I am asked two questions a lot. Like, a lot.
- Do you have a simple and quick 10 minute morning mobility routine?
- What does your morning look like?
The answer to both is actually the same. But before I dive into the goods, let me quickly explain my thinking and how my morning “practice” has evolved.
Sun Salutation Wasn’t A Gimmick
People have always strived to build a better mousetrap as soon as there were proverbial mice. We humans are clever. It has always been so. There are references to the ancient sequence of movements that have become the modern Yoga “Surya Namaskar” or “salutation to the sun” as far back as the 13th century.
In Mark Singleton’s “The Yoga Body”, he argues that the modern version of the ancient morning movement ritual known as Sun Salutation is a bit like “medical gymnastics.” I love this idea, it’s like a minimal-effective dose of a “movement vitamin.” But don’t worry, while I have done my fair share of downward dog in the morning, this early a.m. yoga movement practice didn’t do it for me when it ultimately came down to getting myself prepped for the day. But, let us honor the fact that people have been thinking about this for a minute.
Looking for a better way to get up out of bed, instead of getting on the internet and checking out who hit me, get up!-Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
One reason I practice a quick morning mobility spin up was not because I had some lofty notion of transcendent mind-body integration. Rather, I found out that, sometimes, I just couldn’t get myself appropriately opened up and ready to go at the base of the mountain, or the beach, or the changing room, or in the line of a Spartan Race (like when Spartan founder Joe De Sena suddenly announced we were running in the clothes we were wearing and a full two hours before our official start time.)
I came to realize that if I spent just 10 minutes moving in a time and environment that I could control before it really mattered, I ended up feeling better when it did matter. Like the time I spent two hours sitting in the worst position of all time ever strapped to elite soldier while waiting to jump out of an airplane. Then, I got to perform a “dynamic landing.” Obviously luck played a factor in coming out of that experience unharmed, but at least the landing wasn’t the first time that day I let my brain and body know that I might end up exposing some of my joints and tissues to a significant range of motion.
Reality? Meet Actuality…
Another one of the reasons I’m a big advocate of front loading my day with intentional behaviors is because, as soon as Juliet and I leave the door, it is game on. Our goal is honestly not to set the tone for the day or makes us more grateful or present. Like so many other people struggling to manage the details of work/family/kids/friends/life, we often have to surrender our best-laid plans to the reality of our full lives. We do, however, feel like we have some modicum of control over our lives right up until we have to leave the house. On days when the schedule collapses in on us into catastrophic mayhem, we still feel like we’ve engaged in some movement/physical practice. This means, tomorrow when the window opens for us to actually move, we will be more easily ready to quickly spin up and go. I also add in 10-15 min of soft tissue mobilization before I go to sleep on these compressed and overly complicated days and you end up with behavior book ends (spin up before I leave the house and rolling out when before I close my eyes) that add up to some solid input to the body.
So Here Is Your 10 Minute Morning Mobility Routine:
For the next seven days choose one or the other each day:
1. Breathing Practice Spin-Up
2. The Lower Body Spin-Up
Do them both. Alternate. Choose the one that is more difficult and makes you uncomfortable.
It won’t matter. What matters is that you leave the house, ready.