Energizing Yoga Poses

Traditional physical and mental disciplines that originated in India are referred to as yoga. It is usually associated with meditative practices. As per Hindu philosophy, the main branches of yoga include raja yoga, hatha yoga, karma yoga, jnana yoga and bhakti yoga. In Sanskrit, the word yoga means to control. Nowadays, the term yoga is used to refer to hatha yoga and the different exercises or asanas connected with it. This type of yoga purifies the physical body thus leading to the purification of the mind. The hatha yoga asanas are all full body exercises. These asanas help to energise the body, the mind and the spirit.

Among the first of the energizing yoga poses is the standing side stretch. One has to begin by standing in tadasana, which is the basic standing posture with the feet together and the hands at the side. This is to be followed by inhaling and reaching your arms to the sky. The shoulder blades need to be released down the back. While exhaling, the torso should be tilted on one side. After inhaling again, one should turn to the other side.

Next comes the virabhadrasana or warrior pose. This helps to strengthen the thighs, arms and shoulders. The strong and graceful pose of trikonasana helps to make one long and lean. The parsvakonasana strengthens the obliques and thighs. The ustrasana or camel pose stretches the abdomen and improves one's posture. Parsvottanasana helps to reduce menstrual pain and improves digestion. The simple breathing exercises of pranayama helps in reducing stress. When one is feeling totally drained out, practicing these yoga poses helps in boosting one's energy in no time.

Individuals of any age can do yoga. There are various modifications of the different yogic poses to suit everybody. One can start by going to a yoga class or looking for a good yoga teacher. A yoga mat and comfortable clothing are necessary while doing yoga. One needs to practice slowly and carefully. The postures must be adjusted for maximum relaxation and pain-free benefits. Remember to breathe normally while in the postures. The diaphragm should be allowed to open and expand between postures.

The energizing, strengthening, stretching and balancing effects of yoga are calming and relaxing. Yoga practice increases flexibility and range of movement, improves posture and regularises and deepens breathing. Practicing yoga for just two to three times a week can lead to immense benefits and changes. Among the physical benefits are creating a toned, flexible, and strong body; improving breathing, energy, and vitality; helping to maintain a balanced metabolism; promoting cardio and circulatory health; relieving pain; helping to look and feel younger; and improving athletic performance.

The mental benefits are equally large. Yoga helps to relax and handle stressful situations more easily. It teaches how to quiet the mind so that one can focus the energy where it is most needed. Self-acceptance and positive thoughts are encouraged. Among the spiritual benefits are building awareness of one's body, feelings, the world around and the needs of others; promoting interdependence between mind, body, and spirit; and helping to live the concept of "oneness."