Wake Up with Yoga Tune Up

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Earlier this week, I wrote about why I like to roll out first thing in the morning. Not sure where to start your own morning YTU routine? Keep reading, and I’ll explain which parts of my body I address and how I do so.

Diaphragm Mobilization – (2 minutes)

First, I take the Coregeous® ball that I keep in my bedroom, lie face down over the ball and start doing some gentle gut work to mobilize my diaphragm. Place the Coregeous ball on your navel, inhale your abdomen into the ball and hold your breath (without tension) at the top of the inhale. Contract and tighten your core while holding your breath for 5 to 10 seconds and then exhale and allow the ball to sink in. Repeat for 5 to 10 breaths.

After contracting and relaxing, I roll onto my back and pin the ball onto a few spots on my upper back and side body. The magic comes when you spin your body on top of the ball while maintaining pressure at a single spot to gently wind and twirl your tissues around the ball. I continue to breathe as deeply as I can into these areas. This sequence helps reset my abdominal-thoracic breathing, which – when available via a mobile diaphragm – helps me regulate my energy and emotions better throughout the day. Your breath is so intimately tied in with the rest of your musculature, proper breathing is absolutely essential for your health.

Neck-Trap-Back Relax – (2 minutes)

Next, I grab a pair of YTU Balls (any size will do) and use them in their tote to loosen up my neck and upper back. I usually do a version of YTU’s “Loosen the Noose” (see page 274 in The Roll Model), spending a couple of slow minutes rolling up and down the back of the ribcage on the floor, raising and lowering my arms as I go.

Maybe it’s the Subclavius – (1 minute)

Finally, I roll back onto my front-body, untote my YTU balls (or use an ALPHA ball), and use one at a time on my subclavius –a small and somewhat buried muscle. I find that while I rarely feel discomfort there, massaging it can do wonders in terms of resetting my breathing and chest/shoulder posture.

While 5 minutes is my recommended morning dose of pre-morning rolling, that doesn’t mean you can’t invest more than 5 minutes on this work! If you have 10, 15, or even 20 minutes for it, you won’t be disappointed. It also doesn’t mean you should avoid rolling if you don’t have a full 5 minutes. Two minutes of self-care is surely better than zero –two minutes every day adds up a lot over time. Enjoy your new morning routine. If you’re already rolling in the morning, what’s your go-to spot? Let me know in the comments below!


Build a daily routine with sequences found in Jill Miller’s book, The Roll Model: A Step-by-Step Guide to Erase Pain, Improve Mobility, and Live Better in Your Body

Enjoyed this article? Read Integrating YTU Therapy Balls into Your Daily Routine

Max Bayuk

As a competitive high school athlete, Max developed several chronic over-use injuries that left him on the sidelines for his senior year. His journey of fixing these injuries over the past 6 years has taught him the value in integrating one's movement practice -- be it sports, yoga, or any other kind of exercise -- with body work. He has developed a passion for self-myofascial release and its therapeutic effects, especially in combination with strategic stretching, correct posture, and a balanced lifestyle. Max completed his 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training through YogaWorks while at school at UC Santa Barbara in spring 2013, and is now combining his athletic background with his knowledge of yoga, Yoga Tune Up®, and embodied anatomy.

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Jenn Austin

Favourite points:
1) “Your breath is so intimately tied in with the rest of your musculature, proper breathing is absolutely essential for your health.”
2) ” Two minutes of self-care is surely better than zero” Instead of an all-or-nothing attitude I lived with for years, I am learning “some or none,” some always being better than none at all. I am a work in progress 😉

Cindy Lou Kelley

Starting the day with a few minutes of rolling is so doable. The coregeous ball under the navel, prone, is truly a great was to start the day. Thanks for the inspiration!

Edwina Ferro

This is beautiful and helpful! I love the morning practice with the coregeous ball. It is a simple and yummy practice that helps wake up the thoracic breath! Thank you for reminding us that our breath is so intimately tied in with the rest of our musculature and that proper breathing is absolutely essential for our health. I really enjoy the subclavius roll out and how it can help reset my breathing and posture! Thank you for an easy short and powerful morning routine!

Sun Kim

Yes! If there is any fuzz created by bad sleeping posture or shallow breathing during night time – the first thing you want to do in the morning before loading muscles with new movements is erasing it with tune up balls! I use Tune up balls before & after bedtime!!

Jane Thibodeau

Max! I love a good morning routine and had never considered incorporating the balls into mine. Thanks so much for sharing your sequences, I can’t wait to try this out.

Katherine Streeton

I’ve been using Yoga Tune Up Therapy balls in the upper back/trapezius and subclavius for 2-3 minutes total prior to each lifting session in the gym. It may not sound like a lot but I definitely agree that it adds up over time and that 2 minutes is better than zero! I loved both parts of this post. I can’t wait to start my own YTU morning routine!


Unfortunately, I roll when I am hurting, except in the mornings. I just never feel I have time to do this because in my mind, I need to spend 30- 45 minutes. You are absolutely right that any amount of time is better than no time. Just because I know what a mess I am in the morning, I think this will be something I do against the wall.

Rita Chow

I’ve never thought of using the YTU balls to wake up and energise the body. Isn’t it amazing what you can do to your body and nervous system with movements and balls? By changing the environment/ intention/ orientation/ breathing patterns etc, you can easily go from down to up-regulating the body. (or the other way round!)

Ashley Burger

This seems like a few very approachable exercises to put into my daily routine! I just got the coreageous ball and the diaphragm breathing will be my first to try.


I roll every night before i go to bed to release and reset the muscles because I have exhausted them during the day. I have never think of doing this the first thing in the morning! I can feel my body being energised only by reading this. Gonna try it tomorrow to kick off my day!

Peter Southall

Thanks for more ideas for using the balls.

Alison Quinn

I’ll have to set my alarm a few minutes earlier! What a great way to start each day with a little self-care. I really like that you mentioned 2 minutes is better than nothing and to just fit in what you can – I have a very busy house in the morning and struggle to find a few minutes to set myself up well for the upcoming day.

Tammy abresch

Thank you for the wonderful morning routine.

Tammy abresch

I look forward to the YTU courageous ball training and will probably use this sequence before then. Thank you


My practice in the morning is quick but most important for my health.
The first thing is mobilize the diaphram using the Coreageous ball, after i love to massage my belly brain getting releasing any tension that may be held there, and lying on my back with the ball under my upper back which helps me to open my chest and improving more mobility in the thoracic spine, helping me with daily practice.


Thanks for sharing your healthy breathing exercises. I received 2 therapy balls from my 3 days Yoga TuneUp class. This daily morning routine seems very helpful.
My wonder if I need to get a pair of larger size therapy balls…? The pair I got feel to small and stiff. I like to do it on the floor than on the wall.

Annette Kraemer-Batosic

The Alpha is me best buddy.Since I got diagnosed with an issue in my pelvis due to a fall from a horse, my body is compensating the pain and I got some shoulder pain. I started rolling the trapezius, teres minor, infraspinatus, and the deltoids in bed before I go to sleep and that’s how I wake up. Using the Alpha with a good stretch does the trick.

Renee Bolan

I often try to workout and use my tune up balls first thing in the morning. I’ll definitely try this routine next week!


Thank you for this sequence. I will try it over the next week and determine how my breath, nervous system and pain changes!

Anik B

Psoas is my favorite one after my belly 🙂


I will definatly try this!! Thx a bunch!!

Robert Ouellet

Bonne journée
Thank for your very good idea to start a day. Normally i use a traversin but the courageous ball look very interesting and intriguing. I will try that before my meditation routine…I will see and will come back here to explain that experience….

Posture Corrector

Been using this routine for a week now, will report back with what changes it has caused!


What a great way to start the day! It look forward to trying this routine of self care first thing in morning when getting up. Thank you for the suggestions.


thanks for sharing this great article.
I really like your morning routine and I will keep in mind your advice

Maddy MacKenzie

Great idea to use the courageous ball in the morning! Starting your day by getting in touch with your belly ( a place that is so often avoided), not only does it help regulate energy and emotions but it also feels so damn good!

Juan Pablo

Great way to start the day, I like to tell my self that it’s more beneficial to roll or stretch for 5 minutes when I wake up than a 5 minutes snooze!

Anetta Tsints

Hey Max,

After reading your post I bought the ball and followed your instructions for diaphragm mobilization, but when I do this exercise my upper back and shoulder hurt. I am normally wearing a shoulder brace to alleviate pain from a softball injury. Is there an alternative exercise which would be equally as effective?




My 2 favourite ways to use the Coreageous ball, to massage the belly brain getting the digestion moving and releasing any anxiety that may be held there, and lying on my back with the ball under my upper back which helps me to gain more mobility in my thoracic spine, helping me with my backbends and energizing me for the day with spine extension. A great way to start your day!!

Gabriela Rodriguez

I loved the idea of using the Coregeous Ball to roll; pin and spin your upper back and sides first thing in the morning. I sometimes do just a quick roll on my belly but, I will try your recommendation of rolling all of the stiff/slept fascia from all night right there in the morning. This idea reminded me of Gil Hedley’s “Fuzz Spreech” video, about melting the fuzz created from one night sleep and what a great way to do it by rolling it away gently, deeply and successfully with the Coregeous Ball. Thank you.


I’ve never tried a morning routine first thing when I get out of bed. I like these ideas and plan to try and take 5 minutes and try them. I’ll let you know how it goes! I teach a 6 a.m. yoga class and these ideas would be nice to try in class as well.

Vickie Chartrand

Quelle belle façon de commencer la journée! J’ai fait la routine ce matin et c’est certain que je vais la refaire. Je me sentie si détendu et légerte après. ?


Hey Max! What a great idea to do this right away when you wake up. I usually do a morning practice and I really like how your idea of working with the Coreagous ball. I know that I have used one in the past and I think I will begin to integrate this into my morning practice as well. Thank you!

Jennifer Strumfeld

I enjoyed your Creep as You Sleep post and then this follow-up, Wake Up. Your joy and commitment to self-care and rolling is infectious. I do many of the same quick fixes in the morning, though I am addicted to laying over a rolled-up yoga mat and cant’t make this switch-over to my courgeous ball…old habits are hard dying. I do roll out my upper traps and the rhomboids, and I agree that is a MUST. While I have rolled out pec minor and subclavious (and my absolute favorite part of that sequence is when the ball rolls over the… Read more »

Karen Stillman

I am looking forward to trying this new routine every morning for the next week to see the difference. It is short enough work into the busy schedule! Thanks..

Wendy Rancourt

I just “discovered” my subclavius muscles in YTU teacher training, and was surprised at how sore they were. They will now be regular part of my self-care routine.


I like to roll out my feet in the morning. What a great idea to create a short and easy routine to revisit each morning that also increases my breathability for the day. Taking control of my breathing muscles and posture muscles will be very benificial. I’m going to start. Thank you!

Katy Haldiman, MS, RN

I love this idea for a morning routine. I typically try to focus on a brief meditation and some breath work in the morning, but I will have to give this a try. Thanks for the great tips!

Anne Ondrey

I really like this idea of doing a five minute morning routine to help with breathing and mood – genius! Thanks!

Lisa Pitel-Killah

Great read and what a fantastic idea! I think that we are all so busy we see things much more complicated and time consuming than they really are, I’m going to try your methods! Thanks!


I have avoided morning routines as I am so stiff at that time of day. But you have inspired me to consider diaphragm mobilization when I have a few minutes. Maybe I can work up to doing short ball routines in the morning.


I am so stiff in the mornings that I don’t do any form of exercise in the morning. But I might be able to handle the diaphragm mobilization. Thanks for the idea.

Curtis Blimkie

Great routine, I’m going to add your subclavius portion to mine. I have been doing a almost identical one for 62 days straight now. All when I wake up except for 2 evenings. I definitely felt tenser and had less free energy available to me those 2 afternoons.


to mobilize the diaphragm: sounds interesting, I would like to try if I back at home

sarah howard

I love your morning routine!

I have started to do 5 sun salutations first thing in the morning (ok, I get my coffee going THEN do it). Once I learn more about Diaphragm mobilization, I think I will add in 2 min before my sun sals. Thanks for the great idea!

Kevin Simms

Hey thanks for the quick routine. Going to give it a try tomorrow.