By Kimaya Singh
It is well-known by now that people who lead an active lifestyle report having more energy than their inactive counterparts. This improved energy can be attributed to a number of causes, all related. First, exercise improves all-over health, which contributes to energy. Second, exercising at moderate to high intensities over an extended period of time releases endorphins, which make people feel more energetic. Third, exercise helps activate a mind-body experience, which enables people to fight the energy-drainers: stress and anxiety.
Reasons that people report feeling tired range from physical causes to mental or emotional causes. Fatigue is common when people physically can’t get enough rest, suffer from an illness or have been working too hard. People also report feeling tired, when they are stressed or anxious and when they are dealing with interpersonal conflicts. As a result, fatigue is linked to mental health issues like depression and insomnia in addition to physical health issues like chronic diseases.
As mentioned above, exercising for energy can address physical as well as emotional factors surrounding fatigue and lack of energy. The practice of yoga takes exercise one step further in encouraging more complete awareness of the mind-body connection, which in turn boosts energy and fights fatigue.
Yoga for Energy
In yoga, the combination of physical activity and calm breathing exercises facilitates a mind-body connection as practitioners hold poses and concentrate on breathing through to various parts of the body. Each pose is an opportunity to challenge the body while gaining control over emotions and stressors through calm, unhurried breathing techniques.
The physical benefits derived from these two yoga characteristics alone are enough to energize practitioners, but many schools of yoga also utilize meditative practices to help practitioners gain access to life energies known as prana and energy channels called nadis. In these schools of yoga, the meditative practices are integrated with physical poses and breathing techniques to elevate consciousness and increase awareness.
During yoga asana practice, both active and relaxed poses can increase energy. Relaxed poses like corpse represent an opportunity to explore the mind-body connection, a practice that releases tension and encourages feelings of well-being. Active poses like balance or inversions work muscles and elevate heart rate while allowing yoga practitioners the chance to focus on a single area of the body, like elongating the spine or opening up hips, for instance.
Due to the fact that yoga activates the body physically, while providing a space to improve the mind’s relationship to the body, practitioners walk away from a session feeling more energetic both physically and mentally.
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