Looking for more energy during your day? Put down the caffeine and sugar and give yoga a try. By using simple yoga techniques, you can increase your circulation and invigorate yourself—without the calories of a 3 o’clock trip to the candy machine.
There are many benefits to incorporating yoga into your daily routine. Not only can yoga increase flexibility and strength, but it can also rid your body of toxins as well as help you de-stress and focus.
These yoga poses will not only help increase energy, but also help relieve stress and muscle tension. It’s important to focus on your breathing throughout each pose to center yourself, increase the flow of oxygen to your body, and get that energy boost without the afternoon candy bar.
Most of us don’t think about breathing on a day-to-day basis, we simply just do it. Yoga breathing, however, consists of deeper, cleansing breaths that can reduce stress, and boost focus.
While you may not be able to get up from your desk at the office and jump into a downward dog yoga pose, you can take a few quiet moments to do yogic breathing and calmly rejuvenate your body. To begin yogic breathing, sit up straight and inhale deeply through your nose until your lungs fill with air from the bottom up to the top. Let the breath out slowly through your mouth, emptying from the top down. You can also add the “HA” sound to your exhale to force the air out.
The following yoga poses can be done first thing in the morning to relieve stiffness and increase energy, or for a mid-day pick-me-up. You can use the poses together as a quick yoga routine, or individually based on your time and needs.
The tree pose helps with both mental and physical balance.
1. Standing with your feet rooted to the ground, slowly raise one foot and place it on your calf or inner thigh. This does take practice, so start slow with your foot down lower if you need to.
2. Place your hands into prayer position with your palms together at your heart and fingertips pointing up and hold the position for one minute.
3. Repeat standing on the other leg.
This yoga move stimulates energy flow from the spinal column to other parts of the body.
1. Interlace your fingers and clasp hands with your knuckles facing out and palms facing in.
2. Extend your arms forward, then inhale as you bring yours arms up overhead. Exhale as your lower your hands down to your knees.
3. Continue this motion with each strong breath, inhaling and lifting your arms then exhaling as you lower them down. You can start by doing this move for 1-2 minutes, and work up to 5 minutes.
The cat pose is often paired with cow pose creating a rejuvenating sequence. These poses increase flexibility to the spine, as well as stretch the back torso and neck. They also softly stimulate the abdominal organs.
1. Begin on your hands and knees, with your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees placed directly under your hips. Place your knees hip-distance apart and center your head and neck in a neutral position.
2. To begin the cow pose, inhale as you drop your stomach towards the mat. Lift your chin and chest, as you gaze up toward the ceiling.
3. As you exhale, draw your belly button up toward your spine and round your back toward the ceiling—simulating a cat stretching its back—to complete cat pose. Relax your neck and allow your head to lower toward the floor.
4. Repeat this move for 1-2 minutes as you inhale into cow pose, and exhale into cat pose.
Perhaps one of the most recognized yoga poses, the downward facing dog is an inversion pose that strengthens and rejuvenates.
1. Begin on your hands and knees. Place your wrists underneath your shoulders, and keep your knees directly under your hips.
2. Tuck your toes under and exhale as your lift your hips, coming into an upside down "V" shape.
3. Spread your fingers wide to create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. As you become more comfortable with this move, straighten your legs and lower your heels toward the floor.
4. Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs. Work on holding the pose for five deep breaths.
• To add another level of difficulty to this move, you can extend one leg straight up as high as you can, creating the three-legged downward facing dog. Repeat on both sides, holding for 5 deep breaths. This pose stretches through the hips and energizes the whole body.
The spinal flex releases blocked energy in the spine.
1. Sit with legs crossed, and your hands holding onto your calves or shins.
2. Inhale as you lift your chest forward and up.
3. Inhale and exhale as you round spine, chin to chest. Start slowly and increase pace steadily. Continue for three minutes.
Yoga twists can squeeze out the anxiety and frustrations of your day, similar to wringing out a sponge. Twists also stimulate and detoxify the organs of your torso.
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms out to each side, keeping your shoulder blades on the floor.
2. Exhale as you drop your knees to the left and gently turn your head to the right. Keep your shoulder blades pressing toward the floor. Allow the force of gravity to drop your knees even closer to the floor.
3. Hold this pose for several breaths, then inhale as you slowly bring your knees back to your chest.
4. Exhale as you release your legs to the right.
This popular standing pose stretches the whole front of the body while strengthening the thighs, ankles, and back.
1. Stand with your feet wide apart, and point your right foot toward the top of the mat. Turn your left foot out slightly.
2. Draw your shoulder blades in toward your upper back ribs. Keeping your pelvis turned toward the front edge of your mat.
3. Press your weight through your left heel, then exhale as you bend your right knee until it is over your right ankle. Keep your shin perpendicular to the floor.
4. Inhale as you raise your arms up perpendicular to the ground, keep them shoulder width apart and parallel to each other. Gently tilt your head back and gaze up at your thumbs.
5. Hold for up to one minute. To release the pose, press weight through your back heel, straighten your front leg, and lower your arms. Repeat on the other side.
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