We'd all like to have more energy. Eating real food, not overloading ourselves with chemicals, and keeping active are a good start. But there's fast and simple way to give both your physical and mental energy levels an extra boost all day long. It doesn't cost anything, and it doesn't take any special equipment. You can do it anytime and almost anywhere. What is it?
I know what you're probably thinking. I'm not flexible enough to do yoga. Or maybe I'm not doing yoga! That's for old hippies and New Age wierdos. Fortunately, neither of these things is true.
Yes you CAN do yoga, and here's why you should try it
The health benefits of yoga would take up more room than I have in this newsletter. It builds your core strength. It increases your flexibility, which makes you less likely to be injured if you take a fall. It makes your bones stronger. It lowers your stress levels, boosts your immune system, and improves your focus.
And it gives you more energy.
There's a common misconception that you have to be flexible in order to do yoga. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, you become flexible as you do yoga. Yoga is the most forgiving form of exercise there is — you only do what you can do. If you're supposed to touch your toes but you can only reach your knees, that's what you do. If you're supposed to stand on one foot but you can't balance, you support yourself with a prop like a chair.
8 yoga poses for more energy
The best time to do this routine is in the morning, before you start your day. These 8 poses will calm your mind and energize your body, and they're simple enough nearly anyone can do them. The routine should take only 5-10 minutes, but the effects last for hours.
Step 1: Mountain Pose
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Let your arms hang loosely at your sides. Breathe deeply from your belly — in through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathe slowly, to a count of four. Four in, four out. Do this 5-6 times.
Step 2: Triangle Pose
Raise your arms to shoulder height. Flatten your hands and point your fingers outward. Straighten your spine and pull your shoulders back. Keeping your back and arms straight, bend from the hip and reach toward your right knee. Don't worry if you can't reach very far — just bend until you feel a slight stretch. Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds. Slowly come back to mountain pose, then repeat on the other side.
Step 3: Half-Moon Pose
Return to mountain pose, then slowly raise your arms above your head and bring your hands together, palms flat. Stretch your arms as high as you can comfortably stretch. If you don't have any back problems, you can lean backward, arching your back and stretching your arms and neck. Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds. Return to mountain pose. Remember to breathe deeply through each pose.
Step 4: Forward Bend
From mountain pose, bend forward from the hip. Keeping your head down, reach for your ankles and bend as far as you can. If you can't reach your ankles, don't worry. If you can only bend over a few inches, that's ok. Just bend and reach as far as you can, then hold the pose for 30 seconds. If it's very uncomfortable or you feel like you may lose your balance, come back to mountain pose.
Step 5: Downward-Facing Dog
From forward bend, reach out and put your hands flat on the floor. If you can't touch the floor, you can use the seat of a chair or a yoga block. Take a step back with each foot, so that your body makes an open triangle. If you've ever seen a dog stretch, you'll see where this pose got its name! Hold for 30 seconds.
Step 6: Cat Pose and Cow Pose
Lower yourself to your hands and knees. They should both be shoulder-width apart. Slowly arch your back as far as you can, pushing your belly toward the floor and throwing your head back. Pretend you're a cat stretching. Then do the opposite — put your head down and look toward your knees. Round your back as much as you can. Do this 3-5 times.
Step 7: Upward-Facing Dog
Lie face-down with your legs straight behind you. Put your hands flat on the floor beside your head, as if you're going to do a push-up. Lift your head and tip it back as far as you can. At the same time, use your arms to push your chest up from the floor. Hold the pose for as long as you can or for 30 seconds, whichever is longer. If you can only lift yourself an inch or two, that's ok. You only do what you can.
Step 8: Child's Pose
Come back to your hands and knees, then sit back on your heels. Stretch your arms out in front of you and lay your forehead on the floor, like a tummy-sleeping baby. If you can't sit back on your heels, that's fine. From hands and knees, bend your elbows and clasp your hands. Then rest your head on your clasped hand and your chest on the floor. Stay like this for 30 seconds to 1 minute. For best results, repeat all the poses in reverse order, ending with mountain pose. You should be awake, calm, and vividly energized.
Yoga is best done barefoot, on a yoga mat. If you're not using a mat, make sure you're on a non-slip surface. And if you do wear shoes, make sure they're flat, cover your whole foot, and are also non-slip. Never do yoga in flip-flops, sandals, or other slip-on shoes.
You can do yoga. And you should. Just a few minutes of yoga each morning can raise your energy levels and lower your stress levels for the rest of the day. And if you need a quick top-up at any point, you can do a couple quick poses nearly anywhere.