If you often feel yourself dragging during the day, you’d probably like to know how to feel more energetic. Well, here’s some good news for yogis: You can practice yoga for energy! Yoga creates harmony between mind, body, and spirit; when you’re tired, there is often an imbalance in at least one of these areas.
Why Yoga For Energy is So Effective
There are a few reasons yoga can increase energy effectively. First, its powerful breathing techniques help move oxygen through the body. Every time you take a deep yogic breath, you help that energizing oxygen flow through your bloodstream. There are also yoga mudras (gestures) yogis use to increase energy.
Another aspect of yoga for energy is probably obvious. If you practice regularly, you’ll be in better physical shape! When your body is in shape and functioning well, your energy level is steadier and lasts longer. As with any form of exercise, yoga asanas increase endorphins, which in turn boost energy.
Here are four ways to practice yoga for energy.
1. Try a vinyasa practice.
Vinyasa, or “flow” yoga, is an especially invigorating practice. In vinyasa yoga, you move quickly from one posture to another, building energy as you move. Movement increases endorphins and energizes your body.
In vinyasa yoga classes, you’re likely to practice sun salutations, which are ideal for boosting energy. Sun salutations are short flows that involve a series of movements.
2. Do strengthening power poses.
The more muscle you have, the more energy you will have, so don’t overlook power yoga for energy. Static poses such as downward-facing dog, warrior, chair, and plank can help build muscle and stamina because they serve as a form of strength training that uses the resistance of your body like you would use free weights at the gym. If you want to focus an entire practice on building strength, find a power yoga class like Bikram or Asthanga.
3. Use energizing mudras.
Yogis use certain gestures called mudras for specific purposes. Mudras to use when you practice yoga for energy include “sky mudra” and “purifying mudra.” To practice sky mudra, press all your fingers on both hands together, except for your index finger. Extend your index finger straight out and hug your upper arms into your body with your forearms extended straight up. Relax and breathe deeply.
Purifying mudra is similar to sky mudra, except that you extend your pinkie instead of your index finger. Purifying mudra is thought to energize both the body and the mind.
4. Take deep, empowering breaths.
There are a variety of yogic breathing exercises. Some are more calming, while others increase energy. Energizing breathing techniques increase the flow of oxygen through the body and will help you feel more energized and alert.
One energizing breathing technique is “breath of fire,” which is practiced by taking quick diaphragmatic breaths. Another is “alternate nostril breathing,” which helps increase the flow of energy through the body. This exercise is practiced by breathing in and out through one nostril while closing off the other.
Also remember to breathe when you practice the physical postures. If you forget, your instructor will probably remind you. As one of my yoga teachers often says, yoga is “all about the breath.” Moving with breath is another important way to practice yoga for energy.