If there’s one thing most of us wish we had more of, it’s energy. Between long workdays, late nights, and stress about everything from money to family, there’s no question that most people are too busy, too worried, and not rested enough. Add a caffeine or junk food habit, and it’s no wonder most people struggle with fatigue throughout the day.
While there’s no substitute for committing to a healthy diet and regular sleep schedule, the good news is that you can get an energy boost from doing yoga. These five asanas are some of the best yoga poses for more energy. Next time you’re suffering from an energy slump, take a break to practice one.
Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand)
Active inversions like handstand are a great way to boost energy. Turning upside down reverses gravity’s effect on the body and increases the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain. As a result, you’ll instantly feel more awake.
If you’re not comfortable holding a handstand yet, you can enjoy the same benefits from practicing handstand prep. Instead of extending both legs toward the ceiling, try keeping one leg (or both) parallel to the floor and pressing the bottom of that foot into the wall.
Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
Heart openers are another useful family of poses for more energy. Most people tend to slump forward and round their shoulders during the day. The result of this posture is to close off the front of the body, making it hard to breathe properly. But camel pose, both a heart opener and a backbend, opens up the whole front side of the body. In doing so, it helps undo the physical and energetic effects of sitting or standing with poor posture. It also allows you to breathe more deeply and send energizing oxygen throughout the body.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
Bridge pose has many of the same benefits as camel, but it requires much less of the low back. Like camel, it opens up the front of the body and provides a shot of adrenaline to wake you up. The exertion of required to hold bridge pose also increases blood flow, giving you a boost of energy.
Natarajasana (Dancer Pose)
Dancer pose brings together the energizing benefits of a backbend and the focus required to balance. To keep you from falling over, balancing poses naturally bring the focus to the present moment and help you let go of other thoughts or worries. Taking a break to practice a balancing pose will help you feel clearer and more energized when you get back to what you were doing.
Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)
Lastly, hip openers like low lunge are also effective at boosting energy. When we sit all day with our legs at a 90-degree angle, the muscles of the hip flexors get tight. Poses like low lunge stretch them out, which helps undo the effects of sitting and creates a sense of openness.
Instead of reaching for another cup of coffee next time you feel yourself getting sleepy, try practicing one of these yoga poses for energy and see how it helps you get through the day. Head to our Vikasa Practice Playlist on Youtube for full classes, meditations and posture breakdowns to help you dive in on your mat.
About the Author
Jen is a freelance writer, blogger, and yoga teacher who left her office job in Boston to travel the world with her husband. She previously worked in international development and academic research, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda. Some of her biggest passions include promoting responsible and mindful travel and helping her students develop their personal yoga practice.