ENERGIZING YOGA POSES
For some of us non-morning people, waking up is hard to do, and there are mornings when the coffee just doesn't brew fast enough. If you have one of these mornings, or if you just need a quick pick me up during the day, you could always try some of these energizing yoga poses to wake up your body and your mind.
Standing Forward Bend
From standing, exhale forward, focusing on lengthening the torso while bringing your palms to the floor. If you can't reach the floor, that's just fine. You can always grab a hold of your elbows or legs, and hang. With this pose, you are using gravity to elongate the spine, releasing tension from the muscles around your spine, shoulders and neck. This is also an intense hamstring stretch- you can always place a bend in the knees to take the hamstrings out of the equation, until you are a little warmer. Hold for a few breaths, then you can transition to the next pose:
Standing Half Forward Bend
Starting in full Standing Forward Bend, inhale, lengthen your spine. Your stomach will come away from your thighs and you can place your hands on the top of your thighs, calves or even the floor (depending on how your body feels in the moment). While still focusing on lengthening the spine, keep a level of engagement through your low abs to protect your low spine. Place your gaze a couple of inches in front of you. You want to keep your head in line with the rest of the spine. .Hold here for a few breaths.
For this pose, start in Downward-Facing Dog, and then step the right foot between the hands. Stay on the ball of the back foot, and with an inhale, raise the upper body toward the ceiling. In this pose you want your weight even between each leg, your front leg is bending towards a 90-degree angle, while you press firming through your back heel. Your knee should never go forward past your foot, and try to keep it tracking forward inline with your ankle and foot. With a neutral spine, engage your low abs to keep your pelvis neutral - its really easy to dump into your low spine in this pose-which is no good for your low back. To check: Place your hands on your hips and bend your back knee. Feel both hip points in line and the pelvis in a neutral position (you can arch and tuck your pelvis to feel whats wrong) then allow the tailbone to draw heavily towards the ground. Hug all of the muscles around your pelvis into the midline to keep your pelvis stable in that neutral position, then slowly start to straighten your back leg. If you feel your pelvis move in the process just keep the back leg bent for today and breathe into that hip flexor- with time it will open up and your back leg will go straight without the pelvis moving from that neutral position. Where ever you are today, take an inhale and reach your hands up to the ceiling. Pick a point in front of you to softly gaze at and breathe. Hold for a couple of breaths. As you exhale place your hands to the ground, step back into plank, exhale back into Downward facing dog. Then repeat this on the other side, with the left foot forward this time.
Finally, ground yourself with Tree Pose. You'll start in Mountain Pose, feet can be together or hip distance apart. Ground down through your feet, lift your knee caps by engaging your quadriceps, lengthen the tailbone to the drown as you rebound through both sides of your torso evenly, broaden across your chest as you allow the muscles around the base of your neck to relax. Place your gaze straight ahead as your palms press together in front of your chest. Keeping this alignment, shift your weight to your left foot (keep that leg engaged & knee cap lifted), bending the right knee and pressing the bottom of the right foot against your left inner thigh. Its easy to crank your right hip up getting into this pose, you want to keep your pelvis neutral. You can use your hands to guide your foot to the inner thigh, but always maintain a straight, elongated spine, and make sure that you are pressing your foot into your thigh, not the knee. Keep the thighs and abdominals engaged, and lift the chest, broadening across the collarbones, relaxing the muscles at the base of your neck. Hold for a few breaths, before changing sides.
Yoga is amazing for relieving stress, improving flexibility, and yes, even for a quick energy boost. So, keep this post in mind for the next time you're experiencing those mid-day blues.
*Please note these instructions are very basic guides. If you are new to yoga, pilates, or any of the fitness moves pictured above, please find a local studio near you and take a couple of classes before attempting to practice alone. We cannot be held responsible for an injury caused by following these instructions.