– by Chitra Chandrasiri –
Feeling tired? Yoga may not be the first thing you turn to when you are tired but an invigorating Sun Salutation or some other energy boosting yoga poses could be exactly what your body needs to fight fatigue.
Back bending yoga poses are excellent to reduce fatigue and you can increase energy with balancing poses, inversions and Pranayama (yogic breathing techniques).
Yoga works on clearing energy blocks in the body through breath and movement, basically bringing new life into the body. Energizing yoga poses that stimulate the blood flow through the body, particularly those that gently stretch the spine can help combat fatigue and boost a feeling of vitality. As you sit for a long period of time, the energy in the spine gets stuck and stagnant. Yoga helps counter these effects and rejuvenate the body.
Sun Salutation (Suriya Namaskar), the invigorating yoga sequence leaves the body and mind feeling refreshed, revived and ready to take on the day. There are several variations of Sun Salutations and these series are performed in one continuous flow, synchronized with breathing which encourages prana (energy) to flow more freely throughout the body, boosting energy while strengthening, toning and promoting flexibility.
Back bending poses stretches the spine, energizing the nervous system while opening up the chest and upper body and expanding the lungs.
Inversions will clear up the head, boost brain power, and improve complexion.
Pranayama is energy management. It is the science of breath and controlling the movement of “prana” through yogic breathing techniques. Yogis practice a wide range of pranayama techniques, using the rhythm and depth of the breath to effect and manage different energy states of health, consciousness and emotion.
Immediate energy boost with easy to do yoga, anywhere anytime
The following yoga poses and pranayama technique will give you an immediate energy boost. Do them anytime when you feel like you need a quick energy makeover:
• Suriya Namaskar – Sun Salutation – This energy producing calorie burning sequence stretches and opens up the entire body in a gentle yet effective way. One round of Suriya Namaskar consists of two rounds of twelve poses, first leading with the right leg and the second leading with the left. It is designed to be done in the direction of the sun at dawn or sunset and it is a great energizer done at a fast pace at any time of the day.
• Inversions and front bending – Inversions include upside down poses such as headstand, shoulder stand and handstand in which the feet are above the head. If you don’t feel comfortable jumping into a handstand yet, just forward bending will do. Bend over and bring your head lower than your hips to get some fresh blood and oxygen to your brain and stay there for a few deep breaths.
• Back bending – Backbends are invigorating, uplifting, and heart-opening. They stimulate the proper functioning of the digestive system, help preserve the health of the vertebrae and spinal disks, and open the body to deep diaphragmatic breathing.
You may do the back bending standing or keeling down (Camel Pose).
Stand or kneel down with your feet slightly apart, body weight equally distributed on both legs. Take a deep breath in and roll your shoulders back, lift your chest forward creating a sensation of openness and stretching in your chest muscles. Place your hands on your lower back. With an inhalation move your chest forward while moving your head and shoulders back, bending backward. Stay there for few breaths and gently come back to the upright position on an exhalation.
• Pranayama – Breathing is the most natural and essential thing we do yet most people do not breathe correctly. Stress causes poor breathing; shallow, erratic, upper chest breathing with a faster breath rate.
Long deep breathing is the first Pranayama technique for beginners. It frees up the prana, energizes the body and increases the vitality. It reduces and prevents build up of toxins in the lungs, releases the tension and calms the nerves.
Long deep breathing (Yogic breath) – Sit up straight in a comfortable position. When the spine is straight and in a balanced position, the ribs and muscles can move freely expanding the abdomen and chest to full capacity. Begin taking a long deep breath filling the abdomen first, then the chest and finally lifting the upper ribs and clavicle. All three movements are done in a smooth, unhurried motion. The exhale is the reverse; start the exhale by relaxing the clavicle, then slowly empting the chest and finally pulling in the abdomen to force the remaining air out.