You've got a space in your house all set up, you've set the alarm 15 minutes early, and you are READY! But...what should you do when you get to your mat each morning for those 5 - 15 minutes? Meditation? Postures? Breathwork?
This is what I suggest. The most important thing is that you connect to your body. You can make yourself do 10 sun salutations, but if your body doesn't enjoy it, you won't be able to keep up your daily practice. Having said that, lots of people love doing sun salutations. This is a nice description of the simpler version and a more challenging variation too.
So how do you connect to your body? You can try different things, but the simplest might be just - breathing. Breathing consciously. You could spend all 5 - 15 min just sitting and consciously breathing. Or you can imagine the inhale flowing into your body, flowing through any tight or uncomfortable areas, and the exhale can release that tension, emotional pain or physical pain.
If you feel like doing some postures, here are the ones I consider to be the best when time is short and you're looking for maximum benefit.
1. Start sitting comfortably and just breathe, taking your awareness into your body with each breath, softening with each exhale.
2. Come to all fours and let your body sway forward and backwards, side to side, pressing hands into the floor.
3. Angry cat/happy cat. On all fours, round your spine, releasing your neck. Arch your spine, being careful of your lower back, lifting the head. Do 5-10 repetitions.
4. Downward facing dog. Tuck your toes under, lift your knees and bring your body into the shape of an upside-down 'V'. Press into the base of your index fingers, and lengthen through the arms, back and legs too.
5. Come into a lunge, bringing one foot forward, sway and rock if that feels good, helping hips to release. Change sides.
6. Bring the second foot forward and hang in Uttanasana, standing forward bend: knees bent, upper body relaxed. When it feels like long enough, come up to standing.
7. Breathe deeply, swing your arms up from your sides so that you are reaching overhead, looking to the hands and let yourself feel the joy of being able to do this bouyant movement!
8. Come back into Downward Dog, from there to sitting with legs crossed or however you feel comfortable.
9. Sitting twist. Breathe in deeply as you sit upright. Turn to your right, taking the left hand to the outer right knee and the right fingertips (not palm) to the floor just behind your hip. Enjoy a few breaths here, releasing the shoulders down. Do the other side, and then come to lying on your belly.
10. Low cobra. Hands under shoulders, elbows tucked in. As you breathe in, press hands to floor to lift head and shoulders. Keep chin gently tucked until you feel you have lifted upper body as high as you want to, then lift head, looking forward as long as your neck is comfortable.
11. Roll over on to your back, tuck your knees in with hands clasped on shins or thighs, and rock side to side. Come into any other movements your body would appreciate in order to be able to release any tightness.
12. Lie there, still, on your back for one minute minimum - longer would be better!
You're finished! Enjoy the rest of your day knowing you've done your body and soul a great favour.