Since I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, I get extremely fatigued, so I am always looking for natural ways to increase my energy. Last year I was desperate for a way to boost my energy in the morning, and I started drinking coffee. I was never a regular coffee drinker, not even during long nights of studying in college. I am really sensitive to caffeine and have a really bad reaction to coffee: I get jittery, dizzy, sweaty, and my heart pounds faster. After a few hours of energy, I would crash. I hated feeling dependent on coffee for energy. I’ve changed my diet (which is a blog post for a different day) and decided to go back to drinking tea. However, some days I feel like I need an afternoon jolt of energy. Instead of turning to coffee, I’ve started to practice yoga poses either during my lunch break or I modify the poses for my chair at work.
Below are 5 yoga poses which have been the most helpful for increasing my energy. I've provided both traditional and chair yoga instructions, so you can practice these poses at home or at work! Before you practice these poses, remember to warm up your body with your favorite warm-ups or modified sun salutations. Always remember to breathe during each of these poses, and if a pose doesn't feel right for your body then skip it and try the next pose.
1. Warrior II
There is a mild back bend in Warrior II, which brings energy into the body.
Begin standing at the top of your mat with your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms to the side to shoulder-height with your palms facing the ground. Turn your right foot slightly to the right and your left foot out to the left 90 degrees. Align the left heel with the right heel. Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle, so that your shin is perpendicular to the floor. Make sure your knee is either behind or in-line with your ankle. If possible, bring the left thigh parallel to the floor. Stretch the arms away from the space between the shoulder blades, parallel to the floor. Gaze over the finger of your left hand and hold for 5–10 deep breaths.. Repeat on the other side.
Sitting in the chair, spread your feet wide apart. Raise your arms to the side to shoulder-height with your palms facing the ground. Draw the left hip back and turn the torso to the left, so that it is aligned with the front of the chair. Gaze out over the right fingertips and hold warrior II for three breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.
2. Triangle Pose
Triangle pose is a great way to expand your body, and increase the flow of breath and energy throughout your body.
Begin standing at the top of your mat with your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Check to ensure that your heels are aligned with each other. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees so your toes are pointing to the top of the mat. Pivot your left foot slightly inwards. Your back toes should be at a 45-degree angle. Raise your arms to the side to shoulder-height, so they’re parallel to the floor, palms facing down. On an exhalation, reach through your right hand in the same direction as your right foot is pointed. Shift your left hip back so your tailbone and pelvis tilt toward the wall or space behind your left foot. Fold at your right hip. Turn your left palm forward, with your fingertips reaching toward the sky. Rest your right hand on your outer shin or ankle. You can also place your hand on a block. Align your shoulders so your left shoulder is directly above your right shoulder. Gently turn your head to gaze at your right thumb. Lengthen your tailbone toward your back heel. Keep your left arm in line with your shoulders. Hold for up to one minute. Repeat on the other side.
Standing beside the chair, spread your feet wide apart. One hand rests on the seat of the chair. Opposite hand lifts upward, with your head turned upward and your gaze focused on the upper thumb. Hold 5–10 deep breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.
3. Chair Pose
Chair pose creates energy in the body by creating a slight backbend, which awakens the spine. Instead of using your chair at work for chair pose, you can move your chair out of the way and practice chair pose while working at your desk.
Standing with your feet together or hip-width apart. Bend the lower body down as if you were sitting on a chair. Raise the arms to the ears and raise the chest up to complete the pose. Hold 5–10 deep breaths.
4. Wheel Pose
Backbends are a great way to unlock the energy of the spine and nervous system.
Lie on your back on the floor. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor, hip-width distance apart, close to your hips. Bend your elbows and place your hands next to your head on the floor with your fingers pointing towards your shoulders. Press the inner feet down to keep the knees from falling out to the sides. On an inhalation lift the hips to the ceiling. Stay here for a breath or two.
Sit with your feet hip width apart. Root down through your feet and arms, lengthen up from your tailbone to the crown of your head, and arch your spine up and back until your upper rib cage touches the chair back and rests there lightly. Keep your chin tucked toward your chest. Stay here for a few breaths. Hold 5–10 deep breaths.
5. Seated Spinal Twist
Twists are all about bring energy and oxygen to your body. While you twist your spine becomes more supple, which improves the flow of blood to the spinal nerves and increases energy levels.
Come to a seated position, extend your legs out in front of you. Bend your right knee and place your right foot on the ground outside of your left thigh. Turn your torso to the right and take your right hand to the ground behind your sacrum. Wrap your left arm around your right leg. Inhale deeply to lengthen your spine. Use your arm to press into your thigh and your thigh to press into your arm and twist on your exhale. Keep this breathing pattern for at least three deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Come to sit sideways on the chair, facing to the left. Twist your torso toward the left, holding onto the back of the chair, for a spinal twist. Lengthen your spine on each inhale and twist on each exhale for five breaths. Move your legs around to the right side of the chair and repeat the twist to the right side.
Which poses do you practice to increase energy? Share below!