Workout Wednesday - Yoga For Energy

By: Stacia Naquin Email
By: Stacia Naquin Email

The three components of fitness you should try to fit into any weekly regimen are cardiovascular activity, muscular strength and endurance training and flexibility. A regular yoga practice helps you work on the flexibility portion and, when done consistently, also helps boost energy, reduce stress and improve mental clarity. Even if you do not have time to attend a regular yoga class, executing a few yoga poses in the morning before you begin your day can help enhance your daily functioning.

Half Sun Salute: The sun salutation is a flowing set of 12 poses commonly incorporated near the beginning of hatha yoga classes. It intends to warm the body and increase blood flow to the extremities. It also serves as a moving meditation as the positions flow with the breath. Mastering the full sun salute sequence may be challenging and overwhelming first thing in the morning, rather try just a half salute. Stand up straight with your legs together, arms alongside your torso—imagine a string pulling you taller toward the ceiling. Inhale and sweep the arms up above your head and lean back slightly to open up the chest. Open the arms in a swan dive and hinge from the hips toward the floor, exhaling as you go. Bend your knees if it strains the backs of your thighs. Inhale and lift your fingertips to touch your shins and make your back parallel to the floor. Exhale and fold forward again. Inhale and reverse the swan dive. Exhale and return the arms alongside your body. Repeat five to ten times.

Warrior Two: This pose strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles, stretches the groins, chest and lungs, shoulders, stimulates abdominal organs, increases stamina and can be therapeutic for flat feet, osteoporosis and sciatica. From a standing position, step your feet about 4 feet apart. Reach your arms out to the sides, parallel to the floor, palms face down. Turn your right foot in slightly to the right and your left foot out to the left 90 degrees. Align the left heel with the right heel. Firm your thighs and turn your left thigh outward so that the center of the left knee cap is in line with the center of the left ankle. Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. If possible, bring the left thigh parallel to the floor. Anchor this movement of the left knee by strengthening the right leg and pressing the outer right heel firmly to the floor. Keep your shoulders aligned over the hips and pelvis. Turn to look over the left fingers. Hold for a minute or so and repeat on the other side.

Triangle Pose: Triangle helps reduce stress and relieve anxiety. It also opens up the hips, groin, hamstrings and shoulders. From a stand, step your feet about 4 feet apart and extent your arms out to the sides of the room, parallel to the floor. Turn your left foot in slightly to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Exhale and extend your torso to the right directly over the right leg, bending from the hip joint, not the waist. Anchor this movement by strengthening the left leg and pressing the outer heel firmly to the floor. Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot, whatever is possible without distorting the sides of the torso. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing softly at the left thumb. Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to a minute and then repeat on the other side.

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