Feeling tired? Given our fast-paced, high-stress lives, it is natural to feel exhausted and depleted – even after a good night’s sleep. A regular yoga practice can help give your body an energy boost while calming your mind amidst daily chaos. More challenging yoga postures, such as inversions, boost circulation and enhance energy levels. However, you do not have to be super-flexible or an advanced practitioner to enjoy an energy boost following practice. Even basic poses, such as sun salutations, can re-energize the body.
For years, regular yoga practitioners have enjoyed yoga’s benefits – more energy, better sleep, fewer colds, a calmer mind – but may have struggled to explain these benefits to others. After all, telling someone new to yoga that the practice “improves the flow of energy through the body” can sound a bit like New Age propaganda. However, recent scientific research is confirming what regular practitioners have known for years – yoga really does energize the body.
In addition to building strength and flexibility, yoga supports proper spinal alignment, joint mobility, better circulation and increased oxygen levels.1 Inverted postures, like shoulder stand or handstand, for example, bring venous blood back from the legs to the heart. This makes platelets less sticky, reduces the risk of blood clots, and improves the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. And you don’t have to be sweating it out in a hot yoga class to reap the benefits. According to two studies, lying in savasana (a relaxing, meditative pose), correlated with a 26-point drop in systolic blood pressure over a three-month period.
According to yogic philosophy, yoga brings energy through the body’s energy centers, known as chakras. There are seven chakras located along the spine, and each chakra represents a specific energy field. The root chakra, located at the base of the spine, represents our foundation and feeling grounded. Yogic philosophy holds that this chakra is connected with survival issues such as financial independence, food and money.Practicing specific poses will activate different chakras, creating a state of expanded consciousness and enhanced energy. Tuning into our internal power also empowers us to deal with specific life challenges that would otherwise deplete our energy and leave us exhausted.
If you are feeling tired, a regular yoga practice can help energize your body and prepare you to better cope with daily stressors.
Here are 3 poses that will help boost your energy:
Wheel pose can help—and strengthen your arms, legs, abdomen, and spine while giving you more energy!
Lie supine on the floor. Bend your knees and set your feet on the floor, heels as close to the sitting bones as possible. Bend your elbows and spread your palms on the floor beside your head, forearms relatively perpendicular to the floor, fingers pointing toward your shoulders. Pressing your inner feet actively into the floor, exhale and push your tailbone up toward the pubis, firming (but not hardening) the buttocks, and lift the buttocks off the floor. Press your feet and hands into the floor, tailbone and shoulder blades against your back, and with an exhalation, lift your head off the floor and straighten your arms.
Get that "cosmic" energy through this balancing pose!
Stand in Mountain Pose. Inhale, shift your weight onto your right foot, and lift your left heel toward your left buttock as you bend the knee. Reach back with your left hand and grasp the outside of your left foot or ankle. To avoid compression in your lower back, actively lift your pubis toward your navel, and at the same time, press your tailbone toward the floor. Begin to lift your left foot up, away from the floor, and back, away from your torso. Extend the left thigh behind you and parallel to the floor. Stretch your right arm forward, in front of your torso, parallel to the floor.
Bump up your energy by bending back into Camel Pose.
Kneel on the floor with your knees hip width and thighs perpendicular to the floor. Rest your hands on the back of your pelvis, bases of the palms on the tops of the buttocks, fingers pointing down. Use your hands to spread the back pelvis and lengthen it down through your tail bone. Now lean back against the firmness of the tail bone and shoulder blades. See that your lower front ribs aren't protruding sharply toward the ceiling, which hardens the belly and compresses the lower back. Release the front ribs and lift the front of the pelvis up, toward the ribs. Then lift the lower back ribs away from the pelvis to keep the lower spine as long as possible.
Try these poses out and more in our daily classes! Yoga Flow and Cardio Yoga are always great choices for boosting energy!
Yoga Journal. Web. 2013.