10 Yoga Poses for Instant Energy
Feel the Power of Warrior Pose
Yoga gives you the energy buzz and stress relief of exercise in simple moves like the warrior pose. Yoga may even help you conquer your homework -- because it makes it easier to focus your thoughts.
To warrior: Step one foot forward and bend your front knee. Turn your back foot to a 90-degree angle. Stretch your arms in front and behind you, palms down, and face forward.
Reach High in Triangle Pose
Straighten your front leg and bend at the hip, resting your hand on your shin. Now reach your other arm high to the sky ... and gently turn your head to gaze at it. You'll feel a stretch in your legs and hips. Repeat triangle pose on the other side to stretch your other leg.
Move carefully when you begin a new exercise. Yoga shouldn’t hurt. Yoga can help you get in the 60 minutes of movement a day that it takes to be fit.
Find Your Balance in Tree Pose
Yoga keeps you grounded: happy, calm, and confident. And tree pose is one sweet move to help you de-stress and develop balance -- mental and physical.
Start with your feet together, rooted to the ground, and slowly raise one foot. Rest it on your calf or thigh. Your hands go from prayer position, straight up, above your shoulders. Trees sway and so will you -- but you'll get stronger with practice. Repeat on the other leg.
Stand Tall in Mountain Pose
Do you hunch up your shoulders all day long at school? Yoga makes you aware of bad posture and helps you release stress and tension. Start mountain pose by dropping your shoulders down and back, arms at your sides -- and relax! Now press your hands together as if praying. Stretch your hands to the sky, slightly arch your back, and look upward.
Practice this pose anytime just by standing tall with a straight back and taking a deep breath.
Get Relief With Cat Pose
If your back is achy from a heavy backpack or hunching over a screen, arching like a cat can make you feel better. Lower your knees to the floor so you’re on all fours with a flat back. Take a deep breath in, then breathe out to release stress and curl your back up high. You'll look like a hissing cat, except your head will hang down. Repeat several times.
Stretch Yourself With Downward Dog
Downward dog will stretch your legs, tone your arms, and make you more flexible. Start on your hands and knees (like you started cat pose). Move your hands slightly forward with your fingers spread apart.
Curl your toes and lift your knees off the floor to create an upside-down "V." Your feet should be hip-distance apart, knees slightly bent. Using a yoga mat will help you feel more stable.
Work Your Core With Plank Pose
Plank pose tones your abs. Move into a push-up position, with your hands shoulder-width apart and your legs straight. Don't let your tummy sag down. Keep your abs, butt, and thigh muscles tight as you hold this pose for about 30 seconds. It's harder than it looks!
Line it up: Your body will look straight as a board when you get this position right.
Breathe Deep With Cobra
Yoga stretches muscles that you don’t normally think about. The cobra pose opens your chest to let your lungs take in more air. Deep breathing can help you relax. To Cobra: Lie face down, legs straight, with the tops of your feet on the floor. Lift your chest, keeping your hands under your shoulders and your shoulders relaxed down (not scrunched up by your ears). Straighten your arms, if you can do it easily, but always keep your hips on the floor.
Toning Bonus: Stronger abs and spine.
Calm Your Nerves With Seated Twist
Sit on the floor -- both legs straight out in front. Cross your right leg over your left thigh, so your foot touches the floor. Slowly bend the other leg so that this foot nearly touches your butt. Put your right hand on the floor behind you and your left elbow on your right knee. Feel like a pretzel yet? Sit up tall, breathe out, and twist your body and head gently to the right. Repeat on the other side.
Desk Yoga? You can do a simple twist in your desk at school. Gently turn your upper body to face backward. Hold your chair for support.
Relax Into Child’s Pose
Whenever you want to feel calm and relaxed, try slipping into child's pose. Kneel with your toes flat on the floor and sit back on your heels. Move your knees about hip distance apart. Lay your upper body forward with your arms stretching out. Rest your forehead on the floor and breathe deeply.
Yoga Teaches You to Breathe
Breathing just comes naturally, right? Yoga breathing takes you deeper and can give you a calm energy.
Try the conqueror breath, which sounds like ocean waves. To prepare, sit tall and inhale until your body fills with air -- belly first, then chest. Breathe out slowly and fully. Now inhale through your nose, then let the air out through your mouth, making a "ha" sound. Can you make the sound even when you close your mouth and breathe out through your nose?
Yoga Before a Test
A few quick yoga moves might help you relax and focus at test time. And no one needs to know! Just raise your shoulders and circle them backward -- a shoulder roll. Switch and do it forward. Gently bend your head toward one shoulder, then the other to stretch your neck.
Fold for Focus: In your chair, fold forward with your head and arms hanging loose. You can pretend you dropped a pencil. Take a few deep breaths.
Namaste: Yoga Lifts Your Mood
Yoga classes always end with the hands in prayer position and the word, "namaste" (na-ma-stay). This suggests that you feel grateful for your life and your world. The mental part of yoga calms your thoughts, while the poses strengthen your body. Try this whole yoga routine or sneak in a move or two any time you’re feeling stressed and need to relax and re-energize naturally. Namaste!
Looking for more ways to move? Find the right moves for your personality.