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Published on March 9, 2021

5 Energy-Boosting Yoga Poses to Try Anytime

5 Energy-Boosting Yoga Poses to Try Anytime

We all go through low-energy cycles now and then—whether it is the lethargy that comes upon us as we sit all day in front of our computers or the exhaustion of keeping our home in order. We all need an instant energy boost as we go through our lives. That’s why we resort to different things like Caffeine, loud music, or maybe a power nap.

Why not resort to something that does not only work for the short term but also helps fix your low energy levels for the long run and brings in some extra benefits like increased immunity, elevated moods, and superior overall health?

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I have curated some energy-boosting Yoga Poses for you towards the same goal.

For complete practice, Yoga Asanas are assumed after warm-up. However, since these poses are for an instant boost, we have selected them in a way that they go from basic to intermediate, therefore, warming you up and building energy gradually to avoid chances of injury.

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Note:

  • In case of any pain or discomfort in the posture, please come out of it and try again. Be aware and listen to your body at all times. Maintain the awareness of breath while in the pose.[1]
  • Do not perform Yoga postures on a full stomach as that might hinder digestion and also make you feel uncomfortable during the postures.

Let us get started.

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1. Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)

    Image Source – http://blog.zenward.com/key-actions-vrksasana-tree-pose/
    1. Stand with your feet together, shoulders rolled back and core engaged.
    2. Plant your right foot firmly on the ground by stretching your toes slightly apart.
    3. Bend your left leg and place your sole on your right thigh, toes facing down, and heel towards the pelvis.
    4. Keep the heel as close to the pelvis as possible and the grip firm. Make sure that the left knee is completely facing towards the left side and not pointing to the front or sideways.
    5. Choose a point of focus in front and look forward, stabilizing yourself.
    6. Once you find your balance, bring the palms together into Namaskar Mudra[2] and stretch them over and above your head with elbows straight.
    7. Keep the focus to maintain the balance
    8. Take 5 deep breaths or up to 1 minute if comfortable. Inhalation and exhalation make one breath.
    9. Repeat on the other side.

    Contraindications/Modifications for Tree Pose

    • In case of uncontrolled hypertension, do not take the arms up. Keep them on the chest in Namaskara Mudra.
    • Be careful in case of ankle, knee, hip, and shoulder issues.
    • In cases of Vertigo and ear infections causing a problem in balance, perform with utmost care.
    • If maintaining balance is a problem, keep holding the bent leg with the respective hand on the ankle or shin and breathe.

    2. Warrior Pose 2 (Virbhadrasana 2)

      Image Source – https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/warrior-ii-pose/
      1. Stand with the legs apart at 4 to 5 feet distance. Find the balance between the two feet without leaning on either. In case you feel any pain in the knees or heels, reduce the distance.
      2. Turn the right toe towards the right 90 degrees, right heel in line with the arch of the left foot
      3. Keep the body in front. Do not move towards the right with the foot. Engage the core and tuck in the tail bone of the spine.
      4. Inhale and stretch both the arms up parallel to the ground, palms facing down
      5. Exhale, bend the right knee bringing it in line with the ankle and look towards the middle finger of the right palm.
      6. Keep pressing the right heel on the mat and consciously stretch both arms away from each other.
      7. Take 5 deep breaths or up to 1 minute if comfortable.
      8. Consciously keep the hips facing front and not going towards the right.
      9. Repeat on the other side.

      Contraindications/Modifications of Warrior Pose 2

      • Be careful in case of ankle, knee, hip, and shoulder issues.
      • In case of neck issues, don’t turn the neck. Keep looking in front.
      • Do not perform in case of Diarrhea, weak heart, or uncontrolled hypertension.

      3. Downward Dog pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

        Image Source – https://beinks.com/downward-facing-dog-pose/
        1. Come on all fours on the ground—knees and palms—and wrists in line with the shoulders and knees in line with the hips.
        2. Place the palms firmly on the mat with fingers stretched apart for good support, tuck in the toes, and straighten the knees while pointing the hips towards the sky coming into a semi-inverted position.
        3. Straighten the spine by coming only on the toes with bent knees for few seconds. If comfortable, place the heels on the ground and knees straight.
        4. You can adjust the distance between palms and feet now to make you feel more comfortable.
        5. Keep digging your heels and palms on the mat while keeping the hips pointing up. Look towards the toes.
        6. Take 5 deep breaths or up to 1 minute if comfortable.

        Contraindications/Modifications of Downward Dog Pose

        • Do not perform in case of heart conditions and uncontrolled hypertension.
        • Also not advised in case of vertigo, ear infections, and any kind of cranial lesions.
        • Be very careful if you have a history of a shoulder injury.

        4. Low Lunge Pose With Backbend (Anjaneyasana)

        1. While in the Downward dog pose, bring the right leg forward and place the foot between the palms. Place the left knee on the ground, toe relaxed.
        2. Sit up and lift the left ankle gradually sliding the left leg back to the point where you do not feel any pressure at all on the left knee.
        3. Inhale and stretch both the arms up, finger pointing to the sky or bring palms together in Namaskar Mudra.
        4. Roll the shoulders back and bend back bringing the backbend from the upper back opening the chest to the maximum. Look up.
        5. Take 5 deep breaths or up to 1 minute if comfortable.
        6. Go back in Downward Dog pose and repeat on the left side and then relax in the child pose.

        Contraindications/Modifications of Low Lunge Pose

        • Be careful in case of ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, and neck issues.
        • In case of neck issues, don’t turn the neck back. Keep looking in front.
        • Do not perform in case of heart conditions and uncontrolled hypertension.
        • Also not advised in case of vertigo, ear infections, and any kind of cranial lesions.
        • Be very careful if you have a history of shoulder injury.

        5. Sitting Spinal Twist (Ardhmatseyndrasana)

        1. Sit with both legs stretched forward and spine straight. Make sure you are sitting on both hips and not leaning on one.
        2. Bend the left leg while keeping it on the mat and place the heel of the left leg touching the right hip.
        3. Bend the right foot and cross it over to the left touching the left hip, knee pointing to the sky.
        4. Take the right arm back and place the right palm in line with the right hip. Support the spine with the right elbow, keeping it straight. Do not lean back on the arm.
        5. Inhale and stretch your left arm up, exhale completely and twist towards the right hooking the left elbow outside of the right knee. If possible, you can extend the left arm to grab the right ankle.
        6. Neck parallel to the right shoulder. Look in front.
        7. Take 5 deep breaths or up to 1 minute if comfortable.
        8. Repeat on the other side.

        Contraindications/Modifications of Sitting Spinal Twist

        • Be careful in case of knee, hip, shoulder, and neck issues.
        • Do not perform in case of severe back pain, slip disc, or internal organ issues.
        • In case of neck issues, don’t turn the neck back. Keep looking in front.
        • Do not perform in case of heart conditions and uncontrolled hypertension.

        Time to Perk Up With These Energy-Boosting Yoga Poses

        Apart from all the benefits from stretching in each posture to targeting specific organs, notice that in Yoga, your body is getting the added boost of oxygen with each deep inhalation and deep detoxification with each exhalation. You can not only transform your mood but also your life by boosting up your energy levels in a way that is sustainable without any side-effects through the age-old techniques of Yoga.

        Do not wait anymore. Try these energy-boosting yoga poses today and see how you feel before, during, and after the posture. Namaste.

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        More Energy-Boosting Yoga Poses

        Featured photo credit: Katie Bush via unsplash.com

        Reference

        More by this author

        Roli Jain

        Internationally Certified Hatha Yoga Coach & Therapist. On a mission to transform lives through Yoga after transforming my own.

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        Published on May 13, 2021

        How Physical Inactivity Affects Your Energy Levels

        How Physical Inactivity Affects Your Energy Levels

        We’ve all heard people say, “I’m too tired to exercise.” Perhaps, we also say this excuse ourselves when others ask why we don’t consistently engage in physical activities. According to The Heart Foundation, this is the number one reason given for physical inactivity.[1]

        This is a paradox because we need the energy to exercise and yet, one major effect of physical inactivity is having depleted energy levels, which makes it extremely difficult to get moving in the first place. Oxygen is a key energy-producing fuel source, and lack of exercise limits oxygen supply to our brains and bodies, creating an energy slump.

        So, how does physical inactivity affects our energy levels?

        Low energy levels do more than just leave us feeling sluggish and unmotivated. The effects of physical inactivity set off a domino effect that topples our ability to focus, make smart decisions, manage our mood, build resilience against stress, and perform at our highest capacity—basically, all the fundamental pillars of maintaining optimal energy levels.

        Left unchecked, this can lead to discontent in our own lives and create a ripple that impacts everyone around us.

        There’s good news, though. You don’t have to suffer through hours at the gym, force yourself out of bed for a crack-of-dawn jog, or endure other such unpleasantries to shift this dynamic for yourself.

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        Here are some of the ways the effects of physical inactivity play out in various areas of our lives and also some simple, painless activities to try that will enhance your energy levels.

        1. The Relational Element

        Do you ever feel drained of energy when you’re caught up in an argument with your partner or when your kid is having a meltdown? It’s like someone pulled the plug and every last drop of your life force is flushed down the tubes.

        It turns out that a lack of physical activity could be a factor in this phenomenon. One study found that when people exercise, it creates a cascade of positive interactions with friends and family on the day of—as well as the day following—the activity.[2]

        Better Together

        These benefits are increased when we exercise with our loved ones. Next time you sense an impending family feud, take a timeout for some physical activity together. I remember many occasions when my own kids were toddlers, ditching our plans in a moment of frustration to go outside together quickly moved the day’s trajectory onto a more positive track, even if it was for just a few minutes. This still rings true today in their teen and preteen years. Though persuading them to change gears can require a bit more patience these days, it’s always well worth it!

        Play a game of basketball or tennis. Bike around the block. Trek through your nearest trail or green space. Go critter spotting at a local park or in your own backyard. Not only can this tactic help diffuse a situation before it becomes volatile, but if you make it a habit, you’re also likely to notice an overall reduction in these energy-draining moments.

        2. The Mental/Emotional Element

        An estimated 40 million adults suffer anxiety disorders in the US alone.[3] When we are triggered by a threat, whether real or perceived, our brains pump out hormones to help us cope in what’s known as the “fight – flight – freeze” response. The aftermath can feel like a massive depletion of our energy.

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        Sleep is an excellent method for recovering, but continuous anxious thoughts often make this difficult. Physical inactivity compounds this because it means we’re losing out on one of the most effective natural methods for regulating our sleeping patterns. Exercise also promotes mental clarity by effectively wiping our minds and bodies of the excess stress hormones instigated by anxiety.

        Natural Regulators

        It’s not only anxiety disorders that bungle our energy levels. Everyday stresses and mood fluctuations can make us feel like we’re stuck on an exhausting rollercoaster of emotion.

        Physical inactivity contributes to the depletion of serotonin and dopamine—chemicals that help naturally regulate our mood and energy. Physical activity boosts these chemicals which enhances activity in the prefrontal cortex (the part of our brains responsible for higher-ordered thinking).[4] This process calms the limbic brain (our emotional headquarters), automatically shutting down energy-wasting emotional triggers.

        3. The Intuitive/Spiritual Element

        Exercise helps us grow our mind-body awareness while we learn to move out of our logical thought processes. The more we tune into our bodies and what they are telling us, the better we can tap into our inner knowing. We can stop using up our energy chasing after solutions or validation that comes from outside ourselves.

        Our connectivity to the Universe or a higher power can be a catalyst for improving our energy levels as well. There are several approaches to enhance this through physical activity. Yoga and Tai Chi, for instance, are well-known spiritual practices used for centuries to connect mind, body, and spirit. From a Western perspective, they also help to create harmony between our needs for “achievement” energy and “restful” energy. Too much focus on either end of the spectrum can lead to burnout or depression.

        A Powerful Combination

        Meditation is another spiritual custom that is also a proven energy booster.[5] Unfortunately, sitting still and calming our minds can be a struggle, especially for people with anxiety issues.

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        “Walking meditation” is one ritual that makes this easier while providing the powerful energy-boosting combination of both physical activity and intentional reflection. The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley describes this as a “basic method for cultivating mindfulness . . ., which involves focusing closely on the physical experience of walking, paying attention to the specific components of each step.”[6]

        Hiking in nature also counteracts physical inactivity while helping us reconnect with our spirituality by calling our attention to the wonders of the world beyond ourselves. Awe-inspiring experiences contribute to positive changes in mood, attitude, and behavior. This enhances our energy levels by freeing up our mental space from overthinking and negativity. We can trust in our own inner knowing and lean into the belief that the Universe always has our backs.

        4. The Self-Mastery Element

        How energetic do you feel when your inner critic is saying you’re “too weak,” “too old,” or “too broken” to achieve your greatest goals and live your full purpose in life? It drags you down, right?

        When our brains believe these negative thoughts, it exhausts our energy levels, but fortunately, there is a simple method for counteracting these lies.

        You guessed it—exercise.

        Physical accomplishments change our self-perception and boost our feelings of empowerment and self-worth. The agility and flexibility gains we achieve through repetitive practice of HIIT (high-intensity interval training), martial arts, or metabolic conditioning sessions, for example, create neural patterns in our brains. This carries over and rewires our mind-body for grit, strength, coordination, and resilience in all areas of our lives. What could feel more energizing than knowing you are powerful and capable of overcoming any challenge that comes your way?

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        Express Yourself

        Our energy levels can also be improved through self-expressive activities (e.g., dance) by helping us unpack a mess of emotions that may be bogging us down. Reaping the rewards of physical activity doesn’t require us to be focused on appearance or weight. Just find something you enjoy and that makes you feel good to move your body, whether it’s a salsa class or a favorite sport, Pilates or Zumba, or just a stroll through the neighborhood.

        We don’t have to jump in with the go-getter approach we tend to take with most endeavors either. We don’t even need to be what we would consider athletic, artistic, or dramatic. All that’s required is to take one step forward with a focus on personal progress. Remove the expectations, self-judgment, and comparisons, and watch yourself bloom.

        5. Energy Beyond Exercise

        Globally, one in four adults does not meet recommended levels of physical activity, according to WHO.[7] While it is important to understand the ramifications that inadequate exercise can have on our health and longevity, this is just one part of the equation. There is far more at stake here.

        Modern living enables us to achieve most of our daily needs with the least amount of physical effort possible. Not only do we not exercise enough, but we also rarely move our bodies at all—except from couch to fridge or from the doorstep to the car.

        Physical inactivity robs us of powerful elements that enrich our lives—deeper connections with ourselves, our loved ones, our inner peace, and the vastness of the Universe around us. Our ability to feel fulfilled and successful in life hinges on the link between movement and vitality. Simply put, physical inactivity dwindles our energy at every level.

        Here is a breakdown to help you fit it into your schedule with ease: On each of 5 days per week, do 15 minutes of vigorous exercise (HIIT, jogging, metabolic conditioning, or fast swimming or biking) or 30 minutes of moderate exercise (brisk walking, dancing, hiking, tennis, or water aerobics). And remember, any form of movement is better than none.

        More About the Importance of Physical Activity

        Featured photo credit: Adrian Swancar via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] The Heart Foundation: The Top 10 Excuses for Not Exercising
        [2] Science Direct: The cascade of positive events: Does exercise on a given day increase the frequency of additional positive events?
        [3] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Facts and Statistics
        [4] American Psychological Association: Working out boosts brain health
        [5] NCBI: Meditation: Process and Effects
        [6] Greater Good Science Center: Walking Meditation Practice
        [7] World Health Organization: Physical activity fact sheet

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