Perhaps one of the most powerful ways yoga helps to improve motivation is by quieting the voice in your mind that says “it’s not possible”. Being dragged down by your own harmful words causes self doubt which can lead to taking no action whatsoever. Even in the act of attempting challenging poses, you will realize that if you pursue, you will succeed. Making yoga a daily part of your practice will promote that inner knowing in you so the negative voice doesn’t take control over you.
Yoga Poses for Energy
Tapping into your energy will allow you to accomplish much more every day without experiencing stress. Some days you may not have the energy you need to accomplish all your lofty goals. There are yoga poses you can do that will instantly give you that energy you require.
Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Giving your heart a break with inversion poses like Downward Dog will give you an immediate burst of energy.
- Start in table top position on your hands and knees.
- Your wrists should be under your shoulders with your knees right under your hips.
- Plant your hands firmly and tuck your toes under.
- Lift your knees off the floor as your exhale.
- Draw your sit bones back and send your pelvis to the sky.
- Leave a micro bend in your knees as you bring your body into an “A” shape.
- Press your index fingers into the floor and lift from your inner arm muscles from both shoudlers.
- Rotate your arms externally as you broaden your shoulders behind you.
- Lengthen through your spine and put your head between your upper arms without letting it dangle.
- Hold this pose for 30 seconds to a minute.
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
If you need an energy boost but do not want to get down on the ground, get upside-down, or try to find a place where you can do a flow, then Warrior II is your pose.
This pose strongly engages your leg and butt muscles, which are your largest muscles. This means that your heart is going to have to work slightly harder to pump extra blood to this area—and this increased heart rate will also increase your breathing rate.
All of this together means that you will be oxygenating and energizing your body in one fell swoop. Hold this pose on both sides for a few breaths and see how you feel.
- Stand with feet together at the front of your mat.
- Step your right foot far behind you.
- Lower the right heel to the floor with right toes pointing outward.
- Your knee should be over your ankle but not past it.
- Open your chest and raise your arms up in line with your shoulders.
- Reach both arms away from each other.
Poses that Promote Motivation
Some of these yoga poses aren’t for the faint of heart but maybe that’s the point. Motivation is something you have to check in on daily in order to hone the habit long term. You may initially struggle with some of these poses but when you do them regularly, you’ll begin to see the benefits both in your practice and in your life. Those who immerse themselves in something like yoga teacher training can attest to the mental and physical benefits of daily practice.
- Stand tall on your mat with legs apart just a little. Your hands should sit by your sides.
- Raise your hands above your head while gazing forward.
- Interlock your fingers and turn them so palms face the sky.
- Feel free to look up if it’s comfortable for you.
- Go onto your tippy toes.
- Stay in this position for a few breaths.
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Bow Pose, whether done with a dynamic rocking motion or in a static hold, brings energy to the Manipura (or Solar Plexus) chakra and intensifies the energies of willpower, determination and action within yourself. Similar to the other suggested yoga poses here, this posture will get your vital energy force moving, give you a feeling of momentum, and propel you through your day with vigor.
- Lie flat on your belly with your chin on the mat and arms by your sides.
- As you exhale, lift your legs with bent knees, bringing your heels as close to your buttocks as you can. Your knees should be hip-width distance.
- Reach your hands backwards and grab your ankles.
- Lift your heels towards the sky while bringing your thighs off the mat.
- Draw your tailbone down, lift your chest and press your shoulder blades together.
- Draw your shoulders away from your ears.
- Hold for up to 30 seconds.
If you don’t have the flexibility for this pose quite yet, you can do the Half Bow Pose. This entails doing the pose while doing just one side of your body at a time. So instead of grabbing both ankles with both arms, you would grab the left ankle with the left arm and perform the pose.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Camel Pose is a backbend. Backbends naturally push your energy upward and through the body. Camel Pose helps expand through your chest and heart center – something that we often close off from poor posture or extended hours spent sitting at a desk. This pose also stimulates your abdominal organs, helping you feel light, strong, and refreshed. You’ll emerge with a sense of renewal, feeling confident, motivated, and ready to face your day.
- You will start the pose kneeling upright, knees hip-width distance apart.
- Press your chins and the top of your feet into the floor.
- Rest hands on your lower back with your fingers pointing downwards.
- Lean back with your chin tucked slightly into your chest. You may want to remain here as a beginner if you’re already experiencing a good stretch.
- Reach back and hold your heels.
- Thighs should stay even to the floor with hips over the knees.
- Lift up through your pelvis.
- Hold this pose for 30 seconds to a minute.
These yoga postures create a fiery foundation within you that will increase your motivation and determination for whatever success you’re looking to achieve. As you persevere in your yoga practice, it can give you the confidence to put that motivation into all aspects of your life. These poses will help increase confidence, clarity, coping skills, problems solving and keeping calms through whatever challenges you face.
Which one is your favorite yoga pose? Let us know in the comments below or @thinkproductive
By Meera Watts
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International.