Life can get hectic. Work, phone calls, kids, catching up with friends, carving out time for spouses, enjoying meals, and everything in between can make it feel like the days fly by. When things are particularly busy, it’s sometimes easier to go on autopilot, reacting to events and responsibilities rather than being present and prepared to move throughout the day with mindfulness.
Often the only constant in our busy lives is mornings. Schedules and responsibilities may vary wildly from day-to-day, but every day starts the same: You wake up. This consistent context is the best time and environment to create and maintain habits, whether it’s drinking coffee, meditating in bed, or writing in a journal. The point is to create a morning ritual that sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you have a calm, happy morning, you’re far more likely to have a calm, happy day.
But just as you align your thoughts with meditation or journaling, it is as important to align your body to prepare for the day.
The Benefits of Alignment
Ideally, the body should be a symmetrical unit. The load-bearing joints (shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles) should be even and balanced. But environmental influences (sitting, injuries, lack of diverse movement) causes our musculature and skeleton to shift into asymmetrical positions. Your spine settles into a hunched, C-shape from sitting at a desk all day, and your shoulder punches forward in your morning run to make up for your misaligned hip. All these compensations come at a cost. When the body is out of whack, overall wellness suffers.
However, when your body is in alignment, your various interconnected systems—digestive, nervous, and lymph—function more smoothly. Alignment can do wonders for energy too. When you remove postural limitations such as an out of whack shoulder or a creaky hip, oxygen can flow more freely through the body. Adjustments in posture have even been shown to improve headaches, sleep, and mood.
Quick Start for a Better Day
Elev8d Fitness, the new home workout program from the experts at Sonima, is an alignment-based method that focuses on form and quality of moment. The exercises are designed to re-establish your body’s symmetrical posture and natural range of motion.
The short alignment sequence below is the perfect way to wake up the body and activate the deep stabilizing muscles. Each exercise gently activates the hips and spine, expands the diaphragm, and eases the shoulders back into a straight and open posture.
In just a few minutes, your blood will be pumping, releasing endorphins, the feel-good hormone. The Squat exercise will activate the hips to establish a healthy S-shape in the spine, a crucial reset if you plan to be sitting in a chair for most of the day. And you’ll love Shadow Boxing. It’s nearly impossible to pop around on your toes and box an imaginary opponent without a smile on your face!
Even better, research shows that it’s the initiation of an exercise activity that solidifies the habit, not the execution. In other words, once you stand up and decide to exercise, the rest is more or less an automated follow-through. So start every day with an 8-, 16-, or 24-minute Elev8d Fitness workout, and you may soon find yourself looking forward to waking up and working out. It not only boosts energy and puts you in a great mindset for the day, it’s also fun!
Active Cows Face | 5x Per Side
- Place your feet fist-width apart and point them straight ahead; you may even pigeon-toe them slightly.
- Move your right arm toward your head and reach to the center of the back while you, simultaneously, bring your left arm up from the hip to the center of the back, getting the fingers as close to touching as possible.
- Return arms to their original position then repeat process with opposite arms, bringing the left to the center of the back from above, the right from beneath.
Active Squat | 5x
- Spread your feet just wider than your hips and point your toes straight ahead.
- Extend your arms directly in front of you, palms down.
- Drop your hips into the squat but keep your pelvis rolled forward so that there’s a small arch in your back—this arch is crucial!
- Slowly return to standing.
Shadow Boxing | 30 Seconds
- Stagger your legs with one foot forward, one foot back.
- Shuffle the feet and switch foot position consistently.
- Simultaneously throw punches with alternating fists, keeping your hands up near the head.
Transform your body and start every day off right in a little as 8 minutes a day! Try the innovative Weight-Loss Workout Series to boost energy, feel lighter, and look leaner with no radical changes to your diet.