Many people approach yoga to increase their flexibility and strength, while one of the main benefits of a regular yoga practice is the increase in energy and overall vitality.
Fatigue, lethargy and tiredness as a result of hours spent sitting in front of the screen and commuting to work has become a common problem. Add to this life in a hot climate such as the one we have in Dubai, and it becomes very easy to reach for coffee or sugar fix for a quick energy boost.
This is where yoga comes to play: unlike coffee, which will help only momentarily , yoga has a long lasting effect on our energy levels, keeping us active and charged throughout the day.
With the constant practice of asana, correct breathing and meditation we start removing blockages along the spinal cord, as well as impurities and toxins from our body. We start bringing more oxygen to our circulatory system and also start to awaken our nervous system. That invigorating effect on our physical and mental system reduces fatigue and improves our fitness level.
These are selected variety of asanas that when practiced daily will help us maximize and sustain our energy levels:
1. Surya Namaskara – Sun Salutations
Traditionally we practice sun salutations to awaken the body and to prepare it for the asana practice. Ideally they are performed upon rising up, on an empty stomach.
Postures that are part of it such as Downward facing Dog ( Adho Mukha Svanasana ) and Upward Facing dog ( Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) are excellent to build strength & stamina in our body.
Tip: even when you don’t have time for full yoga practice, 5 -10 minutes of sun salutations in the morning will set your body and mood for the day ahead.
2. Kumbhakasana – Plank
Holding the plank increases our upper body strength and specifically works on strengthening our core – one of the main energy centers in our body. Strong core means more power, and more power means more energy.
Tip: In plank position bring awareness to the back of your heels, pressing them away from you while pushing the floor away with your hands.
3. Virabhadrasana 2 – Warrior II
This strong and fierce warrior position fires up our legs and strengthens and tones arms and lower back.
Tip: focus on engaging legs strongly through the feet and drawing energy from the earth. Strong legs will help you carry yourself with confidence and power through your life.
4. Utkatasana – Chair Pose
Sitting on a chair is easy, but sitting on the imaginary chair can be very challenging and beneficial. It fires up our thighs and works on strengthening our chest, lower back and opening our shoulders.
Tip: when you raise our arms above our head, concentrate in opening yourself to receiving more energy to your being. Mental energy is important too!
5. Shalabhasana – Locust
Is one of the first backbends one should introduce into practice to strengthen the lower back and prepare it for more advanced backbends. It also strengthens our arms and legs, and because we perform it while laying down on our abdomen, it stimulates, massages and tones abdominal organs while improving our digestion and metabolism
Tip: better to perform with an empty stomach, to start feeling lighter and move with ease.
6. Urdhva Dhanurasana – The Full Wheel
This powerful backbend opens the front part of our body, making us more open and receptive to the world around us. It unlocks energy of the spine and nervous system.
Tip: as the chest is stretching and opening, go the extra mile and have an extra deep breath, so the lungs can fully expand.
BONUS: Breathing Technique
7. Surya Bhedana – Right Nostril Breathing
Our right nostril is associated to the Sun energy – awakening, stimulating and energizing ,- opening and breathing through right nostril gives us energy. It helps to to reduce and remove lethargy and tiredness . It increases vitality and strengthens the body; makes you dynamic, successful and outgoing.
Tip: sit in a comfortable position and straight spine. Close your left nostril with your ring and little finger and inhale through the right nostril. Then, closing your right nostril with your thumb, exhale through the left nostril. This constitutes one round. Immediately close the left nostril again and inhale through the right. Repeat for a few rounds to feel the raise on your energy levels.
Happy breathe, and happy energy boost!