Heaven is for those who do elbow bridge planks first thing in the morning.
Right after I moved into my current apartment I started doing a new morning routine. Based on my experience the best moment to put habits into practice is when you have big changes in your life. Your subconscious is in unknown territory and it’s really easy to imprint new habits.
Back on topic this is what I’m doing every morning:
1. Green Drink
Prepare my green drink of the day which contains:
– 500ml of filtered or mineral water
– a spoon of a food supplement that contains pulverized wheat grass, barley grass and alfalfa.
– a squeezed lemon (59 cents lemon by the way, fruits are as cheap here as in Japan)
I will then drink it drink through the following exercises.
I will devote a whole post to this topic but the idea is to lower your acidic level and become more alkaline so that you lose fat, your stamina, energy and strength increases and your immune system becomes stronger.
It is difficult to measure the impact of this alone because it’s not the only thing I do to make my body more alkaline but the fact is that my body fat composition has gone down from 14% in June 2010 to 7.2% today. What I do have noticed since I started doing it is that my brain is more sharp in the morning.
2. Exercise to awaken the digestive system
After 8h of rest there is nothing like a good gentle massage to your digestive system to get it moving.
What many ads promise: regularity.
3. Pranayama (breathing) exercises
– 3 sets of Kapalabhati with 60 repetitions, 120 repetitions and 180 repetitions.
– 3 sets of Anuloma Viloma (only during weekends as they require more time).
All done while siting in padmasana.
We are breathing all the time. We get a lot of energy out of air. Kapalabhati helps you awaken faster due to its fast cycle of inhalations and exhalations and it alsobrings a lot of oxygen into the body and, specially to the brain.
Having more oxygen in the body and in the brain means a better functioning system and more effective. It also cleanses the respiratory system but throwing away mucus and other substances that might have accumulated during the night. And finally it feels to your brain like washing your face with refreshing cold water in the morning.
4. Short yoga session
– Full body muscle contraction/relax cycles from the toes to the neck.
– Half Spinal Twist (first animation).
– Bridge pose.
Again, we are waking up. Besides the nice feeling of stretching in the morning some of the exercises have additional benefits that I won’t go into detail here. I try to cover all major muscles with these exercises but during weekends I practice more asanas.
Standing on your head gets a lot of blood flowing through your brain. The whole body feels lighter after having it stretched, the risk of injuries from fast movements is decreased throughout the day and as I mentioned before it each pose has additional specific benefits. Although the session is not as beneficial as it would be if I spent more time on the exercises it’s better than not doing any stretching at all.
5. Abdominal and pilates super sets
I do 3 sets of the following 2 different routines. I do routine 1 even days and routine 2 odd days and I only rest after doing a complete set of each exercise. E.g. I will do 1 set of oblique crunches, another of crunches, another of side planks, another of elbow bridge plank and then rest for 1min or so (excellent moments to iron your trousers or to make your bed but whatever happens don’t turn on the computer and for God’s sake don’t check your email!).
Oblique crunches: 25 repetitions per side
Crunches: 50 repetitions.
Side plank: 15 repetitions per side
Elbow bridge plank: 15 repetitions.
Legs lift: 25 repetitions.
Crunches: 50 repetitions.
Side plank: hold for as long as you can.
Elbow bridge plank: hold for as long as you can.
The abs exercises because: 1) we have a lot of organs after the abdominal exercises and there is no protection from the front, 2) it helps me to detach from my body (it’s hard), 3) after getting through the whole thing breakfast feels like a godsend and there is nothing like a godsend to start the day. The plank exercises because the effect they have on my back is incredible. After doing them it feels like my center of gravity is strongly set on my waist. Compared to how I feel when I don’t do the plank exercises it is like comparing a strawman with ironman.
Feeling like ironman early in the morning, feeling like I have done something impossible before breakfast (5 more impossible things to go) and looks nice on the mirror.
And some people look at me in awe when I tell them that I don’t drink coffee. Who needs coffee with this?
The whole routine takes me about 40min.
Do you have a morning routine?