Feeling groggy this morning?
You don’t have to wait for the coffee to kick in to pep up. Sarah Levey, founder and CEO of Y7 Studio, shares simple yoga poses that can give you a much-needed energy boost in minutes.
Run through the sequence first thing in the morning or try it during that afternoon slump for a quick pick-me-up.
Standing mountain pose
“This move is a great place to start your day or practice, this pose seems simple, but it really forces us to focus on how we stand — our weight being evenly distributed between each of our feet, promoting balance within the body; good for posture,” said Levey.
How to: Stand with your feet hips-distance apart. Make sure the knees track over the ankles. Tuck your pelvis under to engage the core. Lift your chest out and squeeze the shoulder blades together. Make sure your ears are tracking over your shoulders and your head is in alignment with your spine. Hold for a few breaths.
Muscles being worked: This pose focuses on how we stand, posture, balance and weight distribution.
Modifications: No modifications needed here since this is just standing!
“This move increases the mobility of the neck, shoulders and spine,” said Levey.
How to: Stand tall with your feet hips-distance apart. With a slight bend in the knees, hinge forward and gently rest your hands on your knees. Start with a neutral spine. Inhale and arch your back looking up to the sky. Hold for a few seconds. Then exhale as you round your back, pull your belly button in toward your spine and look toward the ground. Hold for a few seconds. Continue alternating.
Muscles being worked: This stretches the muscles of the abdomen, chest and back.
Modifications: This pose can also be done seated or on hands and knees.
Standing Back Bend
“This move challenges balance and is a great counter pose for those of us who do a lot of sitting throughout the day,” said Levey.
How to: Stand tall with your feet hips-distance apart. Place both palms on your low back right above your butt. Keep the elbows tracking toward the back of the room, squeezing the shoulder blades together. Press your hips forward and arch your back. Look up toward the sky. Hold for 10 seconds.
Muscles being worked: This pose strengthens your back, shoulders, hips and chest.
Modifications: Don’t bend as far backward.
Levey said this move is a full-body workout, waking up every single muscle.
How to: Start in a standing position. Bend your knees and hinge forward at the hips, sitting your butt back until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Raise your arms straight up by your ears, framing your head. Your arms and torso should be in a straight line from your hips to your fingertips and your knees should not go past your toes. Hold this position for 10 seconds, pulling your belly button in toward your spine.
Muscles being worked: “The glutes, hamstrings and quads are working to support the upper body, while the back and chest are working to support the lifted arms,” said Levey. “Shoulders are working here as well.”
Modifications: Don’t sit as deep and spread the feet hip-distance to create a wider base.
Twisted chair pose
This variation on chair pose is another full-body exercise that will wake up the entire body.
How to: Start in a standing position. Bend your knees and hinge at the hips, like you are sitting back into a chair, until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Bring your hands to prayer position in front of your chest. Then, gently twist your torso to the left, hooking your right elbow on your left knee; look up toward the sky. Hold this position for 10 seconds, pulling your belly button in toward your spine. Then release, and twist to the right.
Muscle being worked: This stretches the chest, shoulders and upper back, in addition to strengthening the glutes and the thighs.
Modifications: Don’t hook the elbow on the knee.
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