This dynamic sequence will help you wake up in the morning and face the day.
The majority of us sleep in a curled-up position and have a tendency to remain in one spot for most of the night. This dynamic morning practice is meant to unravel all the stiffness that sleep delivers. It includes thigh stretches and side stretches, shoulder openers, and backbends—which will help give you an added energy boost.
You’ll begin with Sun Salutations. These moving meditations are a perfect way to welcome the day, follow your breath, and stretch your body. Sun Salutes help me open my shoulders and stretch my hamstrings, while also building my core, arm, and back muscles each morning.
Use this practice to wake up and enter the rest of your day with your best foot forward. Keep a strap or towel handy in case you feel stiff in your shoulders and could use a prop.
Use this practice to find strength and empowerment in your own political path, especially when things get overwhelming.
As a yoga teacher living in Washington, DC, I see a lot of people attempting to change the world for the better. With a two-party system, it’s hard to see eye-to-eye with the other side and it’s easy to feel like we’re heading into conflict each and every day. It’s important for yoga practitioners to focus on the one thing that we know for sure that we can change: ourselves.
The feeling of dealing with things as they are—even when we don’t like how they are—is a skill I call distress tolerance. In this political climate, yoga functions as a powerful ally when running headlong into the struggle to affect positive change.
This sequence focuses on strong holds to harness calm in your nervous system and build strength and flexibility. By approaching these postures consistently, you’ll build acceptance of your body as it is, and become appreciative of incremental changes as you become both stronger and more flexible.
A consistent practice of yoga has a tendency to highlight both the beautiful and the humbling aspect of the human condition. By going about a daily practice, we begin to develop a radical acceptance of things as they are—not how we want them to be. And by accepting things as they are, we can then begin to use the tools in our toolkit to help curate change in the direction we envision.
Michael Joel Hall is an Ashtanga Yoga teacher based in Washington, DC.