose, gently bring your knees into your chest and roll to the right. Putting your weight onto your hands, prop yourself up into a sitting position. Then, continue to move into a table-top position -- hands and knees. Take one full inhalation and exhalation before you begin movement. On your next inhalation, slowly begin to tip your pelvis, arch your back, and arch your neck up to the sky. This is a gently movement and it is not meant to strain your back or your neck. Be gentle and use less movement in the first few rounds. We are slowly waking up our body. Then, exhale as your release your pelvis, hollow out your stomach to round out your back, and release your head and neck toward the ground. Continue with these movements for 5-8 breaths. Inhale, open your chest, arch your back (cow pose); exhale, fold everything inward toward the ground (cat pose). 

After 5-8 rounds, bring your body back to the table-top pose (hands and knees).


3.  Downward Dog --> 3-legged Dog --> core series

From table-top, on your next exhalation, lift your buttocks up to the sky into Downward Dog. Feel free to pedal your legs a little if that feels good to you. Then, spend 2 full breaths in Downward Dog, grounding your feet and hands into the mat while continuing to left your hips up and bring your navel to your back (this brings stability in your mid-body and prevents you from collapsing your mid-body). 

Then, inhale as your lift your right leg toward the sky. Exhale, bring your right knee forward to your chest as your body comes into a high plank. Do not put your foot on the ground -- your knee is at your chest and your foot is hovering above the ground. Stay here for one full breath.

Inhale as you lift your right leg toward the sky. Exhale, bring your right knee forward to the outside of your right elbow as your body comes into a high plank. Do not put your foot on the ground -- your knee is to the outside of your right elbow and your foot is hovering above the ground. Stay here for one full breath.

Inhale as you lift your right leg toward the sky. Exhale, bring your right knee forward to the inside of your LEFT elbow as your body comes into a high plank. Do not put your foot on the ground -- your knee is to the inside of your LEFT elbow and your foot is hovering above the ground. Stay here for one full breath.

Inhale as you lift your right leg toward the sky. Exhale, bring your right leg down so that you are back in Downward Dog pose.

Stay in Downward Dog for a few breaths, then repeat on the left side.

This is a nice slow, gentle core practice to wake up your body and bring strength and stability into your day.


4. Low Lunge with a twist (Anjaneyasana)

From Downward Dog, on your exhalation slowly bring your right foot up to the top of the mat and gently place your back knee (left knee) onto the mat (or a blanket if you want a little cushion for your back knee -- I always put cushion down for my knees). Now, you are in a low lunge. If it is comfortable, place both hands on the mat on either side of your right foot (front). Stay here for 2 breaths. 

Then on your next inhalation, slowly bring your hands onto the top of your right knee and balance here. Focus on the gentle breath, gentle hugging of your muscles onto the bone, and the gentle balancing movement here. Stay here for 2 breaths. 

Then on your next inhalation, slowly extend both arms up to the sky. Gently breathing, focus on rooting down through your legs and feet while extending to the sky with your chest, arms, and hands. Gently look toward the sky (without straining your neck). Breathe. 

Exhale your hands down to the mat and place your hands on either side of your front foot (right). Inhale as you slowly bend your back leg and grab your back foot with your right hand bringing yourself into a twist toward your right. Stay in this pose, gently twisting, as you breathe (~ 5 breaths).

Then, exhale your right hand to the mat, as you gently untwist. Switch legs, and repeat the process for the left foot in front.


5. Constructive Rest Pose

Gently, move yourself onto your back. You are lying on your back, your knees are bent, and your feet are firmly on the mat.

Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. 

Connect with your breath. 

Connect with your body.

Feel the breath. Feel the sensations in your body.


From here, you are welcome to do a 'body scan'  -- slowly, methodically bring awareness to each part of your body; many people like to imagine a certain color light pouring healing energy to each body part. 


After Constructive Rest pose, you can also sit in any comfortable seated pose and practice meditation, mantra, and/or mudra.


Making it more magical:

If you have a mala and a favorite mantra, I find that this is a nice practice to bring calm awareness into your day. For each mala (bead), chant your mantra.

Om Shrim Maha Lakshmiyei Namaha
(chant to Goddess Lakshmi, goddess of abundance and light; for 108 malas, the practice with this mantra is about 10-15 minutes.)


Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
(shanti means peace; for 108 malas, the practice with this mantra is about 2-5 minutes.)



Now, you are ready to start your day!


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This simple sunrise 5-pose practice brings me peace and allows me to bring gentle movement into my body after a night of sleeping.