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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
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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.

        10 Knee Stretches For Knee Pain Relief 5 Energy-Boosting Yoga Poses to Try Anytime Daily 15-Minute Stretching Routine to Stay Fit and Flexible

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        1 Shift Work Disorder: 17 Ways to Manage it Better 2 What Is the Best Time to Take Your Vitamins? 3 Do Vitamins and Supplements Help With Energy? 4 7 Ways Regular Exercise Boosts Your Mood And Energy 5 How To Take a Cold Shower For the Best Health Benefits

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        Published on July 15, 2021

        Shift Work Disorder: 17 Ways to Manage it Better

        Shift Work Disorder: 17 Ways to Manage it Better
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        Are you having trouble sleeping? Or do you feel like you can barely stay awake when you need to? Are you left tired and irritable, lacking the joy and motivation that life once brought? If these complaints are tied to your long or rotating work schedule, you may be suffering from shift work disorder—a common ailment among professions with schedules outside the typical 9 am to 6 pm range.[1]

        Why does it matter? Let’s be honest—being tired stinks. It feels terrible and leaves you vulnerable to many health risks that well-rested people aren’t as susceptible to. Not only that, but it can also wreak havoc on your relationships and quality of life.

        The good news is that there are plenty of ways to help manage this, and you can start trying them out today! Some of the solutions may not be what you expect. For instance, you might have linked improved sleep to exercise, but did you know that being compassionate with yourself can also have an impact?

        Who Are Affected by Shift Work Disorder?

        Twenty-five million people are shift workers in the country, so you are far from alone if you are struggling with this. Shift work disorder is a condition frequently affecting anyone who works a job where their schedule is outside standard business hours. Nurses, police officers, firefighters, and factory workers are common examples of professions with schedules that rotate around the clock.

        Rotating shifts naturally leads to a change in one’s schedule, including sleep. As your sleep schedule becomes more chaotic, your body is unable to adjust and regulate itself and can result in having difficulty falling or staying asleep. This inevitably leads to less sleep, which is where some big problems can arise.

        What Are the Symptoms?

        Sleep is one of the most important (and underrated) aspects of our lives. Enough sleep and good quality sleep are critical to our emotional, mental, and physical health.

        Insufficient sleep can lead to a significantly increased risk of physical health problems, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and gastrointestinal disorders. Mentally, being tired contributes to having scattered concentration, difficulty processing information, and being more likely to make mistakes or have an accident. Emotionally, the fallout of being chronically exhausted is linked to poor emotional regulation including being irritated more quickly, as well as an increased likelihood of developing anxiety and depression.[2]

        Any of this sound familiar? If so, keep reading for some scientifically-based tips to help you manage your sleep better and get your life back.

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        17 Ways to Manage Shift Work Disorder Better

        Quality sleep, or the lack thereof, impacts us physically, mentally, and emotionally. The most impactful plan of attack against shift work disorder and to regain quality sleep must also reflect that.

        I suggest reading through all of the tips and formulating a plan based on what you think will work for you. Start by trying out one thing and build from there as you are able. Remember to construct a plan that addresses your physical, mental, and emotional health.

        Let’s start in the most obvious place first:

        Your Job

        1. Make Your Schedule the Best It Can Be

        Randomly rotating shifts has been found to have the worst impact on our health.[3] If you have to rotate your schedule, request to rotate shifts in a clockwise fashion.

        For example: work the day shift, rotate to the nights, then to the early morning shift, then start back on the day shift. Sounds silly? It’s not. Studies show that our bodies more easily adjust to changes in schedule when completed in a clockwise manner.[4] This is because of something called our circadian rhythm—24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock that carry out essential functions. The most commonly known of these is sleep. It has been discovered that our circadian rhythm adjusts forward more easily than it does backward.

        2. Speak to Your Manager About Keeping Your Workplace Bright

        Special lights have been designed to assist with circadian rhythm. It turns out that absorbing bright light that is most similar to sunlight can positively impact regulating our circadian rhythm.[5]

        3. Avoid a Long Commute to and From Work

        Having a long drive home after working a rotating shift is statistically not in your best interest. It’s been shown that fatigued/sleepy employees are 70% more likely to have a workplace accident and 33% more likely to be involved in a traffic accident.[6]

        To avoid putting yourself at risk by driving when you’re not at your best, catch a nap before leaving work, pull over to sleep, or stay at a friend’s house nearby.

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        4. Speak to Your Manager About Your Concerns

        Many companies that operate around the clock are willing and able to make accommodations to those working alternative shifts. Whether it’s helping you find a schedule that works best for you or connecting you with other programs designed to support your well-being, being in good communication with your employer is to everyone’s benefit.

        Sleep Attitudes and Environment

        5. Change Your Perspective and Start Prioritizing Sleep

        Here’s the deal: despite some pretty well-known dangerous effects of not getting enough sleep, somewhere along the line, our society began to think of sleep as a luxury. Some even consider it a badge of honor to “power through” without much (or any) sleep. People have been made to feel embarrassed or lazy if they get the recommended amount of sleep each night.

        Here’s the bottom line: sleep is not a luxury.

        Let me repeat that—sleep is not a luxury, and getting a consistent and healthy amount does not make you a slacker. Sleep is actually when our body does a lot of repair work on itself—blood vessels, muscles, and other organs. Sleep also boosts our immunity.

        If we could help people feel as proud about sleeping as we do about them working out regularly or sticking to a healthy diet, people might be a lot healthier.

        6. Make Your Sleep Space as Conducive to Rest as Possible

        This means tweaking your environment so it’s as enticing as possible for your body to go to sleep. Keep the room dark using blackout blinds, reduce the temperature (our body rests best when slightly cool), limit interruptions (phone calls, visitors, noise), and remove electronic devices.[7]

        Set yourself up for success by supporting yourself through your surroundings. If you wanted to lose weight, you wouldn’t frequently surround yourself with cookies, cake, and ice cream, right? Same idea here.

        Personal Habits and Choices

        7. Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule as Closely as Possible—on Workdays and Days Off

        This is obviously difficult when your schedule changes on the regular, but the more consistent you can keep your bedtime, the easier time your body has getting to sleep and staying that way.[8]

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        8. Allow Yourself Time to Catch Up on Sleep

        Having enough days off to rest and recuperate is an important aspect of protecting your health. You wouldn’t expect to be able to drive across the country on one tank of gas, right? Filling your own personal gas tank is just as important.

        9. Take Naps, but Don’t Overdo It

        It’s recommended by the Cleveland Clinic to take a 90-minute nap just before starting your shift and then a 30-minute nap during your “lunch break” at work.[9] Again, this is all about keeping some gas in your tank and not allowing yourself to get to the point where you are running on fumes. Short naps will help you stay refreshed and alert on the job.

        10. Limit Caffeine to the Start of Your Shift

        Most of us love a good hit of caffeine, especially when we are tired. But overdoing it or having caffeine too late in your shift can negatively impact your ability to get to sleep when you finally have the time to do so. Moderate your intake to help yourself get some quality sleep.

        11. Avoid Alcohol Before Bed

        Unwinding after work with a drink can be tempting. It can make you drowsy, which many people mistakenly believe will help them get better sleep. Unfortunately, alcohol will actually keep you awake (or wake you up later). This obviously impairs your ability to get the quality of sleep you are looking for.

        12. Don’t Smoke

        Much like alcohol, people turn to nicotine to “calm their nerves” or help them relax. Also, like alcohol, nicotine has been shown to disrupt sleep.[10] Cut back or cut this habit out as able.

        13. Eat Well and Eat Smart

        Choose convenient nutritious meals and snacks. Nutritious food is the foundation from which our body creates the needed chemicals for quality sleep. Foods high in saturated fat and sugar have been shown to have the worst impact on sleep.[11]

        Also, timing is everything as they say. Eating too much or not enough before your shift can cause you to feel tired.

        14. Get Regular Exercise

        According to numerous studies, exercise can be as effective in treating sleep disorders as prescription medication.[12] Yes, you read that correctly—regular exercise is the bomb!

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        This one can be tricky to convince people to do, especially if they are already tired and short on time. If you don’t have the time to hit the gym, take a brisk walk, dance around your living room to your favorite song, or mow your lawn. Despite feeling tired, getting up off the couch and moving around (moderate to vigorous exercise) is best for reducing the time it takes to get to sleep and improving the quality of sleep.

        Mental and Emotional

        15. Establish Consistent Practices That Help You Relax Before Bed

        This can include yoga, deep breathing, a warm bath, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, meditation, and hypnosis. These are designed to reduce physical tension and quiet your mind from thoughts that are keeping you awake. There are lots of great apps and free videos that can help you with this.

        16. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

        Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT as it’s known, works by helping you to identify thoughts and behaviors that make sleep worse and then developing new habits consisting of thoughts and behaviors that promote sleep. There are psychologists and life coaches who are specially certified in CBT that can help you with this.

        17. Show Yourself Some Compassion

        Sounds silly? Well, it’s not. A seven-year study conducted at the University of Mannheim concluded that the daily practice of self-compassion positively impacted people’s quality of sleep.[13]

        The concept of showing ourselves compassion is foreign (and uncomfortable) to many of us. Try going easy on yourself for being grumpy, and give yourself some credit for the efforts you are making in tough circumstances. What would you say to your best friend if they were struggling with the same situation? I routinely ask my clients this question as it’s sometimes easier to be compassionate to others than ourselves. This tip might take some practice, but the effort could result in a better night’s sleep.

        Final Thoughts

        Okay, there you have it—17 different ways you can help yourself manage shift work disorder, feel more rested, more like yourself, and enjoy life again. To get started with your plan, pick out a few tips that you can implement today, but remember to choose a well-rounded approach—addressing the physical, mental and emotional.

        Be patient with yourself. It takes time to build new habits. And show yourself some compassion and kindness—you might just be able to sleep better when you do.

        Featured photo credit: Yuris Alhumaydy via unsplash.com

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        Reference

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