Energy is an incredible health benefit of a regular yoga practice. There are many studies documenting the energy people experience from yoga and there are many different classes to get you moving and feeling energized! Yoga will allow you to accomplish more in your day without experiencing stress so you can work towards the lofty goals you have for your life while enjoying little moments of gratitude and life. New Canadian research says that just 25 minutes of yoga can improve energy levels and brain function more than reading a book quietly. There’s nothing like a relaxing and invigorating yoga class to start or end the day, where you walk out of the studio light on your feet with a care-free mind. Although yoga has a lot to do with relaxation and calming, it’s also about revitalization and boosting energy levels. To maximize energy, spine movements are key in order to massage internal organs and expand the heart and lungs.
At Joy & Vitality Centre, we have many different yoga classes to boost your energy levels. Why not try the Hot Mess Buti? It’s the newest yoga trend combining a cardio intensive class with power flow yoga, tribal dance, deep abdominal work and plyometrics to sculpt both body and soul! Another great class option would be the Power Flow Yoga. It’s a fun and energetic class aimed at synchronizing breath with movement. Flowing through various postures will allow you to engage in a cardiovascular, strength based and total balancing experience. May we also suggest the Yoga For Stress Relief class? This is a perfect class when you’re feeling stressed but you need to feel calm and relaxed. Through the first part of class you’ll flow through postures to increase heart rate and engage the muscles – a fantastic way to burn away stress and get some energy back! You’ll finish off this class with some calming breath work and a brief meditation so you’ll leave feeling calm, relaxed and re-energized.
In addition to your yoga practice, here are five quick yoga poses to deliver an espresso shot of energy to your day.
1. Fold Forward – stretches your hamstrings, while practicing focus, presence and feeling centered.
How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart, keeping knees slightly bent (a). Bend forward from the hips, making sure to keep hips stacked directly over your ankles (b). Pull your abs in toward your spine, letting your head hang and hold each elbow with the opposite hand. Take 15 deep breaths in and out of your nose.
2. Sun Salutation – warms up your upper back, shoulders, core, legs and butt. Pick up the pace to really get your heart pumping.
How to Do It: Start in downward dog. Hold for 10 deep breaths (a). Slowly step your feet to your hands, inhaling as you stand up. Step your feet together and inhale as you lift your arms directly overhead (b). Exhale and bend forward from the hips until your hands touch the floor or your shins, letting your head drop (bend your knees slightly if your legs feel tight) (c). Inhale and rise halfway, until your back is parallel to the floor, letting your hands rest on your shins as you look forward (d). Exhale and step or jump both feet back to a plank position (e). Lower to chatarunga (f). Then, inhale as you shift into cobra or upward dog (g). Exhale as you lift hips to downward dog, and hold for five breaths (h). Step or jump feet to your hands, and rise until your back is parallel to the floor (i). Exhale and fold forward, then inhale and stand,
3. Upright Cat/Cow – activates flow through your whole spine without putting pressure on it.
How to Do It: Sit with your legs crossed and place hands on knees, shins or ankles (a). Inhale and arch your back, pushing your chest forward and rolling your shoulders down. Engage your abdominals (b). Exhale, rounding your spine and releasing your abs (c). Continue for about two minutes, focusing on each breath.
4. Reverse Plank Pose – counteracts poor posture, opening your chest and sending oxygen to your heart, while warming up your legs, arms and core.
How to Do It: Sit with your legs extended in front of you, feet together, and palms on the floor about 12 inches behind your butt, fingers pointing forward (a). Inhale and lift your hips and belly up to the ceiling as you drop your head back, keeping palms pressed against the floor (b). Roll the shoulders back, opening your chest and heart (c). Hold for five breaths, and slowly release to return to starting position.
5. Ego Eradicator – brings more oxygen to your brain and lungs to help wake you up and energize your body & mind.
How to Do It: Sit with your legs crossed and raise arms overhead to make a “V” (a). Actively point all your fingers and thumbs up toward the ceiling, then begin Breath of Fire, which is a two-minute sequence of quick, forceful breaths (b). Each inhale and exhale should take one second, max.
Yoga poses adapted from: http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/workout-yoga-poses-energize-morning/