Life

6 Yoga Poses That Will Give You A Boost of Energy

Yoga can be a great way to clear the mind and calm your stress. It can strengthen your immune system, tone your muscles, and even help you focus, among a slew of other health benefits. However, yoga can also be a natural alternative for your cup of coffee, with the ability to energize and awaken both your mind and your body.

Next time you need a quick energy boost and don't feel like hitting up the nearest Starbucks, you may want to consider doing a few yoga poses to get your body going. With the help of Los Angeles-based yoga instructor Sarah Ezrin, we've come up with a list of six easy poses that will have you feeling perked up in no time.

Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)

This classic pose helps build not only your confidence, but your stamina as well. “The balance element keeps the mind alert, and the expansive shape opens the whole body,” says Ezrin. Start with the legs wide and feet parallel. Turn the right leg out from within the hip socket. Bend the front knee and track it with the ankle as you step off the front foot, lifting the back leg to hip’s height. Have the right arm under the shoulder while the top arm extends strongly toward the ceiling. Use a block or stack of books under the bottom hand to keep the torso in line with the hips.

Photo: Jarrett Moreland

King Dancer (Natarajasana)

This standing pose is a heart-opener that helps to improve posture, which is linked to higher brain functioning and elevated mood. “The front body is stretched using the leverage of the lifted leg, as the standing leg and back are strengthened,” says Ezrin. “Tip the pelvis forward slightly and begin to lift the leg strongly from the inner thigh. At the same time, grow your chest up toward the ceiling.”

Photo: Jarrett Moreland

Twisting Crescent

“Twists keep the spine supple,” says Ezrin. “When the spine is aligned, nerve impulses flow more easily to and from the brain, sharpening thinking and dexterity.” To do this pose, begin on your hands and knees and step the right foot between your hands, aligning the knee over the ankle. Lift the torso upright and bring the hands to prayer. On an inhalation, lengthen the spine. When exhaling, twist to the right, hooking the left elbow to the outside of the right thigh.

Photo: Jarrett Moreland

Locust pose (Salabhasana)

Locust pose is great for strengthening the muscles of the back body while also opening the lungs and heart. Gravity and certain lifestyle activities such as texting weaken the back muscles and collapse the chest, shortening breath. “Improved breathing is linked to higher energy,” says Ezrin. Start lying on your belly with your arms by your side. On an inhalation, float the chest and legs off the floor. “Lift the legs from the inner thighs,” says Ezrin. “Look for length over height, as if you could peel the body apart in two directions.”

Photo: Jarrett Moreland

Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

This deep backbend will help keep you energized throughout the day by opening your chest and lungs. Start kneeling with the legs hips distance apart and your hands on the lower back, fingers pointing down. On an inhale, lift the chest up toward the ceiling before exhaling and arcing back. “If you are able to keep the hips aligned over the knees, play with taking your hands back to grab the feet,” says Ezrin.

Photo: Jarrett Moreland

Handstand

“Only have 30 seconds to get a boost? Do a handstand!” suggests Ezrin. “Going upside down is not only exhilarating, but it flips our perspective, giving us a fresh view and fresh flow of blood to the brain,” says Ezrin. If a full handstand isn’t in your practice, try going up against the wall, start 6 inches away in Downward-Facing Dog pose. Inhale the shoulders forward over the wrists, and lift your head so you are looking toward the wall. Step the feet in more closely and lift one leg, while keeping the standing leg bent. On an inhale, spring from the standing leg and allow your lifted leg to guide you toward the wall.

Photo: Jeffrey Wolpert

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