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Q: It is impossible for me to schedule in much yoga in the morning. What are a few poses that I can practice in a short time each morning and that can help energize my body and mind for the day? <br><i>—Edna</i>
My recommendation is that you do some version of a Sun Salutation in the morning. The Sun Salutes are designed to wake up and energize the body and are also a perfect microcosm of the practice as a whole. What I mean by this is that they include almost all the elements of a complete practice: the linking of breath and movement, forward bending and back bending, a bit of strength work, and a mild inversion.
I suggest that you begin with five to 10 Half Sun Salutes, to get your breath flowing and warm up your joints and spine (initially, you might want to practice the forward bends with the knees bent). Then move into a gentle variation of Sun Salute A, in which you lower to the floor from your knees instead of from Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose). Then take a low Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) instead of Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog). After a couple of these, you can transition into either the classical Sun Salute A or do a few rounds of Sun Salute C, which involves stepping back into low lunges between the vinyasas and can be a nice way to warm up and open your hips and groin.
The main thing is to move slowly and consciously, not pushing to your maximum. Use a steady and smooth Ujjayi breath to link and enliven the poses. If you do about 15 minutes of some form of Sun Salutation and then wind down on your back with a gentle spinal twist, you should feel the benefits of the practice quite tangibly in terms of energy, alertness, and increased range of motion.