The case for morning yoga

Start the day with this simple series.

There’s no question that fit bodies benefit from yoga. Studies show it can reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure, ease anxiety, and relieve chronic back pain. But for athletes who struggle to make it a regular part of their routine, waking up to the practice could help.

A recent study by the American Psychological Association found that people who stretched first thing in the morning had an easier time making the routine a habit than those who moved through their flows before bed. The reasoning could come down to higher levels of cortisol in the morning hours, researchers say. The stress hormone is known to play a role in habit formation.

Try it:

In the video below, Johan Montijano, a New York City-based yoga instructor at Equinox, combines a few moves into a simple series. Repeat this energizing flow several times when you wake up, and soon enough, it'll become habit.