Naomi Shon/Camille Styles
There are no shortcuts on the journey to a healthy physique—but there are certain high-efficiency exercises that come pretty close. We seek them out in One-Move Wonders, our series about the quick hitters that deliver major results in minimal time, straight from some of the best trainers and fitness experts around the world. Grab your water bottle, amp up your playlist, and let's go!
If you're anything like us, the first thing on your mind when you wake up—after nononononono—is probably caffeine NOW. But what if we told you to pause before stumbling toward the scent of coffee and unroll your yoga mat instead?
That's right—while many of us associate yoga with chilling out rather than revving up, there are actually a number of poses that can provide an instant boost for the mind and body. But to find out which move tops the rest for a much-needed morning jolt, we defaulted to Rachel Brathen, the Insta-yogi you might know better as Yoga Girl.
See the energising move below.
"Purvottanasana, or upward plank, is just as energising as a cup of coffee," says Brathen. But forget the caffeine pangs—what your body is really craving is this head-to-toe, heart-opening stretch, which immediately irons out the kinks from a night's rest. In addition to recalibrating your musculoskeletal system and giving your mood and energy a lift, it also strengthens the legs, core, and shoulders. Oh, and it's simpler than setting up your drip brew.
Refer to the gif above to see what the pose looks like and check out Brathen's detailed instructions below.
- Come to a seated position with your legs extended in front of you. Place your hands a few inches behind your hips with your fingers pointing forward toward your toes.
- Exhale and ground the soles of your feet down to the earth as you press your hands down against the floor, and start lifting your hips. Press your shoulder blades against your back torso to support the lift of your chest. Engage the back of your legs and keep pressing the inner feet down onto the ground. If possible, ground your toes as well.
- Gently drop your head back if it feels good—your call.
- Hold for a few breaths and then sit back down with an exhale.
More sleep-related struggles? On the flip side, this yoga pose can help you fall asleep. And tell us: What's your favourite way to start the day on a good note—sans caffeine?