My Daily Yoga Routine

In January 2022, I started doing a short yoga routine every morning. I’ve stuck with it and hardly ever miss a day.

It’s nothing fancy, but the key to this routine is that it’s short enough that there is really no excuse to blow it off. It takes 3-4 minutes. No excuses.

Here we go…

The routine is 5 rounds of sun salutations with some variations. The sun salutations I do start in mountain pose, go to a standing back bend, upward dog and then downward dog. And then repeat. Five times.

I count to ten for each of the three steps. So ten seconds in a standing back bend, ten seconds in upward dog, and ten seconds in downward dog.

For the 5 rounds, I don’t vary upward dog and downward dog. I think these poses are especially beneficial, so worth doing 5 times.

The standing portion I vary a bit.

For the first two rounds I do a standing back bend with hands together reaching as high and as far back as I can.

The third round instead of doing a standing back bend I do a standing side stretch. Ten seconds in each direction.

The fourth round I do a head roll, several times in each direction.

And to wrap it up I do mountain pose. Stretch tall.

When I first started I found that I often forgot how many rounds I had done. By doing the third, fourth, and fifth rounds differently, I never forget where I am.

Why did I start this? I have a herniated disc that over the last two decades has regularly flared up following heavy yardwork, sitting on a couch the wrong way, lifting something heavy, etc. The disc would flare up 3-4 times a year and I’d have 2-3 weeks of pain and recovery. Since I started this daily yoga, the disc hasn’t bothered me at all. Not once.

There are lots of other benefits beyond ridding of my old friend the herniated disc… increased flexibility, mindfulness, strength, you name it. All good.

Most importantly, how have I kept this up? Just before starting this, I read a great book called Atomic Habits. One of the strategies in the book is “stacking”, where you do the habit you want to start immediately following something else that you do regularly. In my case, yoga is the first thing that I do after coming downstairs in the morning, just before breakfast.



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