As many of you know, I love yoga. Yoga is a huge part of my life, and the practice of movement, meditation, and breathing brings so many blessings to my life on a daily basis. One of the great benefits of yoga is an increase in energy and vitality. I don’t know about you, but there are many times during the week where I just need an extra kick to get going. Yoga is an amazing way to get that boost, it’s natural, it’s easy, and best it can be free to do in your own home. There are a few poses I know that when I practice them, in a mindful way, I’ll feel a boost of energy and a sense of clarity in just a few short minutes.
- Seated meditation. Whenever I begin any kind of yoga practice, I start in a comfortable seated position and close my eyes. It’s so important to connect with yourself before you move your body. A simple seated meditation can build awareness and increase your attention span by bringing your mind back to the present moment.
- Forward Fold. Standing with feet hip-width apart, gently and easily fold forward, bending your knees if necessary to protect your back. In this instance, you aren’t necessarily trying to get a deep hamstring stretch, you’re mostly aiming for the inversion of getting your head below your heart, bringing lots of fresh blood to the brain. This is one of my favorite poses, as I feel so calm and at ease. You can allow you arms to dangle, or grab opposite elbows as well and just hang, but mostly feel around for what’s comfortable for you.
- Warrior II. An empowering pose to help you take control of your day. I love a good Warrior II, when I really want to feel my own strength. Standing with your feet together, gently lunge one foot back, rotating that foot at a 45-degree angle with your whole foot pressing down the floor. Keep your front knee bent at a 90-degree angle so that your knee is stacked above the foot, and not past the foot. Extend your arms out to the sides and gaze forward, and breathe. Make sure to do both sides!
- A great, quick way to get some energy is with a backbend. There are many backbends in the yoga world, so you can choose one to your liking. A great, easy pose to do at any time of day is a simple standing backbend. With your feet hip-width distance apart, bring your hands down to your lower spine for support. As you inhale, lengthen your spine upward, and as you exhale gently begin to look back, going in to a simple backbend. Feel a nice opening in your chest here and remember to continue to breathe throughout! It’s not about how deep you can go in your backbend; it’s the feeling of creating space and opening up the body.
- Gentle Spine Twist. Your spine is a channel for energy, and especially for those of us who sit all day, it can be very beneficial to add some simple twists to keep your body agile. Sitting comfortably again in either a chair or cross-legged on the floor, bring your left hand to your right knee, lengthen your spine upward, look over your right should and gently twist the spine. Remember to keep creating space in the spine by using your breath, and don’t try to force your body into a deeper twist, go to where is comfortable for you and to where you feel a nice stretch. As always, make sure you do the opposite side to stay balanced!
Like with any physical exercise, make sure you listen to what your body is telling you, and back off of any of these poses if they don’t feel right for you; and remember don’t go to your limit- be gentle with yourself. These are simply my take on some simple poses, but it’s always great to get into a local yoga studio and be with a teacher in person. If you have never done yoga, you may wish to check with your doctor before beginning. What kind of physical activity do you do to stay energized? Let me know!