Feeling a little run down? Try some yoga for energy to get your heart pumping and your blood flowing.
We think of yoga as being soothing and relaxing, but it can be incredibly energizing, too. Strenuous postures get your heart pumping and can help improve energy levels. Others help your body process those strenuous postures so you finish your practice feeling refreshed, not pooped.
Related Reading: Yoga for Concentration
You can do this yoga series all in a row, transitioning from pose to pose. Practicing in this way is called “vinyasa,” or flow. Focus on your breath as you flow from posture to posture. If you’re looking for more of a workout, you can practice postures one through nine twice before cooling down with the final posture in the series. Don’t try to push your body too far. “No pain, no gain” is not a constructive mindset when you’re practicing yoga. Whether you do one round or two, your goal is to walk away feeling energized!
Want to get in on the action? Check out our series of yoga for energy.
1. Mountain Posture to Upward Salute
Start in a standing position with your feet just hip-width apart. Bring your hands into prayer position in front of your chest, and bring your focus to your breath. Gently inhale and exhale, letting the day’s stresses melt away, and focusing on what you want to get out of your yoga practice.
Once you’re feeling calm and centered raise your hands — still in prayer position — over your head. Think about pressing your biceps against your ears, then tilt your head back slightly and gaze toward the sky. You want to keep your back straight, so don’t let your belly push forward while you’re in this posture. Hold for 10 deep breaths, then transition to the next pose.
2. Upward Salute to Forward Bend
Release your hands from prayer position, rotating your palms to face forward, then bring your arms parallel to the floor and swan dive forward, until you are in a full standing forward bend. You can adjust your feet to be slightly further apart if you like. Either place your hands on the floor or grab hold of each elbow, and hang out here for 30 seconds, feeling the stretch in the backs of your legs and your spine.
3. Forward Bend to Plank Pose
Plank pose is basically the top of a pushup. To get there from forward bend, place your palms on the floor and bend your knees. Jump your feet back, so you’re in a pushup position on your toes with a straight back and your hands directly under your shoulders. Use your core strength to keep a straight back, and hold this for 10 deep breaths, if you can. If you can’t, don’t worry! Just hold it for a bit longer each time you practice, and the strength will come.
4. Plank Pose to Downward Dog
To transition into down dog from plank, push with your arms, bringing your bottom into the air and walking your feet forward until you’re comfortably in downward dog. Remember to keep your upper back straight by pulling the shoulder blades together. Stay here and breathe for 30 seconds to a full minute, feeling the stretch in the backs of your legs and your neck.
5. Downward Dog to Upward Dog
This is one of my favorite transitions in yoga. Once you get it down, it’s just such a smooth transition, and it makes you feel like a real pro. Release your bottom back down toward the floor, coming back into that pushup position you were in earlier. Then, turn your toes under, so the tops of your feet are on the floor. As you are changing foot positions, also bring your chest up between your hands, arching your spine and tilting your head back toward the sky. Hold for 10 deep breaths, making sure that you keep your shoulders pulling down away from your ears.
6. Upward Dog to Child’s Posture
One of the things that I love about yoga is that you take little rests during even the most strenuous practices. Child’s posture is a resting pose, so relax into it! From upward dog, push back on your hands, bringing your bottom onto your feet, and resting your belly and chest onto your thighs. Let your forehead rest on the floor, and either rest your arms by your sides or extend them out in front of you. Relax here for 30 seconds to a minute.
7. Child’s Posture to Camel Pose
From child’s pose, gently raise your torso so that you’re sitting up on your heels. Take a couple of breaths here, then lift your bottom from your heels, so that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor. Place your hands on your lower back, and lean backward, arching your back, letting your head come backward. This may be as far as you can go, and that is totally fine.
If you want a deeper stretch, release one hand from your back and grab onto your heel, then release the other hand and grab the other heel. Engage those back muscles as you stretch the front of your body, and breathe in this position for 10 breaths.
8. Camel Pose to Shoulder Stand
To come up out of camel pose, bring your hands back to your lower back, then slowly bring your back straight again and sit back down on your heels.
Come onto the floor, lying on your back, and bring your feet toward your bottom. Bring your hands to your sides back, and push on the floor with your arms to bring your feet up into the air. Place your hands on your lower back for support and focus on keeping your legs straight and your shoulder blades pulled together. Gaze at your belly button and breathe here for 30 seconds, before slowly rolling out of the posture, placing your spine onto the floor one vertebra at a time until you’re lying on your back once again.
9. Shoulder Stand to Fish Pose
Fish pose is what’s called a “counter pose” to shoulder stand. It works the opposing muscles to give your practice balance. To come into fish pose, remain on your back, and bring your hands under your bottom, with the palms on the floor. Slide your elbows beneath you, which will naturally lift your upper torso. Arch your upper back a little bit, so you can place the back or top of your head on the floor. Stay here and breathe for 30 seconds.
10. Fish Pose to Savasana
Savasana might not seem like a “pose,” but it helps your body recover, so you get the most benefit from all of that hard work you just did. To transition from fish pose, straighten your neck, and pull your arms out from under you, letting them rest at your sides. Lay your legs about hip width apart, and allow the feet to roll out.
Think about relaxing every part of your body, from the top of your head to your feet. Relax your scalp, then your forehead and eyes. You mouth. Relax your neck and shoulders, then release tension in your chest, middle back, and belly. Let your torso sink into the floor, then relax your thighs. Allow your knees to relax, then your calves, then the ankles. Relax the feet and the toes. You can stay in this relaxes state for as long as you need to recover from your practice.