Chelsea Williams discovered yoga seven years ago and has never looked back. The mom of three fell in love after her first studio class, and has since become a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). She teaches locally in Seattle and through her yoga fitness app, which is designed to help users increase strength, balance, and flexibility. Her yoga workouts include flows and sequences catered to beginners, in which she shares the tips, tricks, and resources she’s learned along the way — often on her own.
“I didn’t have a background in anything that I do now; it all came from a home practice,” Williams says of her journey, which she shares with her 375K Instagram followers.
Playbook caught up with Williams to chat about her morning routine and how her habits set her up for success.
Here’s what a typical day looks like for Williams in what she refers to as her current season of life:
A self-described “morning person,” Williams says she thrives best when she wakes up as early as possible. Monday through Friday, she’s up for the day at 5 a.m.
“I’m not a snoozer. My alarm goes off and I roll out of bed and I go. It’s not even a thought, I just move my body in the direction it needs to go,” Williams says.
She brushes her teeth, throws on a pair of shorts and socks, and hops on her Peloton for a 10 to 30 minute ride.
“I do the hard stuff first and get it out of the way, and then usually later in the day is when my yoga practice comes in or my handstand practice,” Williams says of doing her Peloton workout first thing in the morning.
If you’re lacking motivation for your a.m. workouts, Williams has a great trick to get moving in the morning: a space heater!
“Having a space heater nearby, I think that’s been one of the biggest saving graces for me... With the Peloton, I have a heater set up next to it so I kick it on while I’m just warming up,” Williams says.
After she rises, Williams has 45 minutes carved out for herself before she has to wake her two older kids up. That’s when she has her first cup of coffee for the day.
“I make an Americano [for my morning coffee]. I usually add a little bit of vanilla Stevia and some oat milk,” Williams says, adding that occasionally she’ll have a Complete Human supplement with her morning coffee.
Williams gets her two older children out the door for school at 6:30 a.m.
With three children, she says the most crucial part of her routine is doing something for herself each morning.
“What’s crucial for my routine is — especially on school days — waking up for me, and not waking up for my kids. I feel like it starts my whole day on the offense instead of on the defense… If I wake up and I’m feeling like I’m scrambling, then my day is just a little bit more kinked for the rest of the day. It doesn’t really matter what I wake up to do, it’s that I do need to carve out that time [for myself],” Williams says.
Williams makes a second cup of coffee and prepares breakfast for her third child around 7 a.m., but adds that she herself isn’t a breakfast person.
“I don’t eat food usually until probably 10 to 11 o’clock, so it’s all liquids in the morning,” Williams says.
Her first meal of the day, she says, is typically a salad with lean protein or a lettuce wrap with meat, avocado, and mustard.
Williams is no stranger to being a beginner, and understands what it’s like to feel new to something. Her advice when it comes to creating a solid morning routine?
“I think it’s too much to bite off to say, ‘Wake up 45 minutes before your alarm.’ When I was creating those habits of waking up to journal and to meditate and all of those things, I started small,” Williams says. “So, instead [of 45 minutes earlier] just start setting your alarm 10 minutes [earlier] and if you’re snoozing, move the phone. Move the phone across the room or into the bathroom, or somewhere where you can hear it but you have to move in the direction of where the next step is.”
She also says her Rising Up Stronger program is a great place to start if you’re looking to add a workout to your morning routine.
“I’d say that’s probably my favorite [program] to kick off the day with,” Williams says.
The four-week program is a strength building guide that focuses on increasing stability and strength in inversions and arm balances. The drills will help you build core body and shoulder strength, and is great for beginners and experienced yogis alike. Each class is 25 to 30 minutes long, so it can be squeezed into your morning routine or even a lunch break later in the day.
Whether you’re looking to establish a morning routine one step at a time or try a new workout, Williams’ biggest piece of advice is to start before you’re ready.
“I just started [yoga] because I was looking for something new to do and I didn’t even know how good I was going to be, but I just slowly started to cultivate it day after day after day because I liked how it made me feel… You just start where you are, maybe even start before you’re ready, and you don’t have to have background in any of it. And you don’t need much to start a yoga practice. Just a mat and yourself, and show up!”
About the author
Cara is a passionate writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience in print and online media. She loves storytelling and believes that words have the power to change the world. In her free time, Cara is an avid reader, enjoys meditating, and loves spending time with her husband and their chihuahua pug mix, Callie, streaming the latest horror flick or true crime documentary. She is a graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism.