Yoga Poses for Energy

Need a caffeine-free energy boost? Here is a short routine that can easily be incorporated into your day. Only taking about 20 minutes to complete, this sequence has been designed to help release stress, open up the tight spaces in your body, and get the energy flowing!

Remember to move slowly in and out of the poses. Keep your breathing smooth and even at all times. Do not change the order of this sequence — it has been specifically organized to bring you the most benefits. Remember to check with your doctor before practicing yoga if you have any injuries, health issues, or concerns. Take it easy, and have fun!

1. Cat-Cow Pose

 

Cat Pose (Marjaryasana) is often paired with Cow Pose (Bitilasana) for a gentle warm-up sequence. Practiced together, the poses bring flexibility to the spine, stretch the back torso and neck, and softly stimulate the abdominal organs.

  1. Start on your hands and knees, with your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips. Point your fingertips to the top of your mat. Place your shins and knees hip-distance apart, center your head in a neutral position, and soften your gaze downward.
  2. Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat, lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling. This is Cow Pose.
  3. As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. The pose should look like a cat stretching its back. Release the crown of your head toward the floor, but don't force your chin to your chest.
  4. Inhale, coming back into Cow Pose, then exhale as you return to Cat Pose.
  5. Repeat 5-20 times, then rest.

2. Three-Legged Downward-Facing Dog

This variation on the popular pose, Downward Dog, opens the hips, strengthens the shoulders and arms, and energizes the entire body. Do not practice if you have severe carpal tunnel syndrome or are in late-term pregnancy.

  1. Begin on your hands and knees. The fold of your wrists should be parallel with the top edge of your mat. With your feet hip-distance apart, exhale and lift your knees off the floor. Gently begin to straighten your legs, but do not lock your knees. As you lengthen your spine, lift your sit bones up toward the ceiling. Press down equally through your heels and the palms of your hands.
  2. Firm the outer muscles of your arms and press your index fingers into the floor. Lift from the inner muscles of your arms through the top of your shoulders. Draw your shoulder blades into your upper back ribs and towards your tailbone. Relax your head between your upper arms, but do not let it dangle. This is Downward-Facing Dog.
  3. Bring your feet together. Shift your weight evenly across both hands and your left foot. Lift your right leg to the sky, reaching through your heel. Keep pressing your left heel to the ground.
  4. Hold for five breaths. Then, lower your right leg and repeat on the opposite side of your body.
  5. Step both feet back to the mat, hip-distance apart. To release, gently bend your knees with an exhalation and come back onto your hands and knees.

3. Crescent Lunge (Low)

 

This variation on Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana) stretches the thighs and hip flexors, while also helping to open the abdomen, chest, and shoulders.

  1. From Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), step your right foot forward between your hands. Align your right knee over the heel of your right foot.
  2. Lower your left knee to the floor and slide your leg back a few inches. Un-tuck your left toes; rest the top of your left foot on the floor.
  3. Inhale as you raise your torso to an upright position. Sweep your arms overhead. Draw your tailbone toward the floor. Gaze up at your thumbs.
  4. Hold for up to one minute. Release your hands back to the mat and step back into Downward Dog. Repeat on the other side.

4. Warrior I

 

This popular standing pose (Virabhadrasana I) stretches the whole front side of the body while strengthening the thighs, ankles, and back. Students with neck injuries should keep their head in a neutral position — do not look up at the hands.

  1. Stand with your feet wide apart. Point your right foot to the top of the mat, and turn your left foot slightly inwards.
  2. Draw your shoulder blades in toward your upper back ribs. Keeping your pelvis turned toward the front edge of your mat.
  3. Press weight through your left heel. Then exhale as you bend your right knee over your right ankle. Your shin should be perpendicular to the floor.
  4. Reach up strongly through your arms. Ground down through your left foot, and keep your left thigh lifting. Broaden across your belly and chest, and lift through your fingertips. 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.

5. Warrior II

 

A powerful stretch for the legs, groins, and chest, Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II) also increases stamina. It helps to relieve backaches, and stimulates healthy digestion.

  1. Stand with your feet wide apart. Point your right foot to the top of the mat, and turn your left foot slightly inwards.
  2. Raise your arms parallel to the floor, reaching out actively from fingertip to fingertip.
  3. Bend your front knee to 90 degrees, making sure to keep your knee over your ankle. Press back through the outer edge of your left foot.
  4. Keep your torso perpendicular to the floor, lengthening the space between your shoulder blades, broadening across your collarbones.
  5. Draw your tailbone slightly downwards, and gaze out across your right middle finger. Hold for up to a minute. Repeat on the other side.

6. Camel Pose

 

Camel Pose (Ustrasana) is a backbend that stretches the whole front of the body, particularly the chest, abdomen, quadriceps, and hip flexors. It strengthens the back muscles, and is known to be therapeutic for respiratory ailments and fatigue.

  1. Begin by kneeling upright with your knees hip-distance apart. Rotate your thighs inward and press your shins and the tops of your feet into the floor. Rest your hands on the back of your pelvis, fingers pointing to the floor.
  2. Lean back and take hold of each heel. Hold the outside of each foot with your thumbs. Turn your arms outward without squeezing your shoulder blades. Keep your head in a neutral position or allow it to drop back.
  3. Hold for up to a minute. To release, bring your hands back to your front hips. Inhale, lead with your heart, and lift your torso by pushing your hips down toward the floor. Your head should come up last.

7: Reclined Spinal Twist

 

Twists are a great way to decompress. They can squeeze out the anxiety and frustrations of your day, like wringing out a sponge. They also stimulate and detoxify the organs of your torso.

  1. To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat. You can rest your head on a pillow or blanket if your neck hurts. Extend your arms to the side, with your shoulder blades on the floor.
  2. As you exhale, drop your knees to the left as you gently turn your head to the right. Soften your gaze as you keep your shoulder blades pressing towards the floor and away from your ears. Allow the force of gravity to drop your knees even closer to the floor.
  3. Hold the pose for several breaths. Then on an inhalation, slowly bring your knees back to your chest. Exhale, and release your legs to the right.
  4. When you’re finished with the pose, hug your knees to your chest for a few breaths, then slowly exhale as you extend your legs along the floor.