{hinduloka} $title={Table of Content} Short Yoga to Boost Energy

The purpose of this short yoga practice is to develop, manage and increase your energy. This makes it qualitatively different from, say, a cup of coffee. Caffeine may help you feel energized in the morning, but it's usually accompanied by a drop in energy after it's gone. So you need another repair in the afternoon to avoid a slump in the afternoon. 

Often a few quick turns of Surya Namaskara in the morning have the same effect. It may give you a surge of energy, but then it quickly dissipates. But if you do the same few Surya Namaskaras  while deepening your breath and following it with pranayama techniques , you have a much better chance of making a lasting impact on your energy. Breathing is very important for energy management.

This exercise is designed to give you an energetic boost if you feel drained, tired, or exhausted. You can do it in the morning or any time of the day; However, please don't do it too close to bedtime. The entire practice is focused on expanding and deepening your inhalations, which creates a sense of spaciousness and helps build your energy.


Short yoga for energy management

When we design a short yoga practice to regulate our energy, breathing needs to be the focus of the practice. Breath is the most direct pathway we have to influence our physiological processes. That is why at the center of every short yoga practice of energy management is the technique of Pranayama . However, Pranayama techniques don't just appear in the middle of your practice – you need to plan ahead, and prepare your breath and body for a deep Pranayama practice

Here is a simple template for creating short targeted yoga exercises for energy management. Let's use it to create an exercise to build your energy in the morning if you wake up feeling dizzy and unfocused.

Yoga Exercises 1

Yoga Exercises 2

Step 1: Decide which Pranayama technique you want to build your practice on. (We'll be using an Inhale (segmented inhalation) which is very effective for building energy.)

Step 2: Reflect on what kind of body and breath preparation is required for this technique. What are the main features of this technique? In this case, emphasize inhalation. That's why we're going to prepare for it by focusing on deepening the inhalation during practice and increasing awareness of rib expansion during inhalation. 

We will use backbends and/or lateral bends to support the idea of ​​expansion upon inhalation and to enhance the energy effect.

Step 3: Choose two core poses that will support the main features of your chosen breathing technique. Keep the pose simple. 

Here we will use dog poses kneeling facing up (a back bend) and Gate kneeling (a lateral bend.)

Step 4: Choose two compensatory poses for your core pose that can also be used to support the main features of your breathing technique. 

Here we will use Vajrasana and Balasana to balance out the core pose and also to expand the sides of the rib cage (Vajrasana) and upper back (Balasana).


Step 5: Choose a preparatory pose to warm up gently. 

Here we will use Cat-Cow pose and its lateral adaptations.

Step 6. Decide where you want to start and end your practice. In general, for breath-centered exercises, it is best to start and end in a comfortable sitting position (on the floor, bolster, blanket, or chair) to establish contact with your breath at the beginning, and then observe the effects of the exercise. eventually. If you choose another starting and/or ending position, you must have a good reason for it.


Step 7: Decide where you will add your breath theme (from Step 2). It is usually best to introduce the theme at the beginning in a comfortable sitting position, then splash it during practice in various poses, and then repeat it again right before you do  your Pranayama

However, try NOT to manipulate your breath in every pose, especially if you're doing something more difficult – your breath needs time to recover. 

Here we will sprinkle the breath theme throughout the practice of alternating deepening of inhalation with awareness of ribcage expansion. Since ribcage expansion is more of a mindfulness exercise, it will not overload the breath.

The exercise summary above will look like this:


Each element you choose should support the dominant theme, which is your Pranayama technique. If you are short on time, you can do one core pose and one compensatory pose instead of two. Make sure that breath awareness needs to be present in everything you do. 


Breath Control Techniques In Yoga - Pranayama

In yoga, the term Pranayama is often defined as the practice of breathing, but this is the tool, not the goal. Pranayama means "expansion of the life force," and it is meant to connect you with the essence of your own personal power and help you develop it. A great yoga teacher Swami Vivekanananda explains how your own life force flows from the Supreme Source of all energy:

“In the ocean there are great waves, like mountains, then smaller waves, and still smaller ones, to small bubbles; but behind all this is a boundless ocean. The ocean is connected with bubbles at one end, and with great waves at the other. One person may be a giant wave, and the other a small bubble, but each is connected to the boundless ocean of energy that is the common birthright of every living being. Wherever there is life, an infinite storehouse of energy is behind it.” 

So if you feel drained, disconnected or tired, through Pranayama you can recharge your resources and reconnect to that main source of energy.

While this goal may sound appealing, the process of achieving it may seem tedious. The ancients believed that between the ages of about 20 and around 60 most of us are in the "household" stage of life, which means that we are busy with our families, careers and responsibilities. 

To handle this heavy load gracefully and resiliently and without compromising our health, we need to learn how to regulate our energy through the practice of yoga. 

That is why Pranayama with its expansion of life force is very important for all of us. And when it comes to Pranayama , again, consistency is more important than length of practice. 

In general, it is sufficient to perform at least 12 breaths of a certain Pranayama technique for it to have an effect. Here is a complete list of Pranayama techniques that you can use to start cultivating, controlling and guiding your Prana .


Breath Awareness

Breath awareness means paying attention to each individual breath without trying to change anything. You can see the flow of breath, the expansion of the lungs, the movement of the ribs and abdomen, the sensations in the nose or throat, the movement of the diaphragm, etc.

Example: 

Observing the breath without interruption, noticing whether you are breathing through your nose or mouth, which part of the breath is longer, how the breath feels inside the body, etc.


Regulating the Breath to Different Parts of the Body

We cannot literally direct the breath to different parts of the body; instead, we move our consciousness as if we were breathing into a specific area of ​​the body. We cannot control the work of the lungs, because the lungs do not have muscle tissue, but we can control the movement of the respiratory muscles.

Example:  

Breathe into your upper back” means “Intentionally widening your upper back as you inhale.


Respiratory Flow Control

We can deliberately control the respiratory muscles to bring a sense of direction to the flow of breath. For example, we can choose to puff out the stomach first and then inhale the chest, or we can choose to puff out the chest first and then the stomach.

Example :

  1. Chest breathing: Deliberately widening the ribs when inhaling for an energizing, uplifting effect.
  2. Abdominal breathing: Deliberately expanding the stomach as you inhale for a grounding effect.
  3. Chest-to-belly breathing: Extend your chest then your stomach as you inhale for a more balanced effect.

Breath "radiating": Extends outward from the solar plexus on inhaling and constricts the solar plexus area on exhalation to create a sense of expansion from the center.


Increase Breathing Capacity

We can gradually deepen our inhalation and lengthen our exhalation. It helps increase the tonicity of the diaphragm, maintains elasticity of the lungs and lung compliance, maintains the mobility of the ribs and the strength of the respiratory muscles which decreases with age.

Example :

We can work towards breathing at a rate of about 6 seconds inhaling and exhaling 6 seconds first and then extending the breath from there.


Working With Breathing Ratio

The breathing ratio reflects the relative relationship between the four parts of the breath: Inhalation: Retention: Exhalation: Suspension. We can gradually lengthen one or more parts of the breath to increase our breathing capacity and achieve the effect of Brahmana (stimulating), Langhana (releasing) or Samana (equating).

Example :

The ratio of 8:4:8:4 means “Inhale for 8 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, exhale for 8 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds.

  • Inhalation + Retention is longer than Exhalation + Suspension = the ratio is likely to have a Brahmana effect.
  • Inhalation + Retention is shorter than Exhalation + Suspension = ratio is likely to have a Langhana effect.
  • Inhalation + Retention is the same length as Exhalation + Suspension = ratio of likelihood of having a Samana effect.


Integrated Breathing

Integrated breathing involves breaking the inhalation or exhalation into two or three parts for the purpose of prolonging the breath. This technique has a very prominent energy effect.

Example:

  1. Inhale Integration: Inhale 3 parts with a pause in between, exhale long and flowing (Brahmana effect).
  2. Exhale Integration: Exhale 3 parts with a pause in between, inhale long and flow (Langhana effect).


Nasal breathing

Nostril breathing means breathing through one nostril or the other depending on the effect you are pursuing. 
Breathing through the right nostril will have a warming quality, breathing through the left nostril will have a cooling quality; Breathing through the nostrils will soothe the corresponding passages. We can do this in a variety of patterns.

Example:
  1. Suryabhedana: Inhale through the right nostril, exhale through the left nostril (Heating effect).
  2. Chandrabhedana: Inhale through the left nostril, exhale through the right nostril (Cooling effect).
  3. Nadi Shodhana: Inhale through the left nostril, exhale through the right nostril; Inhale through the right nostril, exhale through the left nostril (Balancing, focus effect).
  4. Viloma Ujjayi: Inhale through alternate nostrils, exhale using Ujjayi's breath (Brahmana effect).
  5. Anuloma Ujjayi : Inhale using Ujjayi'sbreath, exhale through the nostrils alternately (Langhana effect).
  6. Pratiloma Ujjayi: Inhale using Ujjayi's breath, exhale through the left nostril; Inhale through the left nostril, exhale using Ujjayi's breath. Inhale using Ujjayi's breath, exhale through the right nostril; Inhale through right nostril, exhale using Ujjayi's breath (Balancing, focusing effect).

Closed breathing

Valve breathing means breathing through the valves we form in the throat (Ujjayi breath) or mouth (Shitali, Sitkari). It adds a vibratory quality to the breath (Ujjayi) and can be used to heat or cool the system, as well as prolong the breath.

Example:
  1. Ujjayi: Slightly constricts the throat opening to create some resistance to airflow. Breathe in and out through the nose with this slight restriction in the throat. Aim for a soft, soothing sound (useful for prolonging the breath and calming the system).
  2. Shitali: Start with your chin down, tongue arched and fully extended. As you inhale, inhale the air, lifting your chin to above level. First fold the tongue back and drop the chin, then exhale through the nostrils alternately (Soothing, cooling effect).
  3. Sitkari: Start with your chin down, tip of your tongue behind your front teeth. As you inhale, draw in the air between your tongue and the palate. Drop the head, fold the tongue back, then exhale through the nostrils alternately (cooling effect, relaxation).

Vocal Breathing

Vocal breathing creates sounds and vibrations. Humming has been shown to increase nitric oxide production in the nose, reduce chronic inflammation and sinus infections and lead to parasympathetic (rest and digestion) dominance. Working with sound affects the system vigorously. We can change the volume and pitch of the voice to produce a more calming or more stimulating effect.

Example:

Bhramari (Bee breath): Inhale smoothly, on exhaling make a low or medium humming sound as long as it is comfortable. (Calming, focusing effect, helps process mental chatter. You can use a higher pitch or increase the volume for a more stimulating effect. This works well for switching from loud to quiet, or from high to low notes for a more grounding effect. many.

Refining Technique

Breathing exercises like Kapalbhati and Bhastrika involve fast and strong breathing, therefore they are considered a cleansing practice rather than pranayama. Both techniques are facilitated by repeated lower abdominal contractions and are usually performed in a sitting position.

Example:
  1. Kapalbhati (Skull shines): Inhale quickly, relax the stomach; As you exhale quickly and forcefully contract your stomach, forcing air out through both nostrils.
  2. Bhastrika (Bellow Breath): Inhale quickly through the left nostril, while exhaling tighten the stomach and force the air out through the left nostril. Continue, alternating sides.

Both exercises have a warming effect, they can help increase control over your abdominal muscles, clear your sinuses, potentially increase your metabolic rate and to facilitate certain mental states.

When we start working with the breath, it is easy to get lost in the sea of ​​possibilities. There are so many different buffet techniques, that it might be tempting to try a little of everything. And there is some value in experimentation, but the main point in working with the breath is consistency. 
So it is best to start with the basics and understand them first. Then you can choose a ratio or technique that can be useful for your current situation and/or condition and stick with it for a while. Work with it for some time and make sure that the rest of your yoga practice supports it.