The Five Best Yoga Poses To Stimulate Energy
by Caroline Bunting Palmer
Most of us have been less active lately, and you might feel at times like you’re stagnating. Yoga is a quick and satisfying way to get more energy flowing around your body, even if you’re stuck inside more than usual. All you need is your body, a little space and a yoga mat!
Here are our favourite poses to put a little more pep in your step:
Warrior II pose (Virabhadrasana II)
- From a standing position with your feet facing forward, step or jump your feet to three times the width of your shoulders
- Raise both arms, palms down, to make a straight line parallel with the floor
- Turn on your right heel 90 degrees outwards. Make sure your right heel lines up with the middle of your left foot
- Exhaling, lengthen through the spine and bend your right knee. Sink downwards until your shin is perpendicular to your mat. Press the outer left heel into the floor to strengthen the pose
- Keep your shoulders down, back straight, tailbone tucked and look past your right fingertips
- For more intensity, turn the palms of your hands upwards
- Release the pose on an inhale, and repeat on the left-hand side
Warrior II pose engages the largest muscles, in the legs and buttocks, meaning your heart will have to work harder to pump blood around your body. It conditions the legs, arms and lower back, cultivating power and strength.
Bridge pose (Setu Bandhasana)
- Lie on your back, with your feet on the floor and knees bent. Your heels should be as close to your sit bones as possible. Rest your arms by your sides, palms down. Inhale
- Exhale, pushing your tailbone upwards and buttocks off the floor. You can clasp your hands together underneath you, if you prefer
- Push your hips upwards until your thighs are parallel to the floor, and pull your shoulders towards each other
- For optional extra lift, bring your heels off the floor
- Release whilst exhaling, by softly rolling from the top of the spine back down to the floor
Bridge pose lengthens the spine, and stretches the chest and neck. It restores life back into the body, relieving a tired back and legs.
Upward facing dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
- Lie on your front, with your legs straight and the tops of your feet touching the floor. Bend your elbows and bring your palms to the floor next your waist
- On an inhale, press your palms into the ground and straighten your arms. Your torso and the tops of your thighs will lift upwards
- Look forward or lift your face slightly, keeping your head away from your shoulders
- Stay in alignment and point your elbow creases forward
- Bend your elbows on an exhalation to come out of the pose
Upward facing dog pose is a chest opener, freeing the lungs and heart. It discourages a slumped posture as it stretches the chest, shoulders and abdomen. The abdominal organs are stimulated and fatigue is relieved.
Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
- Come onto all fours, with your knees parallel to your hips and your hands slightly forward from your shoulders
- On an exhale, curl your toes under and push up to straighten your legs. Press your heels towards the floor. It’s okay if they don’t reach the whole way; stretching your calves is the goal
- Bounce gently on the balls of your feet to settle into a deeper pose
- Lift your pelvis high, pull your stomach in and flatten your back as much as possible
- Position your head and neck in line with your arms
- Release the pose on an exhale, by coming back onto your hands and knees
Downward facing dog pose opens up and lengthens the back of the body. It stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves and wrists, increasing blood flow to your extremities.
Camel pose (Ustrasana)
- Begin on your knees, with the tops of your feet touching the floor. The knees should be hip-width apart, with your thighs turned inward slightly
- Place your palms onto the tops of the buttocks, with your fingers pointing downwards
- Inhale and pull your shoulder blades back to lift your chest upwards. Lean back slightly
- Exhale and wrap your palms around your heels. You can also turn your toes under to bring your heels closer, if needed. The optimum position is with your thighs at 90 degrees to the floor, but you probably won’t get that far if just starting out
- Straighten your arms, with elbow creases facing forward
- To leave the pose, bring your hands to the front of your hips, inhale and push your hips into a seated kneel
Camel pose opens the heart gently and provides a stimulating energy boost. It stretches the whole front of the body and improves spine flexibility.
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