I started doing yoga when my kids were about 2 years old. I had always been into sports and fitness, but had never really given yoga a try because it was "too easy". (I was one of those mommies that you would find at the rock climbing gym and bootcamp classes.)
When I started doing Bikram yoga, however - the hottest of the hot yogas - I found that it quickly became something that I looked forward to, and something that my body craved.
Yoga was my own personal retreat, 90 minutes of silence and moving meditation that allowed me to recharge both body and mind.
I found that Bikram yoga was hard enough that I had to focus on the poses.
All the negative thoughts left my mind.
All the to-do lists were left at the door.
It didn't matter what we were eating for supper, or what extracurriculars were planned for tomorrow.
All that mattered was my breath and my body. Here and now. Grab onto your right foot at the ankle joint and kick out.
It was a reprieve from the chaos of the day.
As it turns out, yoga is also AMAZING for increasing energy, regulating metabolism, giving you a mood boost, helping you sleep better.... All things that a yoga mommy (and...really...everyone else) needs.
So if you need an energy boost mid-day, or mid-week, or...heck!...maybe even on Monday morning. Maybe especially on Monday morning...
...put down that fourth cup of coffee and try out these 8 simple yoga poses for increased energy.
Yoga Poses for Energy: 8 Easy Poses
#1 Rabbit Pose
In addition to stretching and strengthening the spine, rabbit pose feeds the nervous system with fresh blood and oxygen, which can help to improve energy levels.
Rabbit pose is best done in combination with camel pose, so that you get a deep forward bend and a deep backward bend.
- Improves digestion, glandular problems.
- Helps improve conditions of the sinus, common cold and chronic tonsillitis.
- Helps insomnia and depression.
- Regulates the metabolism.
- Stretches the spine to increase proper nutrition to the nervous system.
#2 Bridge Pose
Bridge pose is great for stretching the chest, neck, and spine (things that don't get much stretching in daily life!) as well as for improving mood, energy levels, and helping you to sleep better.
- Stretches the chest, neck, and spine
- Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression
- Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid
- Rejuvenates tired legs
- Improves digestion
- Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
- Relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported
- Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia
- Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis
#3 Camel Pose
Camel pose is one of the toughest poses for a yoga beginner (or even someone who's been practicing for years!)
I did camel for a full 2 years with my hands on the back of my hips, supporting my spine, and bending backward as far as I could go...which wasn't far!
Just go as deep as you can. A modified camel pose will have the same benefits.
- Reduces fat on thighs.
- Opens up the hips, stretching deep hip flexors.
- Stretches and strengthens the shoulders and back.
- Expands the abdominal region, improving digestion and elimination.
- Improves posture.
- Opens the chest, improving respiration.
- Loosens up the vertebrae.
- Relieves lower back pain.
- May help with respiratory issues, fatigue, menstrual cramps, diabetes, anxiety and depression.
#4 Cobra Pose
Cobra pose is excellent for relieving a stiff, achy back. It can also help improve energy levels and a little time spent in cobra pose can go a long way towards alleviating stress, anxiety and even depression.
- Strengthens the spine
- Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
- Firms the buttocks
- Stimulates abdominal organs
- Helps relieve stress and fatigue
- Opens the heart and lungs
- Soothes sciatica
- Therapeutic for asthma
- Traditional texts say that Bhujangasana increases body heat, destroys disease, and awakens kundalini.
#5 Half Tortoise Pose
Half tortoise pose is, hands down, my favourite yoga pose. I'd stay like this all day if I could.
Half tortoise is another one of those yoga poses that helps to stretch the back, neck, and shoulders, and also helps with energy levels, stress, and improves mental clarity.
- Rejuvenates and relaxes.
- Assists in relieving digestion problems and constipation.
- Stretches the lower part of the lungs and helps to increase lung capacity.
- Excellent for respiratory conditions.
- Helps with insomnica.
- Increases flexibility in the hips.
#6 Downward Facing Dog Pose
Downward dog is a super helpful posture for all kinds of things, including strengthening wrists and ankles, stretching the spine, and... most importantly for not falling asleep mid-day...giving you a bit of an energy boost.
- Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
- Energizes the body
- Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
- Strengthens the arms and legs
- Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
- Relieves menstrual discomfort when done with head supported
- Helps prevent osteoporosis
- Improves digestion
- Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
- Therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis
#7 Spinal Twist
Spinal twists are multi-purpose poses that can help detoxify the body, improve digestion, increase circulation, and improve mood and energy levels.
- Stimulates the liver and kidneys
- Stretches the shoulders, hips, and neck
- Energizes the spine
- Stimulates the digestive fire in the belly
- Relieves menstrual discomfort, fatigue, sciatica, and backache
- Therapeutic for asthma and infertility
- Traditional texts say that Ardha Matsyendrasana increases appetite, destroys most deadly diseases, and awakens kundalini.
#8 Standing Bow Pose
Giving your cardiovascular system a boost will always increase your energy levels. Standing bow is a bit tricky to execute well, but as you practice, you'll be able to go deeper into the posture. Even beginners can reap the benefits of standing bow.
Remember: correct posture is more important than going deep into the pose.
- Stimulates the cardiovascular system, improving energy.
- Increases circulation to the heart and lungs.
- Opens diaphragm.
- Opens the shoulder joints.
- Helps with frozen shoulder conditions.
- Improves the elasticity of the spine.