You might be sore some mornings because of how you slept, what you ate, how hydrated you are (or aren’t) and a myriad of other reasons. Most often, some simple movements can make a huge difference in how alert, supple, and ready you feel at the start of your day.

Three areas of the body that are extremely helpful to work with are the feet, hips, and shoulders. Everything we do starts with the feet as they are made up of massive numbers of nerves, bones and muscles. Feet provide balance and our ability to react to the ground, so our every step and action depend on them. Our hips and shoulders are like the Panama Canal of our body, regulating through their stiffness or openness just how much fluid, nutrition and energy flow through our torso to our limbs.dong fang qi mo

By waking up your feet, hips and shoulders in every conceivable direction through self-care massage and multi-directional movements, you can arouse your entire nervous system and increase blood circulation and nutrition flow through your whole body.

Isn’t that what waking up is supposed to do? I think so too. By the way, open feet, hips and shoulder also means you’ll feel less fatigue all day and less pain as your body experiences less internal resistance. Sign me up!

You can also use your breath as a means to wake up your body and start your day right. The video posted below shows the Yoga Tune Up® 3 Step Breath (and you can also see it and more in the 10 Minute Quick Fix Yoga for Stress Relief video here) that will help start your day with a clear and refreshed mind.

Watch our stress relief videos instantly.

Read how to breath away stress.

Learn about Yoga Tune Up at home.

Alex Iglecia

Alex Iglecia is an experienced body-mind coach, trainer, teacher and innovator in the San Francisco Bay Area, focusing on the intersection of conscious movement, transformative practices, yoga, and effective action in a purpose-filled life. His background includes engineering, graphic and presentation design, yoga and body-mind research, psychology of effective hand-to-hand combat, lots of study, strong project management and events planning, outreach, and much more. For more about me or to view my Yoga Tune Up® class schedule go here or visit my website at You can also follow me on twitter.

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I can see what he means by waking up and feeling creaky depending upon hydration and nutrition. When I had less water the day prior, I defintely feel dry when I wake up! I’ll incorporate the breathing in the morning and even after a long day.


The first thing we do when we get out of bed is make contact with the earth through the surface of the foot. It’s our first point of contact and the base of support for our shoulders and hips. Morning is a time when the body feels that overnight fuzz and a great opportunity to buzz the fuzz with a set of TYU balls and asana with breath.


Every morning before I get out of bed I slowly and consciously inhale and exhale deeply about ten times. Then I do Apanasana, Happy Baby (extending my spine, particularly to counteract being in bed), a supine Upavista Konasna (also extending the spine), rolling my ankles in both directions, and then Ardha Apanasana into a twist on both sides. It wakes my body and brain, and helps me start the day connected. I generally wouldn’t recommend doing these things in bed as mattresses tend not to be even, and especially if the mattress is soft. But I have an even and… Read more »

Vrinda Liza Eapen

I love this breath exercise. It really relaxes the nerves and melts tension. I will start practicing it in the morning,

Dolores Little

In the last year, I have awakened almost every morning with soreness / stiffness in my lower back, hips, knees, ankles and shoulders. After 10-15 minutes of moving around the house, the soreness and stiffness are gone. I know I don’t drink enough water each day (how DO you drink 8 glasses of water a day when you’re never thirsty??), but I never once imagined that my morning stiff joints could be linked with dehydration! Thanks for the suggestion.


I always wake up with stiffness so this is great advice. I have never put much thought into stretching the feet but it makes sense.


can’t wait to try this- stiffness in the morning can set the tone for a whole day and i would love to change that feeling of immobility. thanks.


i will be trying this as i get up pretty stiff and would love to see a change. do you have any suggestions for preventing severe thigh cramps?


i will be trying this as i get up pretty stiff and would love to see a change. do you have any suggestions for preventing sever thigh cramps?

mariana m

this breathing pranayama in the morning allows me to be in the present moment and after I can map out what my intention for the day is going to be (Sankalpa) and when I practice it I feel a quality of calm trough out my day as well.

laura mcintire

My low back can be pretty sensitive and I often find the bolster under my knees doesn’t quite get me out of the discomfort. I recently discovered that placing the bolster on top of two bricks does the trick.

Janet Berkowitz

This is almost like the sequence that Jill did in class today during Shavasana with a block under our sacrum. She did it today with one extra inhalation!
This is a great way to awaken the diaphragm to increase your breathing throughout the rest of the day.
It is also a way to bring you into focus at the beginning of a class, or to calm you down at the end of class!

Christina Powers

How you wake up the next day depends on so many things the day before: your nutrition, hydration levels, the exercise you did, the non-movement stuff you did (driving, sitting, computer posture!), body mechanics with your daily life, etc. Overnight, stiffness can occur in the joints and the muscles because they have been immobile most of the night (unless you are a wild sleeper!). Its a wonderful idea to move the body before you wake up and especially the diaphragm with the 3 part breath to set yourself up for another day with your body. You only have one body… Read more »


I recently concluded a Mommy and me class with a 5 minute foot massage on a Yoga Tune Up ball and even with several toddlers creating all kinds of havoc in the room the parents were surprised by how fluffy and relaxed their feet felt. Priceless.


Good advice, especially since I am usually extra inflexible in the morning!

Sherry Matwe

Alex, I added the 3 part breath to my toes, feet, hips, shoulder goodmorning time and love this 3 part breath! It’s addictive I used to use as previously posted to fall into myself. But!!! I am using it now in place of mantra at times! If I am trying to stay away from salt, or thinking wrong thoughts I start this breath and it’s like a reset. I started doing this warm up with the breath last week before my morning walk the dog with my husband and I felt incredible plus it’s like my body maped this feeling… Read more »

Sherry Matwe

Wow Morning definetly a good time to realize what you did to yourself the day before. Some times when I get up my feet feel like loaves of bread ha. I love starting to warm up with feet movement, then hips then a few forward bends before surye namaskar a. I couldn’t imagine making my body move with out starting at the extremities espeically in the am. This 3 part breath was always somthing I did at the begining of my classes so the yogi’s could fall into themselfs before we started Asana. I find the long exhale allows everyone… Read more »


I think it also feels really good to do a little spinal flexion and extension (like cat cow) in the morning as it feels like it prepares me for the day.


This is cute, no one wants to feel stiff at the best of times, thanks for highlighting this and making some good recommendations.
I use a very simplistic stretch each morning that Indra Davis encouraged….Lying on your back arms by your side, stretch one leg towards the bottom of the bed, hold for 5-10 breaths, release then repeat on the other side. Do the same with the arms, then instead of leaping out of bed, rise SLOWLY. Stand on your feet in tadasana even just for a minute. Then your day can commence.

Dinneen Viggiano

Three Part Breathing takes great concentration and coordination at first. But over time – even within a ten minute session, we become more comfortable with splitting the breath in three parts, I call it “Budgeting the Breath”. As we retain the breath at the top, we become more familiar with those moments of stillness within ourselves and eventually, those pauses grow longer and more easeful. It becomes an interesting game, to play with controlling the breath in Three Part Breathing and we become more familiar with our own limitations – both of mind and body are. Eventually, we build familiarity… Read more »


For foot stretches, what do you recommend beyond rising onto toes and sitting back on feet with toes to the mat?


I will definitely try this out in the morning. I know using my Yoga Tune p balls at night, especially on my feet, not only feel good at the end of the day, but has helped me have a longer uninterrupted sleep.


I actually am a morning person, but I have been having trouble starting sun salutations first thing in the morning. I feel like I need to take a walk to get my blood flowing before I can dive into my sun salutations…but since I do not have enough time to take a walk, salute the sun and make it to my job all before 8 am I need to try something different! This article highlights quick and easy ways to wake up my feet and get my body prepared for my morning practice and my day ahead. Your advice offers… Read more »


What a great reminder in this world of dynamic motion that simply tuning in to our breath is a total stimulating exercise. Most everyone can take notice and add more breath to each and every movement and moment of our day.

Kyoko Jasper

Sadly, as we we get older we seem to loose so much fluid from our jjoints. Waking up in the morning is not so much fun anymore.
Having a routine to prepare your body and breath sounds like a great way, Thank you for sharing Alex!


For me having a bolster or pillow under my knees makes all the difference. So relaxing!

Elizabeth E

Thanks for the article. I appreciate having 3 areas to focus on in the morning. Seems much more manageable,


good demo. this helps with my hip pain and also warms up my body in the morning.


For me there’s no better way to start the day than yoga…makes everything feel better…body, mind and soul!

Kim C

I love the morning but I notice if I use Yoga Tune Up balls or do any sort of yoga in the morning, it always makes it a better day. I love that yoga can help arouse your entire nervous system and increase blood circulation, I can’t imagine a better way to start the morning!


Alex – I have been stretching my hips and shoulders since I took Jill Miller’s Anatomy Tune Up class and it has made a difference in how I feel sitting mos tof the day, but I never thought to stretch out my feet. what specific stretches do you recommend? – Thanks

Elizabeth S.

I can’t wait to try this one tomorrow morning!

And thank you Alex, for mentioning many factors that can result in soreness. (More hydration for me tonight).


This is a great routine to start the day! I, too, have stretched every morning since learning about the “fuzz”!


Sounds like a great idea to add to the morning routine.

Jaime S

The 3 Step Breath is very calming. I will be adding it to my list of pranayama.

Laura H.

So simple. A morning routine can sometimes seem daunting and I end up skipping it altogether. Focusing on just three areas (feet, hips, shoulders) makes it much more doable!


I have stretched every morning since taking Jill’s anatomy class and learning about the “fuzz”. It is a great way to start the day!


I find it so fascinating that focusing on the breath can be used to either down-regulate or wake up. I guess your intention and need has as much to do with the result as the practice.


Thanks for posting your comments everyone.
I’m curious – how is it going for you?


Thanks for the tips. I need all the help I can get waking up in the morning! I will start the morning tomorrow with opening my feet, hips and shoulders.


Makes sense to wake up your pelvic girdle and shoulders in the morning – parts of your body that are “used” while sleeping and so important to be alert, supple, and ready start of your day.

Susan Cooper

To me, the feet and shoulders have always seemed to be the most obvious focal points in the morning for relieving stiffness. I honestly had not thought of adding hip movements to my morning wake-up routine, which after reading your blog entry seems basic for improving digestion and circulation. Thanks, Jill!

Lauren Iden

I often wake up with stiff hips, so it’s an obvious area to bring movement to upon waking. It hasn’t occurred to me, though, to stimulate the feet and shoulders. But of course I should nurture my feet every day – they’re my foundation!


I have knew that tight joints could affect the flow of nutriion in my body. I need to stretch & move!


This sounds like a great way to awaken and energize the body in the morning. I’m not a morning person so I should definitely try this!

Joe Matson

I start the day with some pranayama, Balasana and Apanasana. I should add some shoulders and hips!


I’m always looking for reasons to prolong my morning wake-up routine, and this is a great one.


I agree with Liz! This seems like a logical way to ease into the day that not only allows a moment of meditation and pranayama awakening, but also will open the hips and prepare our hearts for being open to all that the day will bring. Great video!

Leigh Bailey

I have that outfit in the video. I love Lululemon.


Good advice to think about every morning. thanks!