July 12, 2013
Energize Your Life With 10 Yoga Poses (Part 1)
When I was younger, I used to do yoga regularly. Naturally, I participated in the meditation activity both because it benefitted my health and my spirit, but I also really enjoyed the poses and stretching and breathing. It has been some time since I formally did yoga, partially because I moved to a different city with less opportunity and partially because I thought I was too busy. Plus, I was still stretching, just not with the same focus and attention to the breathing and meditation that I had before. But recently I have been severely missing all that is yoga. Then I came across an article on the Huffington Post that highlighted ten poses for energy. The kismit was all around me, and I decided that I would start yoga again.
I also thought that redOrbit readers might be interested in the energy poses. Yoga poses provide many benefits. As the Huffington Post article says, “Turns out, in addition to improving sleep quality, relieving stress and anxiety and improving overall physical health, yoga can also be an excellent natural energy-booster.” So, let’s get energized.
The 10 poses that are good for energy are:
- Half Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskara)
- Camel (Ustrasana)
- Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
- Triangle (Utthita Trikonasana)
- Side Plank (Vasisthasana)
- Chair (Utkatasana)
- Half-Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)
- Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
- Locust (Salabhasana)
- Right Nostril Breathing (Surya Bhedana)
The names in parenthesis are the original sanskrit words.
Now to describe each pose.
Half Sun Salutation
Performed as a way to awaken the body, this pose requires you to stand up straight with feet together. If you feel more comfortable with your feet a little apart at first, go ahead and do that. You will need to have your arms at your sides with your palms open. Then sweep your arms up and over your head as you exhale until they touch over your head; then exhale and bow down until your hands touch ground. If you need to bend your knees, do that. “On the inhale, lift the torso halfway up, place your hands at your shins and extend the spine. Fold forward again on the exhale. When you inhale, sweep back up and bring the palms together into prayer. Repeat this sequence three or four times.”
Here’s a YouTube video tutorial.
The next pose is rather straightforward. If you check out the Huffington Post link, you will see how this one should look. As the article explains, “The gentle heart-opening stretch of the camel pose — performed either with the hands on the lower back or reaching down to touch the heels — can be highly invigorating for the entire body.”
This was one of my favorite poses in the past, and I am looking forward to doing it again.
The Warrior II pose is one that looks like a side lunge with arms out, but requires much more than just that. Yoga Journal has a great description of the steps necessary to achieve this pose:
Step by Step
1. Stand in Tadasana. With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.
2. Turn your right foot slightly to the right and your left foot out to the left 90 degrees. Align the left heel with the right heel. Firm your thighs and turn your left thigh outward so that the center of the left knee cap is in line with the center of the left ankle.
3. Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. If possible, bring the left thigh parallel to the floor. Anchor this movement of the left knee by strengthening the right leg and pressing the outer right heel firmly to the floor.
4. Stretch the arms away from the space between the shoulder blades, parallel to the floor. Don’t lean the torso over the left thigh: keep the sides of the torso equally long and the shoulders directly over the pelvis. Press the tailbone slightly toward the pubis. Turn the head to the left and look out over the fingers.
5. Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.
The Triangle is a good pose for both stretching and breathing. It feels so good. Here’s what you do: “Straighten the front knee and extend the arm forward and then down to the shin, the floor next to the leg, or a block. Reach the other arm up and turn to face the sky, breathing deeply for five breaths…Then, repeat on the other side.”
I promise after this pose, you will feel reinvigorated. I still do this pose in my office sometimes when I’m feeling stressed or tired. It works.
No, this is not the planking that was popular a couple of years ago. Rather, this is a whole body-strengthening pose. First, you start in a Plank pose. Here’s a link to another YouTube video that really explains plank pose. Then complete the following steps. “Turn to the right side, stacking the feet on top of each other, and lifting the left hand. Breath deeply for five breaths before repeating on the other side.” The Huff Post suggests that a modification to this can be bringing the bottom knee or the forearm down to the ground. This balancing pose really helps to focus attention and bring mental clarity.
See my next blog for the last five poses discussed by the Huffington Post.
Image Credit: Thinkstock.com