You may think of yoga as a calming practice but it can also be an effective way to increase your energy. Taking full breaths and incorporating postures that open the chest are great ways to get moving. Before you make a beeline for the coffeemaker, carve out a few minutes in the morning to breathe, stretch and move. Get ready to take on the day with the suggested postures below.
(These along with additional poses are found in The Healing Yoga Deck. Click here to learn more.)
Breath of Fire*
· Sit on a mat or chair in any comfortable position with a tall, elongated spine; roll shoulders down and away from the ears. Eyes may be closed or downcast.
· Raise both arms in a V position; fingers are gently curled with thumbs pointed up. Inhale and exhale completely.
· Pull in the belly by snapping back the abdominal muscles, causing a short, forceful expulsion of air through the nose or mouth.
· Emphasis is on the exhalation, not the inhalation. Imagine the exhalations could blow out a candle flame. Repeat with a steady, quick series of up to 20 exhalations.
· Return to standing and lower your arms.
· Return the breath to normal. Repeat with another set of 20 exhalations. Breathe normally between sets.
· Gradually increase to 3 sets of 20 exhalations.
*Note: Avoid this pose if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, diabetes, or insomnia.
· Stand with legs about hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.
· Inhale, bringing your arms over your head, hands clasped and index fingers pointing up. Imagine you are holding a hatchet.
· Exhale through your mouth and bend from the waist as your arms fall forward in a “chopping” motion. Bend as far as you comfortably can.
· Inhale through the nose and raise your upper body. Continue this “chopping” motion 12 times.
· If it feels good, allow your arms to swing through your legs.
· Focus on the energy coursing through your body.
*Note: Avoid this exercise if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or glaucoma.
· Stand in Mountain Pose with feet hip-width apart.
· Place palms on the low back, fingers pointing down. Gently draw the elbows toward each other, opening the chest.
· Inhale. Exhale as you press the hips forward and arch backward, raising your chest and head. Head is in line with the spine or dropped back if there is no strain on the neck.
· Hold for 5-7 breaths.
· Slowly return to Mountain Pose.
· Repeat once more.