Yoga poses for morning

How Practicing Morning Yoga Transforms Your Life (+10 Beginners’ Poses)

Morning yoga is the most energizing, transcending, and enlightening experience. Once you make it a daily habit, you’ll notice a wide variety of changes to your body, mind, and everything that makes you, you. For people with depression and anxiety, issues with healthy eating and other health problems may benefit from its healing properties.

Studies show that increasing flexibility can eliminate generalized or specific body pain. If you have chronic pain Fibromyalgia or are trying re-condition your muscles, regular stretching will ease stress and tension due to work or other stressful issues in your life.

How Practicing Yoga Every Day Changed My Life

Since I’ve made Yoga a habit, I’ve noticed a change in my overall mood. A strong mindset is everything if you want to sustain a positive outlook on the things that happen to and around you.

Your mind is one of the most important assets and keeping it in the right place will help you get through those tough curve balls life can throw at us.

Six years ago, I started doing yoga each morning and now I do it morning and night for about ten to twenty minutes. Bottom line: Yoga can save your life, and it did mine. Thank goodness I did that because three years ago, my lung collapsed on a flight and almost died. It was traumatic and scary but I focused on doing as much breathing as my lungs allowed.

But even in the midst of the scary situation, my Yoga-strength lifted me up and out of that chair so I could get to a hospital. Looking back, I see how Yoga carried me through the trauma.

Mental and physical strength go hand-in-hand but mentally, you have to be in a good mind-frame to move through those hardships.

5 Ways Morning Yoga Benefits Your Health

We can’t know when tragedy or hardships will strike. To understand how Yoga can transform your life, you must first know how it benefits you.

1. Mental Clarity

If you’ve ever looked at an ocean on a windy day and noticed busy, angry waves, you’ve probably also noticed that you can’t see the ocean floor even near the shore.

When our minds are busy with angry or turbulent thoughts, you can’t think clearly. Our thoughts or thinking paths we return to can be so destructive that our ability to function and work efficiently becomes encumbered.

Trouble in your work life may arise and leave you mentally exhausted from trying to keep up with everything and everyone. Being overwhelmed all the time will cause a burnout. A burnout essentially is when your mind and body surrender to the exhaustion and they both shut down.

Morning Yoga creates stillness in the mind which then leads to calmness which then leads to happiness. Twenty minutes of a stretch routine to focus on diaphragmatic breathing as you move with your body will target your anxiety and depression.

You can get overwhelmed at any time but when you establish any routine, you’ll be compelled to create more healthy routines such as snacking healthier, doing things that decrease your stress, and pre-planning so you can effectively tackle that ever-changing to-do list.

2. A Level Mood

Have you ever flipped out on something small, almost unnecessary and asked yourself, “Why did I blow my lid over that?” Did you find yourself in that inevitable situation of needing to explain yourself after? I think to some degree, we’ve all been there at one time or another.

When we’ve entered ‘flip out’ mode or have become irritable, that’s a sign of an imbalanced emotional state of mind. You’ll wind up self-sabotaging without realizing it or feeling like you can’t get everything done on time and so, you lose it.

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Our current moods reflect our emotional health and how we process life’s issues and mysteries.

Morning Yoga is a great way to strengthen your emotional health as it boosts your mood. Instead of keeping your emotions on a roller-coaster, do yoga, get off that up and down chaos and level out.

Think of your mood as a smooth ocean current, steady and still. A daily Yoga regimen will make you feel like you’re mind is floating on water.

3. Zap Cravings for Bad Foods

Those sugar cravings can arise at any time but between 2:00 and 4:00 P.M., they can sneak up on you. What you’re feeling is sudden fatigue or a dip in your alertness, which can occur if you’re not getting enough adequate sleep.

But if you do some Yoga poses such as lying down with your legs stretched up a wall or sitting on the floor and raising up your arms, those poses can help you eliminate those cravings.

4. Enhance Your Sleep Life

Developing a healthy sleep life, which includes morning and evening routines, are one of the ways morning Yoga can assist.

Balance means different things to everyone. Doing yoga each morning will enhance your sleep and aid in regulating brain activity.

When it’s night time, the brain produces melatonin. If you’re not allowing your brain the time to prepare for sleep, that can mess with your circadian rhythms and sleep cycles.

Doing Yoga each day is a wonderful form of meditation that directly affects your brain and mind simultaneously.

5. Sustain Stamina and Endurance Throughout the Day

Some people are more alert in the mornings while others are at night.

Yoga will sustain your physical stamina and endurance throughout your work day and all the way into the evening. This was one change I noticed the more I incorporated Yoga into my mornings.

As someone who has suffered chronic fatigue, Yoga rescued me and allows me to work hours on end and keep my focus on important tasks. I stopped having spurts of weakness in my muscles mid-day.

10 Yoga Poses for Beginners to Try

Now that you know how morning yoga can change your life, it’s time to get started or pick it back up again if you’ve stopped for a while.

Here are ten beginner poses (that will make a difference) for your flexibility, stress levels and overall well-being:

1. Cat and Cow

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The Cat and Cow pose is perfect for restoring energy in your body and directly affects your spinal cord.

First, plant your knees and hands on the ground, all fours, making sure that your shoulders align with your wrists and knees align with your hips.

Inhale as you lift your head and buttocks while lowering your stomach. Exhale as you slowly lower your head, curve your spine and lower your tail bone.

Breathe as you do these movements. With each breath, you’ll feel more of a range of motion and stress melting away.

2. Plank

The plank pose is great for strength. To do it, lie down on a Yoga mat and press your hands on it. Make sure your hands are under your shoulders and your toes are touching the mat.

As if you are doing a push-up, lift your whole body off the ground, balancing on your hands which should align with your shoulders and your toes.

Your body should look like a long board. I hold that pose for thirty or more seconds.

3. Spinal Twist

For the spinal twist, another favorite pose, sit down in staff pose on your mat. Bend your right knee and position your right foot beside your left outer thigh, touching the floor.

Rotate your torso to the right and place your right hand on the floor behind your tail bone.

With your left arm, wrap it around your right leg. Repeat on the opposite side.

4. Downward-Facing Dog

With downward-facing dog, think of the position as making a triangle with your body, and the floor is the bottom.

Plant both feet close together and stick your buttocks up, the highest point of the triangle, and align your hands with your shoulders.

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This stretch is great for the spine as well and will ease tension in your shoulder muscles.

5. Crescent Lunge

Make a ninety degree angle with your right knee. Stretch your left leg back behind you and reach your arms toward the ceiling.

This exercise promotes strength and tones the lower body.

6. Cobbler’s Pose

Sit on the floor and position your legs as if they are butterfly wings.

Your feet should be touching each other with your hands on your toes. Both of your knees should be bent.

Slowly lean forward as far as you can and hold the pose.

7. Warrior II

Think of the Warrior II pose as a lunge but with your arms stretched out, one in front and one behind you, forming a T with your upper body.

This pose addresses balance and flexibility.

8. Reclining Goddess Pose

Lie down on the floor and bring your feet together, bending both knees, forming a wide diamond shape with your legs. It helps to have a pillow under your knees and lower back for extra support.

Once you’re lying down in that position, rest your arms beside your hips.

9. Low Lunge

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The low lunge pose is similar to the Warrior II pose.

Instead of forming a T with your upper body, stretch both hands up and over your head toward the ceiling.

One leg should be on the floor from the knee down and the other should be bent, forming half of a cube shape. This pose stretches your back and inner and outer thighs.

10. Bridge Pose

The bridge, I love, and I do this every morning and night after a long work day. The pose will align your spine and hips and addresses strength and balance.

Lie down on the floor or a mat and bend both knees, with feet planted on the ground.

Have your hands at your side and press them into the mat while raising your hips upward, creating a slight diagonal line with your torso, stomach and upper thighs. Keep your shoulders on the ground as much as you can.

Final Thoughts

Yoga is the best way to manage stress in your life. Stretching and using a Styrofoam roller will release the fascia in your muscles where the tightness and tension are stored.

Doing yoga in the morning is exercising your mind and body simultaneously. Diaphragmatic breathing in and out of poses regulates every system in your body, especially the central nervous system.

Your nervous system needs to be balanced and leveled so you can function at your optimal level.

If you’re functioning on overdrive or auto-pilot constantly, you will be mentally exhausted and drained more frequently, even without realizing it.

Morning Yoga is a resource for resetting all the systems in your body, stimulating blood flow and circulation, and recovering strained or tired muscles. It’s a way of eliminating those toxins we encounter in our environment as well.

Yoga has changed my life and I hope that after you read this, you try out a couple of these poses on your own and see how you feel.

Featured photo credit: Janet Orzechowski via unsplash.com

A 10-Minute Morning Yoga Sequence for Beginners

One of my favorite times to practice is first thing in the morning. I’m a mother of a two year old and have a busy career. I’ve found personally if I wait to practice, I either run out of time or energy!

I often tell my beginners to establish a home practice they can commit to and do daily or every other day. Morning time is a great time to start to get you into the habit of rolling out your sticky mat and moving with your breath. It will set you up for a very productive, healthy, positive day, too.

This little morning yoga sequence for beginners is wonderful for getting your blood flowing and your energy focused. The poses will strengthen and lengthen your body, and help you feel fit and flexible all day long in mind, body, and spirit.

1.Tadasana

Credit: Kristin McGee

Mountain Pose is a great place to start. Ground your feet and press evenly through all four corners of each foot. Stretch your arms towards the floor and draw your abdominals in and up.

Hold for five to eight breaths to get focused and ready to move deeper.

2. Urdhva Hastasana

Credit: Kristin McGee

From Mountain Pose, lift your arms up overhead and press your palms firmly together. Keep the tops of your shoulders released away from your ears and activate your triceps. Keep the abdominals engaged and the legs firm.

Hold for five to eight breaths.

3. Warrior I

Credit: Kristin McGee

Warriors are always awesome to do in the AM. Warriors give us confidence and strength and help us connect to our own inner strength.

From Urdhva Hastasana, step your left foot back one of your own leg’s length apart. Press the outer left foot in to the mat as you lunge your right knee forward. The left foot should be pointing at a seventy-five degree angle. Make sure the knee stays above the ankle.

Hold for five to eight breaths.

4. Warrior II

Credit: Kristin McGee

From Warrior I Pose on the right side, open the arms, hips, and waist to the side as you gaze forward over your right hand. Your back toes can open up a bit more than seventy-five degrees, but keep the toes a little forward of the heel still. Make sure the front knee doesn’t roll in. Draw your abs in and and keep the torso even between the legs.

Stay and breathe for five to eight deep breaths.

5. Triangle

Credit: Kristin McGee

From Warrior II, straighten the front leg and hinge forward placing the hand on the knee, shin, or a block. Imagine yourself between two narrow walls.

Hold for five to eight breaths, then come back up to standing.

6. Extended Side Angle

Credit: Kristin McGee

Re-bend the front knee and place the outer right forearm on the upper right thigh. Extend the top arm overhead and lengthen from the outer edge of the left foot all the way through the left fingers.

Hold for five to eight breaths.

Drop your hands alongside the front foot and step forward, folding in to both legs. Come back up through Urdhva Hastasana and repeat postures 3-6 on the left side.

7. Downward Dog

Credit: Kristin McGee

After doing the postures on the left side, instead of folding forward, place both hands on the floor on either side of the left foot from Extended Side Angle and step the left foot back to meet the right as you come into Downward Facing Dog Pose.

Press firmly into your hands and roll your upper arms outwards. Lengthen up through your torso and keep your abdominals engaged. Actively use your legs to keep bringing your torso back in space.

If you need to bend your knees, that’s ok!

Hold here for eight to ten breaths.

8. Forearm Plank

Credit: Kristin McGee

From Downward Facing Dog Pose, roll out to Plank (or drop to hands and knees) and place your forearms on the floor. Make sure your body forms a straight line from head to toe.

Keep your abdominals engaged and hold for thirty to sixty seconds to fire up your powerhouse for the day.

9. Baby Cobra

Credit: Kristin McGee

Lower down to your belly from forearm plank, walk your hands slightly forward if need be, and lift your chest up into a Baby Cobra. Pull your shoulder blades together and down your back and breathe into the front of your body.

Hold for five breaths, lower down and repeat two more times.

10. Child’s Pose

Credit: Kristin McGee

Finish by pressing back to Child’s Pose to stretch the entire back body and focus on what you would like to achieve for the day. Stay as long as you can, or want to, and finish with Savasana, or press to stand and roll up for an incredible day.

Pat yourself on the back every time you get out of bed and greet the day with some yoga postures. You will feel amazing and eventually might not even need that extra cup of coffee in the morning.

What are your favorite yoga postures to do in the morning? Share with us in the comments below!

Your mornings set the day’s tone. In a perfect world, we’d wake up before the sun, meditate, head to an hour-long yoga class, and enjoy a yummy juice or coffee watching the sunrise. In real life, who has time for that?! While we may not be able to commit to an hour of practice, we can do something. Read below to find 5 beginner yoga poses to start your day (they can even be done in bed!).

Seated Neck Stretch

Often the neck feels stiff and uncomfortable in the mornings. Begin by finding a comfortable seat and closing the eyes. Give yourself a few moments to breathe deeply. Gently bring your ear towards your shoulder. For a deeper stretch, lightly place your hand on your head and add a bit of pressure to create tension. Hold and repeat on Side 2.

Seated Spinal Twist

Next, we want to wake up the spine. A seated spinal twist is a gentle way to add movement and begin to stretch the spine. Lift the crown of your head to sit tall while making sure shoulders are directly over hips. Place your right hand on the outside of your left knee and your left hand behind to stabilize. Gaze over your left shoulder and press into your hands to twist. Sync the twisting movement with your breath; exhale twist deeper, inhale return to neutral. As you twist, relax your shoulders (don’t shrug them up to your ears) and lift tall to create length in the spine. We cycle in and out of this pose because movement helps break down connective tissue.

Cat (Marjaryasana)

Cat-Cow poses are done in tandem and continue our work of stretching the spine while activating the core. Begin on all-fours in table top position with hips directly over knees. Press firmly through your hands to avoid collapsing into your shoulders as wrists, elbows, and shoulders stay in one line. On an exhale, arch your spine upwards creating a C shaped curve like a cat that’s just been scared (maybe after seeing me first thing in the AM? lol). Keep your shoulders and knees stable moving only your spine. Work on bringing chin towards chest while drawing belly button into your spine (similar to sucking your stomach in). Toes can be curled or uncurled depending on preference.

Cow (Bitilasana)

Cat pose is the exhale, cow pose is the inhale. On an inhale drop the belly towards the ground and arch your back. Lift your head and your gaze can be straight ahead or your can lift your head and look to the sky creating a stretch for the connective tissue in the throat. Broaden (create space) across the front of the shoulders by pressing firmly into your hands. Move through these two poses using your breath to initiate movement: Cow-Inhale, Cat-Exhale.

Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Low lunge stretches the thighs, hips, and creates more opening in the chest. From table top position, Step right foot in-between hands. Line right knee over ankle and slide your left leg back until you feel a stretch. You can keep hands on the ground or lift arms up to the sky (as shown above). My toes are untucked because I lift the left knee from the ground for more of a challenge. Take whichever variation feels best to you. Yoga is all about feeling gooooood!

Add these beginner yoga poses to your morning routine and let me know how you feel!

Best yoga asanas, fitness experts say these 10 poses every day in the morning will give you a great start

Are you always feeling lethargic and tired without any underlying medical condition? A daily 10-minute yoga routine can help you feel more energetic, and help you regain body-mind balance.

While many people feel that yoga doesn’t match up to cardio exercises or heavy duty High-intensity interval training, research has shown that yoga can help you with everything from weight loss, to lowering period pain, boosting heart health and ensuring smooth digestion. Plus, you don’t really require special workout gear or studio space to do yoga poses.

Dr Manoj Kutteri, wellness director, Atmantan suggests 10 beginner-friendly asanas for you and explains their health benefits:

Naukasana increases the efficiency of abdominal muscles, and is good for digestion. ( )

Naukasana (boat pose)

Lie down on your back with your legs together. Keep your hands on the thighs or next to the thighs on the floor. Inhale and raise your head, arms and head in a straight line off the floor at a 30-degree angle. Keep the toes pointing upward. “This asana increases the efficiency of abdominal muscles, is good for digestion, and reduces belly fat. It also strengthens organs in the abdomen and leg muscles,” says Dr Kutteri.

Paschimottanasana (head to toe)

Sit with your outstretched legs and flexed toes. Inhale and raise your arms. Exhale and pull the navel in. Stretch the spine forward from the hips. Hold the toes with your hands, bending the elbow outward or downward. In the final position, your awareness should be on your abdominal breathing. “Paschimottanasana stretches the calf and hamstring muscles, which helps for better circulation. It elongates the spine and gives a good stretch to it. It also regulates vital energy to the nervous system and ensures good circulation to internal abdominal organs,” says Dr Kutteri.

Ardha matsyendrasan tones the abdominal muscles and opens up the chest area. ( )

Ardha matsyendrasan (half spinal pose)

Sit straight, stretching your legs in front of you. Bend your left leg and try to touch your feet to your right buttock. Bring your right leg outside of the left knee. Touch your feet to the ground. Keep your spine erect. Exhale and turn your upper body to the right. Hold your right feet with the left hand and place your right hand on the spine. This asana makes your spine more flexible and strengthens your side muscles, says Dr Kutteri. It also tones the abdominal muscles and opens up the chest area.

Uttanasana works on your gluteus and quadricep muscles. ( )

Dwi Pada Uttanasana (both leg raise pose)

Lie down on your spine, with hands placed next to the buttocks or under the buttock (palms downward). The legs should be straight and toes flexed. Inhale and raise both legs at a 90-degree angle while expanding the abdomen out. Exhale and raise both legs to a 45 or 30-degree angle while contracting the abdomen. Do 5-8 movements and then hold the legs at each angle for 5-7 abdominal breaths. This asana strengthens the core and is an efficient practice to release the extra fat around the abdomen. “It works on the gluteus and quadricep muscles,” says Dr Kutteri.

Dandasana (plank pose)

Lie down on the abdomen and bring the elbows under the shoulders. Get in the push-up position and place your forearms on the ground. Inhale and lift the body off the floor with support from your hands and toes. Squeeze your gluteus and tighten your abdominal muscles. Keep the neck and spine straight. Hold the pose for 5-7 abdominal breaths. Exhale and release the pose. Repeat for 3 times. “This asana is an excellent way to strengthen the core. It helps to burn fat and calories from the abdomen and increases the overall productivity of your abs, butt and thighs,” says Dr Kutteri.

Viparita Karni (Inclined pose)

Lie straight on your back. Join both the legs and lift them up. Take the legs slightly behind to lift your lower back. Support the back by placing the palms on the lower back with elbows on the ground. Keep the legs perpendicular to the floor and your back inclined at an angle of 45-60 degrees with the floor. Breathe normally. Begin with 1-minute and then slowly increase the duration of practice to 10 minutes. “Your digestive system will get strengthened by regular practice of this exercise. Your appetite will increase. It can prevent premature graying of hair and cure diseases like the swelling of the feet, goitre, blood-related diseases like boils, pimples and itching,” says Dr Kutteri. This asana enables quicker movement of water from the small intestine to the larger intestine, which cleanses the stomach. It is also a great practice to stimulate the hormone system and strengthen the core.

Kapalabhati (skull cleansing kriya)

Sit in a comfortable position with both hands on the knees. The spine, neck and shoulder should be in a straight line. Start with deep inhalation along with the expansion of the abdomen. Exhale forcefully in strokes with the contraction of the abdomen (flapping movements of the abdomen muscles) for up to 40 to 60 strokes. After each round, breathe normally to relax. Repeat 3-4 rounds of Kapalabhati. Dr Kutteri says that Kapalabhati balances and strengthens the nervous system and tones the digestive organs. “It’s an effective practice for releasing excess fat, burning calories and reducing belly fat. The rapid and rhythmic movements strengthen the abdominal muscles and ensure proper circulation towards the abdominal organs,” says Dr Kutteri.

Bear in mind that this asana should not be done on an empty stomach, if you have had surgery recently, if you have hypertension or migraine, or if you are pregnant or on your menstrual cycle.

Dhanurasana improves digestion and boosts blood circulation. ( )

Dhanurasana (bow pose)

Lie on your stomach. Arc your hands backward and hold the feet. Try pulling yourself backward. You can feel the stretch in your arms, stomach and legs. “This asana is effective in weight loss, improves digestion and appetite and boosts blood circulation. It also makes your back flexible,” says Dr Kutteri.

Bhujangasana improves the flexibility of your back and tones the abdomen, neck and shoulders. ( )

Bhujangasana (cobra pose)

Lie on the floor on your stomach. Place your hands beside your shoulder. Push yourself up and look towards the sky. You can feel the stretch in your stomach. “This pose improves the flexibility of your back and tones the abdomen, neck and shoulders. It improves blood circulation and rids you of fatigue and stress,” says Dr Kutteri.

Bitilasana stretches the back torso and neck, and strengthens the abdominal organs. ( )

Bitilasana (cat cow pose)

Start by keeping your hands and knees in a “tabletop” position. Make sure that your knees are set directly below your hips. Your wrists, elbows and shoulders should be in line and perpendicular to the floor. Centre your head in a neutral position. As you inhale, lift your chest toward the ceiling, allowing your belly to sink toward the floor. Lift your head to look straight. Exhale and resume the neutral “tabletop” position. This asana warms the body and brings flexibility to the spine. “This asana stretches the back torso and neck, and strengthens the abdominal organs,” says Dr Kutteri.

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Start the day out right with Good Morning Yoga, wherever you are, right at home! Yoga positions are the basic constitution of any yoga practice. Yoga postures are exercise for your body, heart and mind, they are not just for a physical, outer workout. The word yoga is from an ancient language Sanskrit, with the root word for “yoke” like a horse bridal, to take control and mastery of our own energy, the inner marriage of spirit and mind. Yoga began in India over 5 thousand years ago as it is still practiced today for the mind, body and the spirit’s wellness. There is a morning yoga practice, that can be created, your way! You can create a flow of 10 simple yoga poses or asanas that you can do each morning. By practicing these 10 asanas begin your day energized, relaxed, and filled with joy, even in challenging times.

Morning Yoga Flow

Here is a suggested Morning Yoga Flow, you can go to Youtube for detailed instructions for these poses, or take a few drop in classes to learn a DIY sequence. Regular yoga practice is life changing, you’ll notice that you naturally drop all unhealthy habits.

Start with a comfortable Meditation Pose – begin by sitting in a position that’s comfortable, usually cross legged. Sit up straight, close your eyes, as it begins, taking slow exhalations and inhalations. You can use our mala beads to count breaths, mantras on intentions. Try to quiet your mind. Forget about that term paper due, the cleaning, or all of your daily tasks and emotional involvements, this is time just for you. For the next minutes, all of that matters is here and now, say “hi” your your own heart!

Surya Namaskara Namaste! This greeting means “the eternal light within me greets the eteral light within you!” It’s a perfect simple yoga flow to start the day, facing the sun if possible.

Cat/Cow Pose – The cat to cow stretch extends that movement along the entire spine, helping to awaken the entire body. Make certain to pay attention as you move between these poses.

Downward Facing Dog Pose – Press. Pedal the legs, then another and bending one knee. Flex your knees as it reach your rear up high. Then slowly straighten the legs. Take any other moves that allow you to settle into the pose. Whenever you feel ready, hold the posture to five to 10 breaths. This yoga pose opens up the base of the human body and is very energizing.

Standing Forward Bend or “Uttanasana Pose” – Swan dive down to standing forward bend uttanasana. Come that you flat back “uttanasana” with the fingertips on the floor or your hands on your shins, as it after that forward bend back into uttanasana. To get a fantastic hamstring stretch, do that slowly.

Warrior One Pose – begin by standing up straight, and after that step your left leg back 3 as it a half to 4 feet. Bend your right knee so its straight above the ankle, as it turn your left foot in slightly. Raise your arms straight above you, reaching opne-heartedly, and look up. This yoga pose stretches the back as it the body.

Warrior Two Pose – Warrior Two is derived comparable To Warrior One, but the arms would be held out that you the side with the head looking forward, as it the rear foot is derived at a 90 degree angle rather than turned in slightly.

Tree Pose – That is a standing yoga pose that can help to cultivate balance and strengthen your legs.

Once you learn a few postures or asanas, you can easily put together a simple and regular morning routine, discipline is the key. Here’s to bringing out the best within us, each morning, and a perfect, fresh and sunny start to each new day!

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