Yoga: Your New Morning Coffee
We practice yoga for a variety of reasons. It may be to become more flexible, to work stretching and muscle work into your fitness regimen, or to become more centered, calm, and stress free. The benefits of yoga are virtually limitless, improving the health of our body, mind, and soul. But sometimes there are more specific needs we are looking to be met when we are practicing. If we’ve been experiencing back pain we look for spinal focused poses. There are also poses and flows to prevent or help with specific diseases or conditions.
One issue that almost everyone has dealt with at some time or another in their lives is energy. Whether you have difficulty waking up in the morning, staying alert at work all day, or need to power through a late shift, energy is a very coveted commodity in our fast-paced world. It seems like everyone is looking for the answer to their energy deficiencies. Different foods can help, such as certain proteins, fruits, and vegetables and of course there is the litany of energy drinks and supplements (including that beloved cup of coffee!)
But if none of that seems to work, or you’re looking for an alternative, yoga may be your answer. Just as it helps with many other problems in our lives, some yoga poses and flows can perk you up and leave you energized for the rest of the day (or night!)
1 - Wake Up Like a Yogi
Practicing yoga in the morning is a great way to start your day and with the right flow, will keep you alert all day long. Mornings can be hectic and if you’re heading to work you might be in a time crunch. This short yoga sequence is just about 30 minutes in length and includes basic movements such as a seated side twist, warrior I, and of course a sun salutation! Work this sync into your morning routine every day for a week and see how your overall energy improves.
2 - Sun Salutation
If a 30 minutes yoga is still too time consuming for your mornings, try just doing a simple sun salutation right when you wake up to instantly increase your alertness. A basic sun salutation is a flowy, yoga cycle that takes you from standing mountain pose, to a forward bend, a lunge, cobra pose, downward dog, and back up to standing. There are different variations and you can repeat the flow as many times as you desire and time allows each morning. Just as it’s name suggests, your daily sun salutation will help you to greet the rising sun and prepare you for the day ahead!
3 – Yoga Throughout Your Day
So maybe you don’t have the time or foresight to practice in the morning, or you usually get a late afternoon fatigue. Instead of performing energizing flows, you can try performing a few key moves while you’re at work or have a break in the day to help get you going and back on track. These are also great if you are working a late shift and need a little boost!
Breathe in and slowly bend forward at your hips. Take a breath here, and then slowly come back up to standing, one vertebra at a time. If you can, reach your arms over your head and breathe. Repeat as many times as desired.
Bend your knees and raise your arms above your head. Imagine sitting in an invisible chair as you ground your feet into the floor, lower into your seat, and stretch your arms to the sky. Hold here for a few breaths.
This is a great way to get a boost of energy if performing yogic movements isn’t a possibility at work! Sit up straight and tall in your chair, preferably away from the back of your seat. Place your middle finger on your forehead and press your ring finger on your left nostril to block the air. Slowly inhale through your right nostril for four counts, hold, and exhale for four counts. Repeat at least 3-5 times to maximize your energy!