Best “Yoga Wake Up” Picks for When the Struggle is Real

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I used to scroll through Instagram and pause with envy when I saw timelapses of people doing home yoga flows. As someone who’s always enjoyed my yoga practice, a difficult sacrifice of living with chronic illness has been restriction of my ability to go to yoga studios or to even do virtual home classes (because looking at screens reliably triggers migraine pain). I don’t quite have the yogi skills or confidence to guide myself through a flow yet, so that has not been an option either.

About two years ago I found the app, Yoga Wake Up, which has helped me build a yoga practice that works with my health right now. Since all of the classes on Yoga Wake Up are audio-guided and relatively short (most are between 10-15 min), they are a perfect non-screen guided way for me to move my body and reconnect with the feeling I missed so much from my previous yoga practice.

This is why I’m so excited to partner with Yoga Wake Up as a brand ambassador. Their app (which requires a subscription, you can get 25% off when you download the app to your phone using this link) is designed to be an optional alarm clock replacement (an idea that I love), but I find that I use their guided audio classes most often a few hours after waking up or in the evening when I am winding down.

If I do a morning class before bed, I simply replace the teachers’ words “start your day” with “end your day”, or “good morning” with “good night”. Yoga with chronic illness is all about modification, and this is one important thing to keep in mind when using this app!

Below are my 5 favorite Yoga Wake Up recordings when the struggle is real. They are for those days when you haven’t been able to get out of bed, when your pain has been unrelenting, when you’re coming out of a bad cycle and just easing back into your body and mind and/or, when your fatigue is at an all time high.

I find these recordings to be an extremely powerful tool for shifting my headspace and making me feel like I’ve done something to fill up my self-care bucket. I hope you enjoy them too.

1. Shine Your Light, Sophie Jaffe (yoga)

Maybe my favorite class so far!

Maybe my favorite class so far!

This is my favorite slow paced + joy filled wake up. Sophie’s calming and comforting voice gently guides you through seated stretches and breathing exercises (manageable when not feeling well) while inviting you to notice all of the good in your life and settle into deep gratitude. Ideal for mornings, but good any time of day. This recording is one of my go-to tools when I’m feeling self-doubt. It helps remind me that, “I really am enough”, and shifts my energy and vibration.

 2. You are Enough, Arielle Marie Fanelli (yoga)

This wake-up focuses on using breath, intention and gentle movement to invite calm and peace. Movement consists of seated stretches which are all easy to do from bed, and ideal for mornings. Arielle urges you to focus on one thing that is going right (a really powerful exercise on hard days) and guides you into affirming that you are enough just the way you are and your life is here for you to enjoy.  

 3. Meeting Your Compassionate Self, Ferny Barceló (meditation)

This is my number one choice on a tough day and a reminder that “you got you”. It is a meditative mental journey instead of a breath focused session. So useful for days when you’re mired in comparison, feeling sad or unmotivated, being overly critical of yourself or aren’t getting the support you need from others. You can do this meditation lying down, and I find is especially powerful to use before bed after a hard day.

4. Yin for a Quiet Mind, Niki Saccareccia (yoga)

This is an excellent option for getting out of your head and into your body. A strong emphasis on breathing out the day (no matter what it has looked like) and breathing in centered calmness. It begins sitting, and ends lying down; very easy to do from bed. Gentle guidance on how to let go and trust that your bed will hold every ounce of you – physically and emotionally.

5. Rest and Digest, Alex Dawson (meditation)

This meditation is a good “reset button” for extra tough days. It’s only 10 minutes, and you can do the whole thing lying down. Although intended for evening, it’s useful at any time of day, when you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress or pain. It has a strong emphasis on unwinding the stomach, eyes, jaw and other often sneaky tense muscles.

 *Bonus rec* Jazzy Wake Up, Mark Berger (yoga)

Ok, this is not a wakeup for struggle-bus days, but it is so fun that I had to include it as a bonus for the days when you are feeling good! This one is excellent to infuse your day with love, intention and fun and has a feel good soundtrack you will inevitably start dancing to a little. There are some forward folds, so modify if need be and just let yourself have fun with it!

Again, use this link for a discount on the subscription. Being homebound a lot of the time, I can’t tell you what a valuable resource this has been for me. I’m so excited to hear what you guys think and what your favorite wake ups end up being! Happy yoga-ing!

P.S. You can find my original Yoga Wake Up blog post here 😊

Natalie Sayre