Most of our aches are a result of the tightening in the joints and resulting stiffening of the connective tissue. These 8 exercises--collectively called Dasha Chalana targets all the major joints, ensuring circulation of synovial fluid and full range of motion.
I most definitely do this as soon as I get out of bed before my morning meditation and/or yoga practice, but I'll also throw it in if I've been sitting for too long, or at the before bed to undo some of the wear and tear of the day.
Dasha means 10 in sanskrit, and refers to the number of repetitions you will do of each exercise, and Chalana means churning, referring to the circular motion to express the full range of motion of the joints.
Ankles: standing, place a foot behind you and make gentle circles with the toes on the ground. 10 in each direction on both feet.
Knees: bring your legs together or hip distance, take your hands on the thighs or just above the knees, bending at waist and create circles with the knees. 10 in each direction.
Hips: keep you spine and legs straight and specifically move the hips themselves clockwise and counter-clockwise.
Shoulders: circulate them forward 10 times, and back 10 times. Keep elbows soft
Wrists: Interlace fingers , press palms, wrists and elbows together to the best of your ability. Make figure 8's in both directions
Neck: Imagine a large circle in front of you and trace its edges with your nose. This is a much less expressive movement than a full neck circle back. If you feel any "crackles" make the circle smaller.
Twists at torso: Keep your legs anchored and you hips pointed straight ahead. Gently twist from side to side letting your arms be loose and letting one swing to your heart and the other to the lower back.
Spina wave or Sarpa: Sarpa means snake, so think of a full fluid movement. Think of a standing cat cow, folding forward over the hips and undulating back up.