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Afternoon Slump? Practice These Yoga Poses to Boost Your Energy

Christina D’Arrigo
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We all lead crazy busy lives nowadays, and energy can often be hard to come by. Many of us turn to coffee or energy drinks for an energy boost to get through the day, but did you know there’s a natural alternative? Yep, you guessed it… yoga!

Certain yoga poses can help you feel more awake and energized. These yoga poses require quite a bit of back bending, which increases flexibility in your spine, stretches your chest, and boosts your energy. The poses in this article are listed in order of intensity – from least intense to most intense.

Pro Tip Before We Start: I recommend you warm up your body before attempting these backbends. Move through a few Cat and Cow poses beforehand – it’s a great way to warm up the spine and prepare your body.

Attempting these poses, especially the deeper backbends, before a proper warm-up could cause injury and pain, so be sure to take care of yourself.

Practice These 11 Yoga Poses to Give You an Energy Boost

1. Easy Pose With an Arch (Sukhasana)

Adding an arch to your Easy Pose is a great way to bring some vital life energy into a seated posture. You can practice this variation after a morning meditation to lift your spirits and brighten your day.
Sukhasana with Arch
How to Practice Easy Pose With an Arch:

  • Sit up tall and distribute your weight evenly on both sits bones and the bottom of your pelvis
  • Cross your shins in front of your body and flex your feet under your knees to protect your joints
  • Place your fingertips on the ground behind you with your fingers and elbows facing away from your body
  • On an inhale, press into the ground with your fingertips and bring your back into an arch, looking up, and reaching the chest upwards
  • Hold for 3-5 breaths and bring your body back to sitting upright on an exhale


2. Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)

Although this is simple and does not require a backbend, this pose can be very uplifting and energizing. It helps you to combat stiffness, and is a great pose to do when you get out of bed in the morning.
Urdhva Hastasana
How to Practice Urdhva Hastasana:

  • Stand tall and evenly on both of your feet in Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
  • On an inhale, raise your arms up towards the ceiling, palms facing each other, and look up
  • Engage your arms and fingertips to bring energy up to your hands
  • Hold for 3-5 breaths and bring your hands back down by your sides on an exhale


3. Low Cobra (Ardha Bhujangasana)

This gentle backbend will not only give you energy, but it will also strengthen your back muscles. This is a great one to do as a part of your warm-up as well, since it’s not quite as deep of a backbend as some of the other poses.
low cobra
How to Practice Low Cobra:

  • Come onto your stomach, and place your forehead on the ground
  • Place your palms flat on the floor on either side of your ribs with your elbows pointed upwards
  • On an inhale, lift your head and shoulders up off the ground using the upper back muscles (keep very little weight in your hands)
  • Keep your hands light on the ground, and keep the tops of your feet down on the floor behind you
  • On your exhale, lower your head back down onto the floor and repeat 3-4 times


4. Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

This energizing pose will get you moving and bring a lot of warmth to your body. You can practice this pose if you are looking to strengthen your back, hamstrings, and glutes.
How to Practice Locust Pose:

  • Come onto your stomach and rest your forehead on the mat, and relax the arms down by your side with palms face-down by your hips
  • On an inhale, lift your head, arms, legs, and feet off the ground. Energetically reach your hands back towards your feet, and stretch your feet towards the back of the mat
  • You should feel the muscular work coming from your back, hamstrings, and glutes
  • Hold for several deep breaths, and release everything back down with an exhale
  • Repeat 3-4 times


5. Full Cobra (Bhujangasana)

This is a deeper variation of Low Cobra Pose. In addition to giving you that much-needed energy boost, this is also a great stretch for the front of the body.
Pro Tip: Be sure that you avoid locking your joints by having a slight “micro-bend” in your elbows, especially if you have a tendency to hyper-extend in that area.
Full Cobra
How to Practice Bhujangasana:

  • Set up for Low Cobra Pose
  • On an inhale, press into the ground with your hands, and lift your entire torso off the ground to come into a backbend
  • Continue to press into the ground with your hands, and use this energy to spread your shoulders away from each other
  • Look slightly up and forward
  • The tops of your legs are on the ground and energized with muscular activation
  • Hold for 3-5 deep breaths



6. Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Although this pose looks similar to Full Cobra Pose, they are two completely different poses. In this pose, your legs are lifted off the ground, and it requires a bit more strength and energy. This pose is often practiced as a part of the Sun Salutations.
Upward Facing Dog
How to Practice Urdhva Mukha Svanasana:

  • Come onto your stomach and place your palms flat on the floor on either side of your ribs, like you’re setting up for Full Cobra Pose
  • On an inhale, press into the ground with your hands and the tops of your feet, shifting your weight forward
  • As you continue to press the ground away from you energetically, engage the muscles in your legs to lift the your quads off the ground
  • Reach your chest forward, and bring your gaze forward and slightly up
  • Hold for 3-5 breaths
  • On an exhale, either press into the ground with your hands and feet and lift your hips up and back to come into Downward Facing Dog, or simply lower your body back down to the ground


7. Low Lunge with An Arch (Anjaneyasana)

This variation of Low Lunge is not only an excellent way to bring energy into the pose, but it is also a really great hip and quad stretch. Practice this variation to improve your mood and release tension from the hips.
Low Lunge with Arch
How to Practice Anjaneyasana with Arch:

  • From Downward Facing Dog, step your right foot between your hands and ensure your right ankle is directly under your right knee
  • Bring your left knee to the mat, and untuck your toes
  • Press into the ground with both legs, and engage your core as you lift your torso and reach your arms overhead
  • Clasp your hands together above your head, leaving your index finger and thumb out in Kali Mudra
  • Begin to bring your back into a backbend, looking upwards and reaching your chest towards the ceiling
  • Hold for 5-7 deep breaths on each side


8. Upward Salute With An Arch (Urdhva Hastasana)

This pose adds an extra bit of “umpf” to the Upward Salute mentioned earlier. Feel free to add this extra arch in for an energy boost after your body is warm and prepared to move.
Utthita Hastasana with arch
How to Practice Urdhva Hastasana with an Arch:

  • Find Urdhva Hastasana
  • Clasp your hands together above your head and find Kali Mudra
  • Add a backbend by reaching your hands up and back (imagine you’re reaching for where the wall meets the ceiling behind you)
  • Hold for 3-5 breaths
  • Engage your core to return your body to an upright position and, on an exhale, place your hands back down by your sides


9. Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

This supine backbend is great to improve flexibility in the upper spine and open the chest, shoulders, and throat. Practice this pose to energize the body and strengthen the upper back and neck muscles.
Fish Pose
How to Practice Matsyasana:

  • Lie flat on your back with your legs extended long, and place your hands under your glutes with the palms facing down
  • On an inhale, reach your chest up towards the ceiling and place the top of your head on the floor behind you
  • Press into the ground with your forearms and reach the heart center upwards
  • Hold for 3-5 breaths and, on an exhale, gently bring yourself down by placing your upper back and back of the head onto the ground


10. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

This deep backbend will stretch the entire front of your body and help to improve your posture. Similar to the other poses listed, this one will open your chest and shoulders, which is a great thing to do if you find yourself often hunching and rounding your shoulders forward.
How to Practice Dhanurasana:

  • Lie on your stomach, bend your knees to bring the heels in towards the glutes, and take hold of the pinky toe side of your ankles in your hands
  • On an inhale, lift your heels away from the glutes and raise your head, shoulders, and quads off the ground bringing your back into an arch
  • As you hold, lift the feet and head up higher towards the ceiling and press the abdominals down into the ground
  • Hold for 3-5 breaths, and on an exhale gently bring the body back down towards the ground


11. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Our final and most intense posture, you want to ensure that your body is fully warm and ready to move before attempting this pose. This pose is a great energy boost, improves spine flexibility, and can help you achieve even deeper backbends.
How to Practice Ustrasana:

  • Kneel with your knees hip-width distance on your mat, stacking your shoulders and hips directly over your knees
  • Tuck your toes behind you and carefully place your hands on the tops of your hips, fingers facing down (like you are about to put something into your back pockets
  • For a more intense variation, gently walk your hands down to grasp your heels behind you while still pushing your hips forward
  • Look up towards the ceiling and reach your chest forward
  • Hold for 3-5 breaths and engage your abdominal muscles to walk your hands up to your low back and bring your torso back into an upright position


Yoga is the Natural Energy Boost You’ve Been Looking For!

Next time you’re feeling drained or low on energy, give these 11 yoga poses a try! They are great to practice in the morning when you are getting ready for the day ahead. These poses will also help you to feel empowered, confident, and uplifted. What a great way to start your day and take on the world!
Who needs coffee when you have yoga in your life? So, if you’re looking to kick that caffeine habit once and for all, these poses are a great start!

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Christina D’Arrigo

Christina began her yoga journey in a Yoga For Dancers class back in 2008, and she is now an RYT 500 level yoga instructor in NYC. With almost a decade of yoga and over 25 years of dance experience, she knows a lot about the body and the way it moves. Christina runs the growing YouTube channel, ChriskaYoga, where she offers free yoga classes and tutorials.


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