Tel +27 (021) 880 1444 | Fax +27 (021) 880 0291 | P.O. Box 12602, Die Boord, Stellenbosch, 7613
There are many different yoga styles, as there are hundreds of various yoga postures. Each style and posture has its own set of benefits and reasons why it is a valuable and a ‘feel good’ exercise for your body, mind and soul.
Often yoga is seen as a de-stressor and a set of slow stretches to bring calmness and peace to a busy mind and tense body. Yes, that is correct. However, yoga can also be energising. Ask a yogi who has just stepped out of a hot Power Yoga session, and she will certainly let you know that yoga is not all ‘Oming’, soothing and relaxing!
The winter season it is that time of year when our body is more sluggish, stale and in need of an energy boost. Many tests have been done to show how much yoga boosts your immunity by increasing your overall health. Your organs, systems and bodily movement function better after they have been twisted, oxygenised and realigned.
If you are feeling run down, sluggish, cold, and in need of a ‘pick-me-up’ then some invigorating yoga can certainly lift your mood, stimulate your system, get your heart pumping, and release happy hormones into your body.
For a quick, effective boost, reawaken your body and refresh your mind by using these energising yoga tips, thereby allowing more prana and life force to flow through and revitalise your body.
TIPS ON HOW TO ENERGISE WITH YOGATake deep breathsWhen we are anxious, irritable or tired, we don’t use our full lung capacity, which, in yogic terms, means that we are not fully allowing prana and life force into our body. Think about it . . . when you are stressed what happens to your breathing? On a physical level the most important way to breathe is using complete yogic breathing. Breathing in slowly, expanding the abdomen, then into the ribcage, and finally the upper portion of the lungs. Then breathe out in the same manner.
By using various pranayama (breathing) techniques and breathing fully we overcome tension, fatigue and even depression. Taking a few deep breaths is a natural pick-me-up and a sure way to bring oxygen and energy back into a tense body and frazzled mind.
Do a few sun salutations (surya namaskar)The sun salutation sequence was traditionally performed early in the morning, at sunrise, as a way to awaken the body. There are many variations to the sequence so find a flow that works best for you.
Move into backward bendsBackbends are perhaps the most effective yoga postures or asanas for energising the body.
They warm the system, increase energy, and invigorate your whole being.
Backbends bring flexibility and unblock energy along your spine and strengthen weak back muscles. They also open the chest and heart (so they are uplifting) stimulating the emotional body to bring balance to your moods and new life into your body.
To boost your energy add these backbends to your yoga sequence. Just make sure you have warmed up with a few sun salutations and gentle stretches first.
Cobra pose (bunjangasana)■ Lie on your stomach and place your hands flat on the floor next to your ribs;■ Take your feet hip distance apart to protect your lower back;■ Take a deep breath in, push your hands into the floor and slowly peel your body off the mat as you lift your torso up to the sky and work towards straightening your arms;■ Keep your hips and legs on the mat, lengthen out your lower back and focus on working your shoulders away from your ears – even if this means you keep your arms slightly bent;■ Take your gaze gently upwards making sure to lengthen your spine and neck and not to collapse your neck backwards;■ Hold here for five deep breathes;■ Slowly lower down to the floor on an exhale.
Locust variation sequence (salabhasana)■ Lie on your stomach and interlace your hands behind your back;■ Squeeze your legs together and keep your legs and feet pushing into the ground;■ Take a deep breath in, lift your head and chest off the mat and stretch your arms and hands down towards your feet – keeping your hands interlaced;■ Hold here for five deep breathes;■ Slowly lower down to the floor on an exhale;■ Relax your body, arms by your side and left cheek to the mat – hold here for three to five breaths;■ Chin facing forwards, arms by your sides and palms facing up;■ Take a deep breath in and lift your head and chest, as well as your legs this time;■ Keep the back of your hands pressing on the floor – using them as resistance;■ Feel like you are drawing your armpits towards your hips and lifting from your heart;■ Gaze forward so as not to collapse your neck;■ Hold here for five deep breaths;■ Slowly lower down to the floor on an exhale;■ Relax your body, arms by your side and right cheek to the mat – hold here for three to five breaths;■ On your next inhalation, take a deep breath in and lift your head and chest, legs and your arms – reach your arms by your sides, palms facing up, reaching your hands towards your feet but still keeping arms and legs straight;■ If it feels ok for your lower back keep your feet and legs squeezing together;■ Gaze forward;■ Hold here for five deep breaths;■ Slowly lower down to the floor on an exhale.
Camel pose (ustrasana)■ Come onto your knees with feet and knees hip-width apart;■ Bring your hands to your lower back with fingers facing down;■ Take a deep breath in and as you exhale lengthen your body up and back; ■ Keep your hips moving forward, extend from your lower back and open the whole front side of your body; ■ Breathe deeply into the lungs;■ Slowly come back up onto your knees, without twisting your spine, and then sit down on your heels. Take deep breaths to come back to balance;■ To advance in this posture you can also take your hands back onto your heels, once you are in the backbend. Remember to listen to your body.
Child’s pose (balasana)■ End off your backbend sequence with a counter pose and gently move yourself into child’s pose;■ Sit on your knees bringing your knees and feet together;■ Bring your body forward over your legs and rest your forehead on the floor and arms by your sides;■ Relax here for at least five breaths releasing your spine and bringing yourself back into balance.
CONCLUSIONRemember that your energy flows where your attention goes, so include these yoga tips into your practice and notice how you feel energised, your mood lifts, your aches and pains start to dissapear and how your happy, light-hearted approach brightens up your outlook for the next few wintery months.
Click here to browse or order previous issues