How yoga can help you to recharge your energy levels

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Have the winter blues taken their toll on your energy levels? With Spring around the corner, it’s time for a fresh start and an action plan.

March 20 officially marked the beginning of spring. The leaves we saw fall and flowers we saw wilt are now budding into lush, green, miracles of Mother Nature. The dark, cold days and nights are now becoming light and infused with a sense of excitement and opportunity. This is a perfect time to take the cue from nature as it transforms the season into spring and transform our own lives too!

Yoga instructor Adele Wills, who is starting classes at Copley Cricket Club.

Yoga instructor Adele Wills, who is starting classes at Copley Cricket Club.

With lighter, brighter days we can lighten, brighten and invigorate our own new beginnings. Whether that’s getting the girls around for dinner and a catchup, an evening stroll with your loved one after work, or checking out that live band you’ve heard about - whatever you choose to do, yoga can help! Yoga is proven to boost energy levels, giving you that extra influx of energy we so often need to transform good intentions into positive actions.

The link between yoga and energy

Studies show that some yoga poses reduce fatigue and increase the hormone Cortisol. Low levels of Cortisol can zap your energy, therefore enjoying a regular yoga practice will keep this hormone in check without holding you back. So how exactly does Yoga boost energy?

By stretching and strengthening the muscles and massaging the internal organs, toxins are rinsed from the body.

Through practising specific pranayama (breathing) you learn to breathe more deeply, which means your blood receives waves of fresh oxygen which is key to increasing energy levels and revitalising your whole system.

Some poses require balance which sharpens your focus and self-awareness, leading to a greater sense of self confidence and a can-do attitude.

Yoga is 100 per cent natural, so ditch the coffee and the power nap and instead choose yoga to instantly boost and balance energy levels.

And Breathe….

One of the simplest ways that yoga boosts your energy is through deep breathing. Yoga breathing exercises reduce your stress and free your mind. Deeply inhaling and exhaling alone will go a long way in calming you and stimulating your nervous system to generate greater energy.

Many of my students, after experiencing yoga breathing, say they realise just how often they hold their breath when stressed, or how short and shallow their breathing is in daily life. Making a conscious effort to breathe deeply in a yoga breathing exercise will oxygenate your entire body. Check out my website link for a reminder of my 3 minute breathing techniques that you can try at work, home – anywhere! {\|}

My Top Yoga Poses for boosting energy

The basics: If you can’t get to a class but you need an instant energy boost try these yoga poses. Remember to listen to your body, never stay in a pose if you’re in pain (you’re looking for a positive challenge), breathe deeply at all times and find your own unique flow and rhythm.
Equipment: Barefoot and use a sticky yoga mat for traction and safety.

Tree Pose (below)

Tree is a balancing pose which strengthens the muscles of the lower extremities around your knees and activates your core. Along with physical stability and balance, Tree pose can also give you mental stability and balance. Once you’re comfortable in the pose, imagine yourself extending roots deep into the ground and the crown of your head lifting towards the sky.

1.Begin in a standing position with your hands on your hips. Feet grounded and rooted to the floor, legs strong, hips open, shoulders open and back, crown of your head lifting to the sky

2.Bend your right knee and place your right foot on the inside of your left ankle, knee or thigh (wherever you can get to)

3.Bring your hands together in front of your chest, or for a further challenge reach your arms up overhead

4.Gaze forward at a fixed point and breathe in a flowing rhythm

5.On your exhale bring the leg down and then repeat on the other side

Hold for 30 seconds - 1 minute.

Tip: If you are new to the Tree pose, stand with your back against a wall to help achieve balance. As you become more comfortable standing in the Tree pose, slowly move away from the wall until you can successfully balance on your own. Once you are an expert, make the pose more challenging by closing your eyes as you balance.

Corpse Pose (bottom)

This pose literally means lay and be still, as if dead! This may sounds morbid but there is method in the madness. This pose allows deep relaxation through your entire body whilst soothing your sympathetic nervous system. This is the perfect pose to conclude any yoga sequence, and in class is something we do with soft blankets and lavender eye pillows.

1. Lay down in a supine position (facing upwards)

2. Let your feet flop, your shoulders ease down, palms facing upwards

3. Ensure you’re comfortable - if you need to put socks on and/or pull a blanket over you to help you relax do this. If you have an eye pillow place this over your eyes to allow the eyes to relax and be soothed

4. If any thoughts come into your mind say to yourself ‘I’m not going to get involved’ and let them pass

5. Breathe slowly and deeply letting a sense of calm relaxation envelop your whole body. Concentrate on loosening tensions

6. Let go. Hold for 10 minutes – 30 minutes. If you struggle to switch off and focus on the poses or on your own, a yogaclass environment, where a guided relaxation takes place, may be more suitable for you.

Happy energising!

Adele runs a number of classes throughout the week right here in Calderdale.

For more information go to her website or call her on 07794866160.