|Yoga for Daily Energy|
|Written by Zara Durrani|
Even if I don't have time for a full hour-long yoga practice, it's nice to get my energy flowing before I start my day. Here are some of my favourite yoga poses. Try to hold each pose for 30 to 45 seconds, and remember to breathe!
Intention: Before starting the practice, I like to take a minute to set an intention for my practice, or simply check in to see how I'm feeling. If you are not used to meditating, just focus on your breath by bringing your attention to the inhale and exhale and feeling your belly move as you breathe.
Cobra: Cobra pose is great to help open up the chest and a great back bend. You want to move slowly into this pose. If cobra is uncomfortable for you, try doing sphinx pose. While lying down, place your hands beneath your shoulders, legs are together as you inhale slowly coming up. If you like, bring a soft smile to your face and remember to breathe.
Crescent Lunge: Start in a lunge position or you can flow into this from downward dog. If you want to challenge yourself, keep your back leg straight. Make sure to keep your hips square, and as you inhale, proudly lift your arms up towards the sky or you can also keep them on your hips.
Warrior 2: From lunge, you can move into the strong Warrior 2 to help open up your hips and strengthen your quads. Turn your right foot in slightly to the right and your left foot out to the left 90 degrees. As you exhale, bend your front thigh over the ankle of your front foot. Keep pressing your left foot into the ground to help anchor you. Now lift your arms up like arrows with your torso in the middle, make sure it's not moving forward as you gaze over your right hand.
Dancer's Pose: Start in mountain pose, standing with feet hip-width apart. Shift your weight to your left leg; bend your right knee and hold your right foot from the inside with your right hand. Lift your left hand towards the sky. Breathe. If you like, you can stay right here. Otherwise, take a deep breath, lengthen the left arm and torso up and forward while the right leg lengthens back and up. See if you can allow your torso to become parallel to the floor as you keep kicking your back leg. This is a very active pose, and requires tremendous concentration. I always remind myself to breathe and smile. This is a fantastic pose to help stretch the shoulders, chest, thighs and abdomen. Needless to say, it is a great posture to help improve your balance and concentration.
Tree Pose: Stand with feet hip-width apart, then shift your weight to your left leg as you bend your right knee. Reach down with your right hand and clasp your right ankle. You can place your foot up against either the ankle, knee or inner thigh of your standing leg. If you feel like challenging yourself and your foot is not slipping, take your right foot and place it on the outside of your left leg. You can hold it with your right hand, or bring both hands in prayer position.
Bow Pose: Bow pose is an amazing backbend. We spend all day bending forward, that's why I enjoy doing backbends a lot. Bow pose helps stretch the entire front of the body and strengthens back muscles. While lying on your belly, bend your knees and hold your feet in the middle. As you inhale, lift your heels up and away from the body and make sure to keep your shoulder blades down.
Full Wheel Pose: Begin by lying on the ground with the soles of your feet on the floor, close to your sitting bones. Place your hands on the floor just above your shoulders with fingers spread wide, finger tips pointing towards your shoulders. Take your time as you press your feet into the ground and press your palms down as you slowly lift your torso up evenly. To come out of this pose, bend your elbows, tuck your chin in and slowly lower down.
Half Twist: Sit on the ground with both knees bent and heels pointing outward. Shift your weight to the left and take your right leg over the left knee. Keep the spine erect. Now bring the left arm down on the outside of the right knee and place your right hand on the floor behind you, close to your spine. As you exhale, twist to the right and look over the right shoulder. This is a great posture to help increase flexibility in your spine and also helps detoxify liver and kidneys, and stimulate digestive fire.