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by Justine Glenton
Ashtanga & Zen Yoga Teacher
Yoga Postures to Increase Energy and Reduce Fatigue
Sometimes unusual mental or physical exertion, stress, and lack of sleep can make people tired. Prevention in these cases simply requires self-observation and needs us to listen to our bodies. It means not pushing the body and mind beyond its limits. Other times it means walking or doing some physical work to help increase the energy levels.
Some yoga poses are excellent to reduce fatigue and adjust the hormone cortisol - too little of which can zap your energy. As your stress levels go down, energy levels improve you can increase energy with balancing poses and backbends.
Here are 8 Yoga postures to increase energy and reduce fatigue. Practicing yoga increases your energy, power, strength and endurance, whilst strengthening weak or under-activated areas of the body.
|Cobra pose strengthens the upper back, neck, shoulders and chest. It also stretches the spine, improving spinal mobility of the upper and mid-back. It opens 4 chakras within the body, reduces tension, stress and fatigue.
To do this pose, start by lying on your stomach with your hands on the floor by your chest. Keeping your legs together, point your toes back while pressing feet into the ground. Keep your elbows bent in by your sides as you slowly lift your head and chest off the floor. Look straight ahead and hold anywhere from 20 seconds upwards to a minute.
Inhale as you lengthen the sides of your body, then exhale, pressing your tailbone down. Press the lower tips of your shoulder blades toward the back of your heart while keeping the upper shoulder blades broad and open. Root your hands into the earth, and curl up toward the sky.
|Has a very restorative and rejuvenating effect on the mind, body and spirit. It opens and lengthens the back of the body and creates great sensations within the body.|
|This pose, which looks like an archer's bow, strengthens the back while lengthening the front of the body.
To do this pose, lie on your belly with your arms by your sides, palms facing up. Bend your knees and bring your heels close to your buttocks. Reach back with your hands and grab your ankles (not the tops of the feet). Keep your knees about hip-width apart. Lift your heels away from your buttocks while simultaneously lifting your thighs away from the floor. This will lift your upper torso and head off the floor. Press your shoulder blades down and away from your ears. Keep your gaze forward.
Hold this pose anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds. Release your ankles as you exhale, and rest quietly for a few breaths.
|Tree pose strengthens the muscles of the lower extremities around your knees. It is a balancing pose, requiring focus and attention.
This pose starts in a standing position with your hands on your hips. Bend your right knee and place your right foot on the inside of your left thigh. Press the thigh against the foot. Bring your hands together in front of your chest, or for a further challenge reach your arms up overhead. Gaze forward at a fixed point.
Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Repeat on other side.
|Energises you physically and mentally; it is a back bend that strengthens, lengthens every vertebrae therefore increasing elasticity and flexibility of the spine as well as reducing fat build up from the oblique area and reduces stiff hips.|
|Helps alleviate stress, stimulates abdominals, lungs and thyroid, reduces fatigue, backache, headaches and insomnia.|
|Reverses the effect of gravity by revitalising the organs as pressure is relieved from the lower areas of the body, it stimulates all the digestive, nervous, hormonal and endocrine systems of the body improving our overall health, reducing fatigue and alleviating insomnia. It also changes our perspective.|
|The destroyer of all disease. It helps control the hormonal function in the body, releases tension and induces deep relaxation. This sequence engages your core and energises your system from the inside out. The poses also require balance, which sharpens your focus, as well as lots of deep breaths, which increase your oxygen intake to help you feel more alert.
Do each of these moves in order, holding the poses for 10 - 20 deep breaths. Repeat the sequence on the other side when appropriate.
Other major causes of fatigue include anaemia, low gastric fire, and weakness of the liver. If the fatigue is due to anaemia, eating iron-rich foods and blood builders such as pomegranate juice, grapes or grape juice, and beets or beet/carrot juice, can help. Right nostril breathing is also helpful, as it stimulates the liver, which plays an important role in building blood. For fatigue caused by physical exertion, drinking fresh orange juice with a pinch of rock salt gives a quick boost. Add 10 drops of lime juice to help the body cool down.
When agni (the digestive fire) is low, digestion will be sluggish, bringing the energy level down. One way to raise agni is to chop or grate a little fresh ginger, add a few drops of lime juice and a pinch of salt, and chew it before meals. Also, it is best to avoid cold or iced drinks, as they counteract agni and impede effective digestion. Instead, take small sips of warm water while eating.