We all know that life is unbelievably busy. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, it’s no wonder that so many of us feel drained as we go through our day. But here’s a secret: instead of plopping down in front of the television or computer screen each night, you actually can revitalize yourself and find new energy to carry with you from day to day. How do you do it? Vinyasa yoga.
What is Vinyasa Yoga?
Vinyasa is translated as “arranging things in a specific way.” In vinyasa yoga, you move through a series of poses, coordinating your movement with your breath. As you move, your body synchronizes with your breath, which helps to calm your mind and recenter you throughout your practice.
Vinyasa yoga is a great way to boost vitality and energy in your daily routine. Give these poses a try for maximum vitality:
This is a wonderful pose to begin your vinyasa yoga practice. It stretches the back and opens the chest for better breathing. Lay face down on your mat with your legs extended behind you. Place your forearms flat against the ground and push against the earth, raising your upper body to the ceiling. Keep your shoulders back and your neck and head straight forward and hold the pose.
Begin by laying on your mat face down with your palms pressed to the earth near your shoulders. Slowly push up, extending the arms and bringing your upper body towards the ceiling. Keep your shoulders down so that your chest and heart open up, and breathe deeply into the stretch.
The plank is a great pose for calming your mind (which can make you feel more energized) and for working your core muscles (which actually burns calories, providing energy to your body). Start laying face down on the mat with your hands at your shoulders. Curl your toes under you and push with your arms until you are in a “pushup position.” Take deep breaths and hold this pose as long as you need to.
Downward Facing Dog
This is one of the most common vinyasa yoga poses you’ll see in a studio class. It is a simple pose, yet incredibly effective in strengthening your body and renewing your energy source. From your hands and knees (or from a cobra pose), push your hands into the mat and lift your hips towards the corner of the ceiling. Straighten your legs so that you make a “V” shape with your body. As always, don’t forget to breathe!
Extended Triangle Pose
Vinyasa is all about moving in synchronicity with your breath. From a pose like downward facing do, you can easily move into a vinyasa yoga pose like this one. As you inhale, bring one leg forward so you make a triangle with your legs and the floor. Lift one arm over your head while the other stays on the floor and hold the pose. Later, switch sides and repeat.
Warrior II Pose
Warrior II is a vinyasa yoga pose that is all about strength and energy. Stand in a deep forward lunge with your hands stretched out to your sides (parallel with the ground). As you hold the pose and breathe, be sure to push your energy through your body - all the way to the ends of your fingertips. This pose is a great opportunity to realign your posture and get a big, delicious stretch.
From the Warrior II pose, simply tilt backwards and bring one arm to the sky. You other arm can rest against your calf as you breathe into the stretch and focus on bringing energy into that arch of your back. Later, make sure to switch feet and repeat both Warrior II and the Reverse Warrior--remember, it’s important to stretch out both sides of the body!
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
This pose is great for stretching your waist and abdomen area. It also helps to ease digestion and help bring strength and energy to your spine. Begin by sitting on your mat with your legs extended in front of you. Cross your right leg over your left with the knee pointing upward. Then, take your left elbow and cross it over your bent leg, twisting your torso as you do. Hold this pose for a few deep breaths before switching sides.
The chair may seem like one of vinyasa yoga’s simplest poses. However, this pose improves strength in your legs, core, and arms, making it one of the more effective poses in vinyasa yoga. Begin standing tall at the edge of your mat, and squat halfway down as though you are sitting in an invisible chair. Meanwhile, extend your arms directly over your head and stretch them. Breathe while you hold the pose, then stand up and repeat as many times as you’d like.
Here is a pose for the advanced yogi. It may be challenging, but once you’ve mastered it the crane pose can be hugely energizing. It’s best to begin in a forward fold position. Plant your hands firmly on the ground and bend your knees (almost in a frog-like position). Then, carefully tilt your weight forward on your hands, lift your feet, and tuck your knees into your armpits. Balance there as long as you can--breathing all the time, of course.
What are your favorite Vinyasa yoga poses?