10-minute morning yoga practice for stretching the whole body

June 30, 2023 0 Comments

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Shortly after I started sharing yoga practices on YouTube, students started asking about certain types of practices. To my surprise, 90 percent of the inquiries seemed to be about 10-minute morning yoga sessions. It’s clear that people have realized the impact even a little yoga can have on their day.

Yes, by taking the time to do a quick 10-minute morning yoga class, you will be able to overcome any aches and pains that arose during the night. Think of it as part of your routine, like brushing your teeth. But morning yoga is more than just spine movement, muscle stretching and joint care.

Taking even a few minutes for yourself reminds you to put your needs first. As a mindfulness practice, yoga is a way to hold a mirror up to yourself and dig deeper into your emotional body so you can ask, how am I feeling? Where do I feel really energized and good? Where could I use a little more attention?

It also creates space for you to choose an intention related to how you want to feel. What kind of day do you want to have? What are you looking forward to experiencing? Use your intention as an anchor point that you can return to during your yoga practice and throughout the day, especially when you’re waiting in traffic, sitting in meetings, or taking care of your children. Keep coming back to it. When needed, ask how else can you take care of yourself today?

10-minute morning yoga practice for stretching the whole body

It’s amazing how just a little yoga can make a difference. I hope the following 10-minute morning yoga practices will help you better prepare for the day ahead.

Cassandra Reinhardt teaches a 10-minute morning yoga session

Stretching the neck

Start in a comfortable sitting position, whatever that looks like for you. Sit tall through your spine, drop your shoulders away from your ears and start with your chin parallel to the floor. Bring the left ear down to the left shoulder, reaching across the right side of the neck. Let your head be heavy. If you want to go further, you can slide your right fingertip away from you and to the side. Take 3-5 breaths here, softening the jaw and connecting to the breath. Release and lift your head back to center. Switch sides, bringing your right ear down to your right shoulder.

Return to center and lengthen through the spine. Set your intention for the next day.

Cassandra Reinhardt teaches cow pose in yoga
(Photo: Cassandra Reinhardt)


While sitting, go on your hands and knees to a tabletop position with your knees under your hips. Spread your fingertips wide so that your middle and index fingers point toward the top of the mat. As you inhale, lower your stomach and look up in cow pose.

Cassandra Reinhardt teaches cat pose on a yoga mat
(Photo: Cassandra Reinhardt)

Exhale and round the spine, pulling the chin to the chest in a cat. Take 3 more rounds of Cat and Cow.

Cassandra Reinhardt teaches the Gate Pose Variation.
(Photo: Cassandra Reinhardt)

Pull the thread into the needle with a variation of the “Gate” pose.

Extend your right leg off the table straight out to the side so that your ankle, knee and hip are in line. Press all four corners of your right foot into the floor. Reach your left arm toward the sky, then exhale and extend your left arm under you, pressing your left shoulder and ear to the mat. If it is within grasping distance, you can grasp the big toe of the right foot with the left toes. Your right hand can push into the mat, you can come up onto your toes, or you can bend your right elbow and pull your right arm behind your back for a nice spinal rotation. Try to relax your neck. This variation of Threading a Needle in Gate Pose is one of my favorite things to do in the morning.

Cassandra Reinhardt practices a side stretch on a yoga mat
(Photo: Cassandra Reinhardt)

Lateral stretching of the body

With Thread the Needle, push your right hand into the mat and bring your left hand up to the sky again before lowering it to the mat. Bring the right leg behind you and cross the right leg over the left, taking it as far to the left as possible. Try to look over your left shoulder and stretch your body to the side.

Cassandra Reinhard practices lizard pose
(Photo: Cassandra Reinhardt)

Out of the lizard

As you perform a side stretch, extend your right leg straight out behind you and step forward with your right foot next to the outer edge of your right arm into a lizard pose. Lower your back knee to the mat. Place your left knee and place the blocks under your palms, if that’s more convenient. Focus on lifting your heart and lowering your hips.

Cassandra Reinhardt teaches yoga in twisting lunges
(Photo: Cassandra Reinhardt)

Low lunge twist

From Lizard, curl your toes on your back, lift your back knee off the mat, and keep your left hand on the mat as you extend your right arm up. Look up only if it’s convenient. Press on the left big toe of the left foot to keep from rolling to the outer edge of the rear foot. Breathe into your twist.

Cassandra Reinhardt trains a fluffy dog
(Photo: Cassandra Reinhardt)

Downward facing dog

With a low twist in the lunge, exhale as you lower your right hand to the mat and lift your hips into First Downward Dog. First thing in the morning, it will be better for you to place your feet hip-width apart. Twist your legs, bending one leg and straightening the other, drawing the lower abdomen to the lower back. Gently shake your head and get rid of any kinks in your neck. Take a deep breath and exhale through your nose.

Return the knees to the mat in Tabletop. And find your needle thread and Gate pose on the other side. Continue with side body stretches, lizards, low lunge twists, and downward dog.

Cassandra Reinhardt teaches yoga during a 10-minute morning yoga practice
(Photo: Cassandra Reinhardt)

Lean forward while standing

From Down Dog, bring your hands to the back of the mat and take a ragdoll fold as you transition to standing forward bend. Your knees can bend a lot, and you can allow your belly to rest against your thighs, perhaps holding on to opposite elbows and rocking slightly from side to side. This can be helpful if your hamstrings are very tight in the morning.

Cassandra Reinhardt teaches squat yoga
(Photo: Cassandra Reinhardt)


Leaning forward, bring your fingertips to the mat. Turn your toes out slightly, bend your knees, drop your hips and squat. Join your hands near your heart, spread your knees a little wider with your elbows. Extend across the spine.

Cassandra Reinhardt practices plank pose during a 10-minute morning yoga class on YouTube
(Photo: Cassandra Reinhardt)

Off the board

Release your palms on the mat. Extend your arms forward and straighten your legs to get into a plank pose. Stretch the shoulder blades down the back. Breathe in and out into your lower abdomen and stay strong through your heart.

Cassandra Reinhardt practices and teaches Sphinx Pose
(Photo: Cassandra Reinhardt)

Outside the sphinx

From the Plank, drop to the mat, stand on your forearms, and point your toes straight back as you assume Sphinx Pose. Bring your elbows slightly in front of your shoulders, pull your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together to lift your chest a little higher. Take a big breath into your heart and exhale to let go.

Cassandra Reinhardt teaches Child's Pose during a 10-minute morning yoga class
(Photo: Cassandra Reinhardt)

Child’s pose

From Sphinx Pose, press your hips back into Child’s Pose. Bring your big toes together and spread your knees as wide as you want. Extend your arms forward and bend your chest toward the mat. Take 5 deep breaths.

Cassandra Reinhardt practices a comfortable seated position with her eyes closed at the end of a 10-minute morning yoga class
(Photo: Cassandra Reinhardt)

Comfortable seat

From Child’s Pose, bring your hands to your chest and bring your knees together. Sit comfortably, kneeling or cross-legged, and close your eyes.

From this space of clarity, notice how you feel now, as opposed to when you first stepped onto the mat at the beginning of your 10-minute morning yoga practice. Scan your body, your thoughts and feelings. Let this be the base level you return to throughout the day.

About our contributor

Cassandra Reinhardt is an Ottawa-based Yin Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga instructor whose YouTube channel has grown to 2.1 million subscribers and over 230 million views. Cassandra recently launched her yoga journal under the guidance of, My Yoga Journey: Journal with instructions, and her daily deck of confirmation cards, I radiate joy.

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