Today’s women lead incredibly busy lives, and this can deplete our energy levels, so yoga is a wonderful, natural way to give us an energy boost. Yoga is a great energiser and strenuous postures can get your heart pumping and help improve energy levels. On our Bali retreats yoga is such a core component of our wellbeing programmes. It nourishes our guests vitality leaving them with soaring energy levels, the Escape Haven glow and a body feels fantastic! Let us share some of our favourite poses for energy, which will leave you also feeling refreshed and will fill up your tank.
Here Laura from our Canggu Bali retreat will take you through the most popular poses to revitalise those energy tanks. All photos are from our beautiful Canggu, Bali yoga retreat. Let us transport you there!
So, let’s start with Downward Dog.
Downward dog stretches and strengthens the legs and spine while strengthening your arms. Begin on your hands and knees, then curl your toes under, and straighten your legs. Make sure you pull your shoulder blades together. You may want to walk your feet back a bit to get comfortable in this posture. Once you’re situated, just focus on pushing down on the floor with your hands and keeping your back straight. Don’t worry if your feet don’t touch the floor – in time, you’ll get there and you can pedal your feet to lengthen into this pose
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.
Focus on your breath as you flow from posture to posture. 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 energised!
Chair pose is essential in any yoga practice for firing up the core and maintaining a deep connection to earth, but is not as easy as it sounds! Chair pose is a symmetrical standing pose, in which your knees are bent, and your weight is distributed evenly in your feet. Your spine is lifted, and your arms are extended overhead. As suggested by its name, the pose is a challenging one, as it engages your full body, particularly your leg muscles and spinal extensors. With practice, the challenge is to bring your thighs parallel with the ground and your back upright—as if seated in a chair.
Make sure you lift your abs in and drop your shoulders down. Only touch your palms together if you can do so while dropping your shoulders away from the ears. All the power generated in the legs and core has a clear connected line all the way to the fingertips. Remember, the better you can feel your energy flowing naturally through your body, the more efficient your whole energetic system will run.
If you need an energy boost but prefer standing poses then Warrior 11 is for you!.
Stretch and strengthen your legs while improving your concentration, reducing stress and revitalising your system.
From mountain pose, jump your feet apart, so there is about four feet of space between them. Turn your right toes out 90 degrees and your left toes in 45 degrees. Bend your right knee until it is directly over your right ankle while keeping the torso even between the hips. Stretch your arms out to your sides and gaze over your right hand. Hold for 8-10 breaths before straightening the right leg and turning your feet to the other side to repeat on left side.
There is often a tendency to lean slightly forward in this pose, so you can counter this action by stacking your shoulders directly over your hips. The back arm also tends to “droop” in this pose — actively reach out through the fingertips of both hands, finding one long line of energy across your arms.
Balancing postures like tree stand help stabilise your body by concentrating on the ‘core’. What I love about tree stand in particular is that it’s a great beginner balancing pose, but it’s still beneficial for advanced yoginis.
To get into tree stand, begin in mountain pose, then lift your right leg and grab hold of the knee. If you’re comfortable there, you can move on by placing your right foot onto the inside of your left thigh, then bring your hands into prayer position. Once you feel good here, you can complete the posture by raising your arms above your head. Stay here and breathe, then repeat on the left side. The great thing about tree stand is that no matter how far into the pose you get, your mind and body benefits.
One of the simplest ways that yoga boosts your energy is through deep breathing. Yoga breathing exercises reduce your stress and free your mind, and deeply inhaling and exhaling alone will go a long way to calming you and stimulating your nervous system to generate greater energy. Once you have experienced yoga breathing, you realise just how often you hold your breath when stressed, or how short and shallow your breathing is in daily life. Making a conscious effort to breathe deeply in yoga breathing exercise will oxygenate your entire body.
You know that yoga can help you relax, but did you know that certain poses and other yogic practices can give you an energy boost when you need one? Research suggests that yoga specifically can produce an invigorating effect on mental and physical energy that improves fitness and reduces fatigue. Here’s a mantra for you: ‘Not not only does our mood affect our posture, but our posture affects our mood.’
I love triangle pose as it is one of those ‘go to’ poses that offers so much benefit for the body, such as a great core workout, while at the same time being very approachable.
It combines stretching and strengthening, with more balance work for a total mind-body experience. Begin by separating your feet so that they’re about three feet apart, turning your right foot out and left foot in, just like in warrior pose. Raise your arms parallel to the floor, then tilt from your waist, bringing your right arm toward the floor. You can grab on to your right leg wherever you can reach, if you can’t reach the floor yet, and raise your left arm toward the sky. Finally, turn your head to gaze up toward the sky. Try not to let your hips roll inward as you stay here and breathe. Repeat on the other side.
Headstand (my absolute favourite)
The king of all asanas is well-known for many reasons including the ability to strengthen the heart physically, emotionally and spiritually. Headstand is also associated with connecting to the crown chakra While headstands may look difficult to hold, after learning how to practice it properly and safely, yogis reap benefits like improved memory and increased energy.
Practice Tip: When placing the hands together, place one pinky finger in front of rather than underneath the other pinky finger to help reduce pressure on a single pinky and distribute the weight through the outside of the palms.
If you really need a kick, then get upside down. Practicing these inversions—whether you do so against a wall or freestanding—will help excite your nervous system, re-awaken your mind, and increase your circulation and breath rate.
Usually part of a closing sequence, because of its connection with the parasympathetic nervous systems, rest-and-digest response and cooling nature, shoulder stand pose uses gravity to help deoxygenated blood travel from the veins back to the heart to be oxygenated again.
Practice Tip: Keep the hips heavy on the hands to enhance the experience of weight being distributed in the shoulders and triceps and avoid weight on the head and neck.
With this experience in mind, keep the weight in the shoulders and triceps and lift the hips with the core and bring the chest to the chin.
Backbend or Wheel Pose
This deep backbend squeezes the adrenal glands, which gives us a nice little espresso-shot of adrenaline and is such a fun inversion. Wheel pose builds strength in the legs and arms, as well as tones the abdominal organs. Its rejuvenating potential for spinal suppleness and strength, and connection to the seven main chakras located along the spine make this a very popular pose.
This pose is like pulling out the energy big guns where heart openers are concerned. It requires total body engagement; it is a slight inversion because you are lifting your hips and your heart above your head, and it’s also a heart opener—both of which are energising for the system.
Of course, if you are able, I recommend that you do a little warmup before trying to enter this pose fully, or that you do not try to reach your fullest expression of the pose. Simply use it for its energy enhancing qualities—holding only for a few breaths—then carry on with your day!
Practice Tip: Start in bridge with the hands near the head and lift with the heart and sternum to keep the lower back and body safe. Yoga inversion poses have a fun, perspective-changing and confidence-building nature that make their rise in popularity come as no surprise.
This posture stretches the hips and the front of the body while focusing your mind.
Begin on hands and knees, and swing your right foot through your hands, placing the knee on the floor in front of you. Slide the left foot back, until the thigh is resting on the floor. Push up with your hands, and arch your back, lifting your chin and gazing at the ceiling. After 10 deep breaths, release your upper body forward, and rest your head on your folded arms in front of you. If you’re not flexible enough to rest this way, you can stack your fists on top of each other, and rest your forehead on your fists. Take another 10 deep breaths, then switch sides and repeat on the left.
Infact this is one of the best morning yoga poses for energy boost.
Newton’s law of energy states that, “Energy may be transformed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed.” Yoga helps assimilate and use this energy more effectively, while keeping the body physically and mentally healthy.
Finally, remember that everyone and everybody is different. Take things are your own pace. Yoga is not about rushing through the poses but practicing them with a sense of ease and joy. Take it easy, practice consistently and feel the difference not only within your body but also your mind and energy levels. Enjoy!