ILUKA Lifestyle Blog
How to Energize and Feel ‘Alive’!
By Charlotte Dodson | charlottedodson.tv
Photography | atdusk.com.au
Wearing | theupsidesport.com
Feel like you’re dragging your feet, and need a second wind? Had a tiring day, and yet still have a long night ahead of you? By focusing your goals and practicing a few simple yoga moves – for about 15 minutes on a daily basis – you’ll easily boost up your energy levels, and thus be ready to take on the full evening that lays ahead of you.
Complete this sequence in this particular order, and if you’re feeling a need for an extra energy boost, practice these poses a few times throughout the day, either when you’re on the ‘go’ or at your desk!
By working your large muscles groups in order to get the energy flowing through your organs and limbs, and by oxygenating your lungs at the same time, you’ll be set for the day. Always remember to breathe fully and mindfully throughout your practice – that way, you’ll give yourself that boost of long-lasting energy you need. During your practice, keep your belly active, chin tucked into your throat and ribs drawn into your spine.
Inhale to oxygenate
Every time you inhale, you oxygenate your blood and fill your lungs with life-giving air. This is a great way to wake you up, especially in the morning. By giving yourself a few moments out of a busy work schedule to consciously breathe, you will keep yourself both alert and calm throughout the whole day. Lets breathe deeply into our lungs, and increase that lung capacity as you work with breath counts. Come into a cross legged sit with your hands on your knees, to keep your spine elongated. Keep your chin tucked into your throat to protect your neck. Take a long deep inhale, counting from 1-2-3-4 (maybe to 5-6) breath lengths, and naturally release on a long exhale. Repeat 3-5 times. Always come back to a natural flowing breath if it feels uncomfortable at any time.
Open chest and lungs
This pose (‘prasarita padottanasana c’) opens up your lungs, chest, shoulders and heart. It makes you feel truly ‘alive’. It really gives you that ‘zing’ to open up your day, and lengthens your spine as you bend forward.
Start by placing your feet one leg distant apart, toes inward slightly. Press firmly into your feet and strongly activate your legs. Interlock your hands with your palms facing inward behind your back body and open your chest as you roll your shoulders outward. Bend your knees slightly and if you can, lift your arms up and over your head. Don’t push this movement and only go as far as you feel comfortable. An option is to bring one hand onto each elbow behind your back. Keep your chin tucked down in towards your throat. You’ll feel your front body open as gravity naturally draws the hands towards the floor. Breathe deeply and naturally for 5-10 breaths. To release, slowly roll back up to standing keeping your knees soft.
Release and centre
Twist, turn and unravel any of those emotional problems! This pose gets into all those knots and tight areas, helping to alleviate the strain. Bring your feet one leg distant apart, with your toes turning inwards and heels out slightly. Keep your knees soft to protect your lower back. Place one hand into the middle of your legs and as your inhale, raise the other arm up over your head. Lengthen your fingers up towards the ceiling. Keep your legs strong and active. Look up to your top hand, if your neck feels sore, look down to the base hand. Roll your shoulders outward and breathe fully into the whole length of your spine. Breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths. To release the pose, exhale your lifting arm back down to the floor and repeat to the other side.
Expand into your ribcage
As you create more space in your body, you do the same within your mind. When was the last time you emphasized movements that involved the side of your body? In our exercise routines, we tend to go forwards or back, but not often from side to side. As we shift and move the body, we shift and move our mind – expansion in our movement and our thoughts is the goal.
Either start in a cross legged seat (easy version), or alternatively, come to the top of your mat, feet hip distant apart, feet firmly pressed down into the floor. As you inhale, interlock your hands and raise your arms up to the ceiling, reaching high. On your next exhale, keep your legs active, press your palms towards the right side, lengthening through your left side as you ’tilt’ in that direction. If you’re seated, release your right hand or forearm gently down onto the floor, with your left reaching up and over your head. Bend your knees if your lower back is tender and keep your tailbone tucked under. Breath deeply for 5 breath lengths before coming back to neutral on your inhale. Repeat to the other side.
Backbends opens up the front body and strengthens the back. This half upside down bow pose gives you an energetic boost as you turn yourself inside out, like a rainbow shape.
Start by laying down with your back body on the floor. Bend both knees up into about a 45 degree angle, press the soles of your feet into the earth, keeping your feet hip distant apart. Place your forearms onto the floor with your palms facing down. On your exhale, ground your feet and roll your buttocks, lower, middle and upper back away from the floor. Roll your shoulders down and if it feels comfortable interlock your hands together, under your back body. Keep lifting your chest towards your chin and your chin towards your chest. You’re developing muscle strength in your legs. Hold the body shape and breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths before rolling back to the floor on your exhalation. Every time you exhale, feel your belly tightly tuck in and see if you can soften your buttocks. As you move on the exhale, your belly is protecting your lower back. An option is to lift up onto your tip toes to release your lower back, or roll back down to the floor if it feels uncomfortable. When you come back to the floor make sure you hug your knees into your belly and give yourself a squeeze. Keep your lower back pressed down into the floor, before repeating the pose a few more times.
We can be so busy with life – thinking and doing too much! Yoga is a tool to help us keep our mind still and quiet. Lay back, let go and see if you can ‘be’ in the moment by giving time for your body to relax for 5-10 minutes. This corpse pose allows your body to absorb the sequence you’ve just completed. You’ll feel rested and it will provide your whole body with an overall sense of well-being and harmony. It’s similar to a powernap, allowing all your organs to breathe as you lay flat on your back.
After savasana, roll out to the right side and come up to a cross legged sitting posture; now you’ll feel ready to embrace your whole day – alert, energised and with a regained second wind.