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Yoga for energy: 8 uplifting poses to boost energy

Updated: Mar 21


Have you noticed that your energy levels are low lately?


What do you do to boost your energy?


It’s been a tough year of ups and downs, the uncertainty of the future, and a whole complex array of emotions that we are having to learn how to channel whilst being stuck at home with no contact, no distractions, and no fun!


I am happy to say that this pandemic pushed me out of my comfort zone and got me focusing on projects that I had been talking about starting for so long but never had the courage or confidence to do. But this doesn’t mean that there weren’t days when I did not want get out of bed, that my mental and physical energy was drained and I would ask myself the question…”What is the point?”



On these days I chose to be gentle and I reassured myself that nothing is permanent...



I found that I had the urge to want to move but for some reason I could not bring myself to get going. On these days I chose to be gentle and I reassured myself that nothing is permanent, and these thoughts and feelings would pass. Some days I needed an extra nudge. One thing that I found helped me was rolling my mat out right next to my bed, so that when I woke up in the morning it was right there, and even if I only did a few cat-cows or stretches, at least I moved my body and I always felt better for it.


Now I can feel that my energy is starting to replenish itself and when I have that urge to move I am doing so, my body and mind thanks me and I never regret it . So this month I thought it would be nice to share some yoga sequences, meditations and pranayama (breath-work) practices that I have been doing over the last year to keep myself energised.


It’s time to get motivated to move forward!


"Motivation is a pathway to change our way of thinking, feeling, and behaving."


To get to started, here is a 5 minute energy boosting meditation for you to try out. I suggest trying this one with earphones in order to enhance the effects of the meditation.




How does yoga increase your energy?


In addition to improving your quality of sleep, a topic that will be covered in an upcoming blog, and reducing stress and anxiety, yoga can also be a natural energy booster.


Yoga works on shifting blocked energy within the body and particularly along the spine...


Yoga works on shifting blocked energy within the body and particularly along the spine, so when you move your body and elongate your spine, it energises the nervous system.


Yoga also stimulates the blood flow and circulation, which increased energy and this benefits your whole body, allowing for natural sustained energy throughout your day. Back-bending poses counteract the harmful effects of sitting for long periods of time and a consistent yoga practice could assist you to reduce the long term effects of the unnatural slouching position that we end up in, especially in the current times, where we are all at home and moving our bodies a lot less than we used to.


What is Pranayama and how can it give me more energy?


Pranayama is the regulation of the breath through focused, controlled breathing techniques.


I recall learning various Pranayama techniques during my Yoga teacher training and remember feeling so connected to myself after every practice. I remember my teacher explaining the importance of slowing down the breath in order to increase the flow of energy in the body, life expectancy and overall health, with a description of the difference between the pace of a human beings breath and a dogs breath. If you think about how a dog breathes, the breath is always fast and shallow and the life expectancy of the average dog varies between 7 to 16 years, depending on the size of the dog and the breed. She explained that by slowing down the breath and controlling it, we reduce our levels of stress, therefore increasing our life expectancy, as we all know that stress is a major factor in exacerbating diseases in the body.


Now I find myself utilitsing these breathing techniques on a daily basis, not only to manage stress, but also to get to sleep, increase stamina when exercising and to bring myself back to the present moment, when I find that my mind runs away.


In the pranic body, prana flows through nadis, which are energy channels, and this energy is stored in the Chakras, which are energy centres than run along the midline of the body. Stay with me here…. by practicing pranayama, you start to clear these channels and shift the energy around in the body. In many individuals, these energy pathways are blocked and therefore the Chakras only release partial energy.


Pranayama assists the increased flow of this energy. But, don’t take my word for it…if you have ever been to a yoga class, you have left, at least once, in a state of euphoria or bliss, and this is where the practice of yoga is unique to any other form of movement.


The eventual goal is trying to marry the movement to the breath.


In yoga the focus on the breath is a very important part of the practice. You may notice that every yoga class begins with a focus on the breath or some form of breathing technique in order to calm the mind, bring your awareness into the present moment and prepare the body for movement. You will also notice that the yoga teacher will cue when to inhale and exhale. The eventual goal is trying to marry the movement to the breath.


One of the Pranayama practices that increases energy in the body is Nadi Shodhana, also known as alternate nostril breathing. This is a great breathing technique to bring balance to your energy flow and reduce stress by reducing your heart rate. Some of the benefits of this technique include:

- lowering stress by reducing the heart rate - balancing the flow of energy in the body - settling the mind, body and emotions

Here is a Nadi Shodhana practice for you to try out for yourself. Drop a comment in the post once you have tried it out, I would love to hear your feedback on how you felt after this practice.





If you would like to read more about Pranayama, read my blog from September 2020 - Pranayama - One breath at a time.


8 yoga poses for all day energy


Just as you can ground your energy with the help of yoga, you can also energize the body.


Standing poses , especially the ones that encourage chest lifting and opening, enable deep breathing, which increases the lung capacity and in turn increases energy. Try some of these standing poses to give yourself an energy boost. Hold each pose for 3 to 5 breaths and don’t forget to do the same on each side.


ONE - Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1)


How to practice this pose:

  • Stand at the top of your mat, step your left foot back

  • Ground through the outer edge of your left foot and lift the inner arch of your foot - notice the back leg activate (If placing the left heel down is not accessible to you today, lift the heel)

  • Bend your right knee and actively press it towards the outer right edge of your mat to activate the front thigh

  • Energetically drag the right heel back

  • Zip up your abdomen and reach up from your waist

  • Stay here for 3 - 5 breaths

  • Step forward and try the other side

Warrior 1 - Virabhadrasana 1

TWO - Warrior 2 - Virabhadrasana 2


How to practice this pose:

  • From Warrior 1

  • Open your arms, hips (facing the left edge of your mat) and back foot

  • Ground through the outer edge of your left foot and lift the inner arch of your foot - notice the back leg activate

  • Bend your right knee and actively press it towards the outer right edge of your mat to activate the front thigh

  • Draw tailbone down and navel up

  • Scissor your inner thighs together

  • Zip up your abdomen and reach your arms away from each other

  • Stay here for 3 - 5 breaths

  • Straighten your right leg and turn to the other side

Warrior 2 - Virabhadrasana 2

THREE - Warrior 3 - Virabhadrasana 3


How to practice this pose:

  • Start from a high lunge and find a still spot to stare at (this is your Drishti)

  • Hinge your upper body forward

  • Launch your back leg off the floor

  • Try to bring your hips parallel to the floor and dial toes of the extended leg down

  • Zip up your abdomen and choose what you would like to do with your arms

  • Suck the hip bone of the standing leg in and up

  • Stay here for 3 - 5 breaths

  • Bend the standing knee and step back to high lunge

  • Try this on the other side (one side is usually better than the other)

Warrior 3 - Virabhadrasana 3

Backbends counteract our existing lifestyles, where we spend a lot of time sitting and hunching over devices or slouched in front of the television. Our bodies are not built to spend prolonged periods of time in this position so it is important to counteract this in order to avoid poor posture and better spinal health to boost our energy levels.


Try some of these backbends, particularly if you are experiencing any tightness in your upper back, suffering from poor posture or if you sit or stand for long periods of time.


FOUR - Cobra - Bhujangasana


How to practice this pose:

  • Lay on your belly - hands under the shoulders

  • Lift your chest, using the strength from your lower back

  • Press toenails into the mat and notice your legs activate

  • Energetically drag elbows back and pinch shoulder blades together

  • Optional: lift hands off the mat

  • Stay here for 3 - 5 breaths

  • Lower down and rest forehead on the back of the hands

Cobra - Bhujangasana

FIVE - Locust - Salabhasana


How to practice this pose:

  • Lay on your belly - reach your hands back or forward (you could also interlace fingers behind your back )

  • Lift your chest, feet and legs using the strength from your lower back

  • Shoulders away from the ears

  • Try to get bigs toes to touch

  • Stay here for 3 - 5 breaths

  • Lower down and rest forehead on the back of the hands

Locust - Salabhasana

SIX - Camel - Ustrasana


How to practice this pose:

  • Kneel on your mat - knees hip width apart

  • Place hands on your lower back (imagine hands in your back pockets)

  • Press hips forward and lift from the chest before you start to backbend

  • Stay here if this feels good - if your breath becomes short you have taken the pose beyond your personal edge

  • Optional: tuck toes and place hands on heels or place hands on heels down

  • Press hips forward and continue to lift from the chest to avoid collapsing into your lower back

  • Stay here for 3 - 5 breaths

  • To exit this pose, place one hand at a time on the lower back and slowly come up

  • Take your time to sit on your heels and come down to childs pose

Camel - Ustrasana

Inversions are great for increasing blood flow to the brain. This invigorates and revitalizes the body, resulting in increased energy and mental stamina. When we talk about inversions, most people will think of headstands or handstands, but there are some more accessible inversions that can also aid an increase in energy, such as wide leg forward fold or even downward facing dog.


Please always practice inversions with great care and if anything doesn’t feel right for you, back out of the pose slowly and take a resting pose of your choice.


SEVEN - Downward facing dog - Adho Mukha Shvanasana


How to practice this pose:

  • Start in table top - activate your handlock (hasta banda) by gripping down through your fingerprints

  • Tuck your toes, bring your seat towards your feet

  • Lift your hips up towards to sky

  • Your legs don't have to be straight - perhaps pedal your feet out

  • Draw your armpits to face each other

  • Stay here for 3 - 5 breaths

  • Bend knees and lower down to a childs pose to rest

Downward facing dog - Adho Mukha Shvanasana

EIGHT - Wide legged forward fold - Prasarita Padottanasana


How to practice this pose:

  • Stand with your legs wide (about the length of one of your legs)

  • Toes and heels in one line

  • Hands on hips and press big toes into the mat

  • Hinge from the hips and fold forward (you always have the option to bend your knees)

  • Check that the weight is evenly distributed across your feet by pressing big toes into the mat again

  • Place hands under shoulders

  • Optional: grab big toes with peace fingers, bend elbows out to the sides and gently pull

  • Allow your head to hang heavy to release the upper back

  • Stay here for 3 - 5 breaths

  • To exit this pose - hands on hips, bend knees and come up slowly

Wide legged forward fold - Prasarita Padottanasana

Speaking of resting poses, it might sound counter productive, but resting poses such as childs pose (a great counter pose for headstand) are also great for boosting energy as they access the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) also know as the rest and digest system. When the PNS is activated it allows the body to conserve energy as your heart rate decreases, reducing stress and giving your body time to recover from daily stresses. This is a big part of increasing energy levels in the physical body, it's simple formula:


Childs pose + PNS = more energy due to stress reduction


Stay tune to IGTV and Youtube for the release of my Wake up Morning Yoga sequence on Tuesday 9 March, to help you start each day right.



Yoga for key workers


As some of you may know, my family, like many other families has been heavily affected by COVID-19. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge all of the key workers that have worked so hard during this pandemic to keep us all going. This month is dedicated to all of you and I hope that these energizing practices will help you to continue the amazing work that you have done to keep our communities going.


...you are all putting the time and energy in to keep us going and I see you!


Whether you are a Doctor, nurse, delivery driver or supermarket worker, you are all putting the time and energy in to keep us going and I see you! I can only imagine how exhausted you must be, working long tireless shifts day in and day out, and not getting enough time to rest and rejuvenate your body and mind in between.


Here are some poses especially for you, if you are struggling with tired legs from standing for long periods of time, or aching lower back from hours of sitting, these poses, with the support of the wall, are great for encouraging the body to surrender and to calm the body and mind.


Please do not practice these poses if you have any eye conditions or suffer with high blood pressure, if this is the case I would suggest trying out this 10 minute Yin Yoga session to calm the body and mind, scroll down to find the video.



Butterfly up the wall - Yin Yoga

Happy baby up the wall - Yin Yoga

Legs up the wall - Yin Yoga

Reclined pigeon up the wall - Yin Yoga


10 minute Yin Yoga session to calm the body and mind



March motivation – What is it all about?


This month I hope to share some inspiring content that will help you to keep moving forward and fill your days with joy and inspiration. Each week I will share:


  • a motivational Reel that might include a yoga challenge, something to lift your spirits, make you laugh or both

  • a meditation, prananyama or yoga practice all focused on increasing energy

  • pose breakdowns focused on poses that will boost your energy and hopefully give you the push that you need to get through this last stretch of the pandemic and come back to some form of normality, even if this does look slightly different to our previous version of normal.


Stay tuned to my Instagram page for the latest content and upcoming live classes, and don’t forget to subscribe to Elumi TV (Elumi Yoga's youtube channel) for the latest content.


Spring is a great time start new projects and clear out old possessions, habits and ways of being. If you are feeling a pull towards this, take some time to consider incorporating one of the above practices into your daily routine and notice if anything changes for you.


“The most beautiful moments in life are moments when you are expressing your joy, not when you are seeking it.” Sadhguru



Love and Light

Eliza

xxxx

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