(Always consult with your doctor or a medical professional before beginning a new exercise routine or fitness program. There are risks of injury or death when participating in an exercise program. This is especially true if you have known or unknown existing health conditions including but not limited to high blood pressure, heart conditions, knee or spinal problems or are currently pregnant. If you are new to yoga you may also want to consult with a yoga teacher to correct any misalignments or postures before practicing on your own.)
It usually happens around 2 or 3 o’clock. My eyelids get heavy. My head leans back as if reaching for the back of my chair. My pillow is calling my name. I want to take a nap.
While an afternoon nap on the weekend is a welcomed treat, it’s a no-go Monday to Friday while I’m working my 8 AM – 5 PM desk job.
If this scenario sounds familiar, below are five moves you can do to wake-up and get energized to finish the afternoon strong. All five poses are standing moves so you can do them virtually anywhere and anytime.
Make sure to repeat poses 2 through 5 on both sides. Hold each pose for 3 – 5 breaths.
- Mountain Pose
Standing up is definitely a good way to start bringing energy back to the body and mind.
Stand tall with feet together or hip width apart. Keep your arms down, palms facing the opposite wall. Root down into all four corners of the feet. Imagine a string is coming out of the top of your head and a puppeteer is pulling on it.
2. Figure-Four Chair Pose
Wake-up your legs and strengthen key muscles. This is also a good stretch for people sitting at desks or on the couch for long hours at a time.
From Mountain Pose, bring your hands to prayer and lift one foot off the floor, bending at the knee. Place the raised ankle over the opposite thigh above the knee and sink the hips back making sure to root down into all four corners of the grounded foot. Try to bring the thigh of the standing leg parallel with the floor. Do not let your heel come up. Flex your foot that is off the ground. If you can, try to fold your heart down to your leg and bring your armpits closure to your shin.
3. High Lunge
Hips and leg muscles tend to get tight as we sit all day. This is a great pose to stretch hip flexors and engage most of the body, waking us up.
Begin in Mountain Pose. Lift one foot off the floor bending at the knee and raising it towards your chest. Lift your arms to the sky as you reach back with the lifted foot landing on the ball of your foot. The front knee should be inline with the front ankle and toes. Keep your hips squared to the front of your mat. Really reach tall with your arms and feel the energy rise from the ground out of your finger tips. With every exhale sink deep into the front standing leg. Make sure your knee is tracking properly over toes and you are not letting it sway in or out.
4. High Lunge with a Twist
Adding a twist will help with building better balance and increase energy; the goal of this short sequence.
From High Lunge, bring your hands to prayer at your heart. Keeping your legs where they are, twist your torso towards your front leg, hooking your elbow to the outside of the front thigh. If it feels okay on your neck, gently gaze up.
5. Tree Pose
Standing balances like Tree Pose require engagement throughout the body, waking us up.
From Mountain Pose, lift one foot off the floor, and place it either on the side of the standing leg’s calf or inner thigh. Do not place the foot at the knee. Hands can be in prayer, at cactus with elbows wide or raised up straight over your head. Engage your core, drawing the naval into the spine. Stand tall and strong.
What are your favorite yoga poses? Which ones do you find the most helpful? Please let me know in the comments below.
Doyle, S. (2018, October 20). The benefits of Twists: 5 Great Twisting yoga postures for a more Resilient low back. Retrieved March 21, 2021, from https://www.yogauonline.com/yoga-practice-tips-and-inspiration/benefits-twists-5-great-twisting-yoga-postures-for-more-resilient#:~:text=Twists%20are%20ubiquitous%20in%20most,of%20a%20series%20of%20muscles.
Felstead, C. (2014). Yoga for runners. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Roundtree, S. (2012). The Runner’s Guide to Yoga. Boulder, CO: Velopress.