By Kimaya Singh
There are several energizing Yoga poses and sequences that will help students to increase their level of productivity. Many commitments often challenge students to their academic studies, personal interests, friends, sports, and family obligations. Yoga postures and sequences that help to energize and invigorate both the body and the mind will help a student to reach his or her goals while maintaining good mental and physical health. Flowing sequences, such as Sun Salutations, Dancing Warrior Series, and Moon Salutations, can boost your energy anytime.
Sun Salutations for Energy Cultivation
One of the best series of energizing Yoga poses is the Sun Salutation. This sequence forms the foundation for many flowing series of Yoga asanas. It is also great to warm up the entire body before delving into challenging standing, balancing, and back bending postures. For detailed instructions on practicing the A and B series of the Sun Salutation, please refer to a reputable book, website, or a professional Yoga studio in your area. Moving into the Warrior Poses from the Sun Salutation will leave you energized, strong, and focused. These qualities will benefit students of all ages!
Warrior II Pose for Energy Cultivation
To begin your energizing Yoga poses, warm up first with a series of Sun Salutations before practicing Warrior II pose. When ready to practice Warrior 2 Pose, come to the front of your Yoga mat and stand in Equal Standing Pose. Feel the ground beneath you and take a deep, full breath. Inhale, and with your next exhale, step your right foot back three and a half to four feet. Raise your arms to shoulder height with your palms facing down towards your Yoga mat. Your feet should be approximately as wide as your extended arms. Align the back of your right heel with the back of your left heel. In other words, both heels should fall on the same line on your mat.
Inhale, and bend your right knee to ninety degrees with your next exhale. Do not extend your right knee beyond the line of your right ankle. Gaze over the middle finger of your right hand to a point on the horizon. Hold the pose for three to five complete breaths while holding your drishti on the same point in front of your extended right hand. When you are ready to come out of the pose, inhale as you bring your feet together and your arms back down to your sides. Pause for a moment and feel the strength, determination, and expansion through your torso, arms, and shoulders. Repeat on the left-hand side. Energizing Yoga poses and flowing sequences make a positive difference in one’s lifestyle.
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Energizing Yoga Poses in Practice
By Kathryn Boland
Have you practiced with extra awareness of inner and outer forces in asana practice? Have you guided your students in this? In yoga practice and asana and pranayama, in particular, we centralize energy in the body’s center to radiate it outwards from there. When this applies to limbs, we can give it the anatomical terms adduction (to draw in towards the midline) and abduction (to draw away from the midline). This effect can be incredibly healing and empowering in an age where most everyone is tired, overwhelmed, and energetically scattered.
Focus on Balance
Let’s focus on the inner/outer energy balance in asana practice, but it plays into far more than that. In pranayama, the breath begins in the lungs and heart, but its energy and grounding ripples through the entire body. In meditation, a singular focus is maintained (at whatever degree of consistency, as persistent as that monkey mind can be for all of us), and from that, the entire body can experience tension release and greater ease. The individual can then go forth with greater clarity of mind to serve the world with greater clarity and inner strength. Even in Karma yoga, we need to come from a place of personal wellness and balance to serve others as best we can. Let’s look more closely at balancing inner and outer energies in a few particular asanas.
Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
We can discuss inner and outer forces in this pose in the lower and upper body. Mountain Pose feet can lead to a spiraling outwards of the thighs, yet the inner hamstrings hug in towards each other. The top hip spiral downwards to keep the strongest and most stable alignment of the front leg (thigh to knee to shin to foot) – as if spiraling inwards back into the body. Moving into the upper body, the bottom lung spirals upwards, in a twist towards the torso’s side – almost as if trying to meet the top tip.
Together those parts create an inwards spiral that helps to maintain stability and strength in the pose – as well as a healthy twist through the abdominals. On the other hand, that energy shines through the spine and out the top of the head, the head shooting longer away from the pelvis with each inhale. Energy is also shooting from the bottom to fingers to the top fingers – through the arms, collarbones, and shoulders. Energy is radiating from the core out through these extremities. On each breath out, the inwards-spiraling twist deepens. This balance of inner and outer allows for this pose to be both expansive and grounding.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Anatomically speaking, this pose is a backbend (even if it might not at first look like it). Poses of this type are rather energetic but require a grounding anchor (or anchors) to maintain safety and stability. In this pose, anchors are the shoulderblades (versus pressure on the neck), feet, and core and leg (thigh and hamstring) engagement. Plant through the feet at hips distance apart. Maintaining Tadasana’s feet here is key to anchoring the pose.
It’s also important to let the tension melt out of the shoulders and shoulder blades, so that the latter can more easily slide wide underneath the upper back. There’s then the inwards actions (adduction) of the inner thighs squeezing in towards each other (to prevent the knees from falling wider than the hips) and the hips drawing closer towards the face. The core is engaged, with a sense of inwards activation. Yet there’s pushing down through the feet and a drawing of the chest and knees away from the midline, outwards activations (abductions). Both forces together keep this pose both energized and stable.
Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasa)
At first glance, this pose seems rather uncomplicated, and it might be overlooked in the family of energizing Yoga poses. There are many complex energetic forces at play, however. The tailbone and pubic bone shoot slightly backward, along with the front of hip bones as neutral or tipping slightly forwards. That’s an outwards energy of drawing away from the body. Flexing of the feet backward allows energy to shoot out through the heels, yet the feet draw back towards the face in an activation towards the midline.
The pelvis and lower belly draw towards the upper thighs, energy drawing in towards the midline. That helps create a safe and stable low and middle back. A slight curve in the upper back is fine as a natural balancing out of the spine’s inherent curves. Energy shoots out the top of the head, like in the Mountain pose, an outwards action. That length can increase just slightly with every breath in, and with every breath out, the torso can melt ever so slightly closer to the thighs, again inwards energy towards the midline. These forces, like in so many other poses, allow this pose to be a dynamic balancing of inwards and outwards forces. That effect can increase its ability to heal and empower in overall balanced yoga practice.
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