5 Yoga Poses For Energy That'll Wake You Up When The Afternoon Haze Kicks In
Even on the most productive of days, that dreaded afternoon slump spares no one. It doesn't care who you are; even if you spent all morning getting sh*t done left and right, by the time 2:30 p.m. rolls around, not even a shot of espresso can save your tired *ss. And even if it can, the inevitable caffeine crash will just drag you right back down. Ditch the caffeine and instead, try flowing through these yoga poses for energy to wake you the f*ck up in the midst of your afternoon haze.
The afternoon slump is one of those things that just about everyone can relate to, regardless of how productive (or not) you actually are when it comes to gettin' sh*t done at work or school. And, according to the National Sleep Foundation, we kind of can't really help but feel it. Sitting still for hours can apparently trick you into feeling like it's bedtime, because your body basically the lack of movement with sleep.
To top it off, your core body temperature naturally drops between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., which subsequently causes a release of a healthy dose of melatonin (aka your sleep-inducing hormone). This is all totally normal, but nonetheless annoying as all hell.
As tempted as you may be to hit up Starbucks for an afternoon pick-me-up, an energizing yoga flow is a healthier, and definitely more effective alternative for solving your sleepy struggles.
Try any one of these five yoga poses the next time you're in the mood for a midday snooze. Keep in mind, you should definitely flow through these movements in the order they're listed to make sure your spine is totally warmed up and to prevent any unnecessary injuries.
1. Cat-Cow Pose (Marjariasana-Bitilisana)
Cat-cow pose is a gentle way to warm up the body and provoke the flow of energy from your head to your toes. It's also great for getting rid of any lingering, tense knots in your lower back.
Link each movement with your inhales and exhales, using your breath to bring "prana," or "life force" into your entire body.
2. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Transition onto your belly for a heart-opening cobra pose. This asana helps relive fatigue and stress, which is just what you need to combat that surge of melatonin creeping in around 3 p.m.
Remember never to force anything when it comes to backbends. Listen to your body, and if you feel any straining sensation, pause and breathe.
You can modify this pose by keeping your elbows bent and staying low to the ground. You'll get all the same benefits as straightening your arms, and the gentle extension will feel incredible.
3. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Bridge pose is energizing and rejuvenating AF, not to mention it sculpts your glute muscles, aka your booty.
Feel free to roll your shoulders underneath you in this asana to support your upper back. As always, remember to maintain even breathing as you move.
Once you're settled into this pose, stay there for about 30 seconds to a minute, releasing slowly back to the ground with a satisfying exhale.
4. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Camel pose is a deeper backbend, so make sure to slowly ease your way into this energizing asana, especially if you're new to it.
Begin with your toes tucked so that your heels are closer to your hands, making it easier for you to reach for them. If this still feels uncomfortable, use a chair or a wall for modification.
Wherever you are in this pose, breathe deeply and fully, allowing the heart-opening magic of this movement to wash away your fatigue and awaken your body.
5. Upward Bow Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)
Upward bow or wheel pose is what I like to call the ultimate yogic energy boost. This strengthening and lengthening asana is the ultimate replacement to your usual afternoon shot of espresso.
To make sure your thighs are in proper form, pretend like you're squeezing an imaginary block between your legs. This will also help to prevent lower back compression.
Once you've found your way into this asana, savor the openness of your chest and the amazing shift of perspective, both physically and mentally.