Morning. Rise and Shine. Sometimes I spring out of bed, sometimes I slide out of bed with my eyes still closed. Ok, I usually don’t spring out of bed. I’m not even sure I ever spring out of bed. I really prefer to ease into the day. I compare my personal style of operation to that of a fireplace. It takes a little work to get it going – a little cajoling with some kindling. Then once established, I pretty much move at a consistent slow burn the rest of the day. There are some small ebbs and flows, some moments mid-day where my energy flame really blooms and then simmers down. Some days, it takes quite a bit more kindling to get going. The trick for me is careful observation and discernment of my energy state. Some days, a little morning breathing and movement practices give me the boost I need to get going and really help my energy level. Other days, what I really need is rest and relaxation. If my little fireplace doesn’t get a flame going after my usual routines, it’s time to settle in and take care of myself so I don’t completely burn out. It’s better to catch the signs and rest when needed than to push it so far that it takes days to recuperate.
On a typical day, it’s just a matter of waking up the body and mind. Research has shown that practicing yoga, even in short bursts, can give you a sense of energy, empowerment, and competence that you need to accomplish goals. A classic yoga sequence for energy is Sun Salutations. There are many variations on the Sun Salutation, but the basics are typically the same: a flowing sequence that includes standing in Mountain Pose, bending into Forward Fold, an Upward spine stretch, and a Downward Facing Dog pose. Sun Salutations are yoga classics for good reasons. By flowing up and down matching breath with movement, we warm up the body, begin to build heat, and prepare the muscles for deeper postures. Sun Salutations in any variety move the body in all different directions, which is balancing and invigorating. It’s not just a great sequence for morning, however. They can be a great way to build energy as part of a longer yoga practice, or alone as a short pick me up break to help you stoke the flames of your energy fire.
Here’s one example of a Sun Salutation sequence you can do for an energy boost:
Inhale- lift your arms over head, look up, lean hips forward and gently arch back
Exhale into Forward Fold
Inhale- come up halfway to a flat back
Exhale- take both feet back into Plank Pose with back straight and shoulders over wrists
Lower all the way down to the belly
Inhale- lift your chest up into Cobra Pose
Exhale- lift back up through Plank Pose then lift tailbone up and back into Downward Facing Dog Pose
Inhale- bring your feet forward back to Forward Fold
Several Sun Salutations can help give you the boost you need to get going. Here’s a super short (less than 5 minutes) video that you can follow along with to do a couple of Sun Salutations and get a little movement started and increase your energy. Let me know how it goes for you!