5 energizing yoga poses to boost your mood

With the fall kicking in with full force, I find that it can be difficult to maintain my energy level and a cheerful mood. It may, however, be enough to get onto the mat for 15-20 minutes each morning to boost our mood and refresh the body! Here are some of my favourite energizing yoga poses, feel free to do any variation of them while respecting the signals of your body.
Before you get into the first posture, it may feel nice to spend a few minutes grounding yourself. You may do this in a seated position or in child’s pose, or simply by lying down on your mat.

Observe your breathing and body sensations, and maybe ask yourself what your intention for your practice and for your day ahead is.

In between the poses, you may want to stretch, do a few cat-cow tilts or a traditional vinyasa sequence*, or simply rest – listen to your body and do what feels right in the moment.
energizing yoga pose

Goddess pose: Utkata Konasana

Stand with the feel about three feet apart and lower into a squat, pressing the knees back. Traditionally, you would stand with the soles of the feet flat on the ground, knees above ankles, toes out, heals in. Focus on your pelvic floor muscles and lift them up (moola bandha), and lift your lower abdomen in to engage your core strength (uddiyana bandha).
Feel free to try different arm variations, lean to the side or imagine that you are a tree dancing in the wind. Goddess pose, or fiery angle pose, lengthens the inner thighs, fires up the calves, quadriceps, glutes, and core. Hold the pose for 5-8 breaths and feel into its inherent feminine energy.

Eagle pose: Garudasana

Garudasana is an asymmetrical position in which one leg is crossed over the other, while the arm on the opposite side is crossed over the other arm, and the palms are pressed together. This balancing pose requires focus and the ability to soften into restrictions that we may be feeling.
It stretches and broadens the space between the shoulder blades and releases the upper back. It also stretches the hips, ankles and wrists. Eagle pose also softens the groins, supporting a free energy flow in the lower body.
wild thing yoga pose to energize your back

Energizing yoga pose: Wild Thing or Camatkarasana

This position requires a stable downward-facing dog and a sufficiently warm back: Wild Thing involves a backbend. From down-dog, lift one leg, bend it while opening up your hip, and slowly lower the leg on the opposite side while stabilizing through the hands and your other foot. When your foot reaches the ground, press and lift your hips up, extending the same-side arm. Enjoy the expansion of the ribcage and breathe into it.
As a preparatory pose, you may do side plank. For detailed instruction on this pose, follow this link.
Locust pose to strengthen the back

Locust pose or Shalabasana

This pose strengthens the back and requires the use of your core power. Lying on the ground, press your pubic bone down and lift your chest up, while rolling your shoulders and side ribs back. Keep your abdomen and buttocks engaged and feet pressing together while lifted. You will be resting on your lower ribs, belly, and front pelvis. You do not need to lift your gaze high, avoid crunching your neck.
If you have pain in your back or next, try these variations instead.
yoga inversion shoulderstand

A queen of energizing yoga poses: Shoulder stand or Salamba Sarvangasana

Inversions are generally great ways to boost our energy, mood and even brighten our mental attitude. Practice shoulder stand first with a qualified instructor to avoid injuries!
Lying on your back, lift your hips and support your back with your palms, staying in tuck position. Bring your shoulders and elbows inwards, lessening the weight on your neck. Once you have stabilized yourself, lift your legs up, firming up your things and reaching high through the soles of your feet. Stay for 5-8 breaths, possibly trying different leg variations..
Instead of the free-standing variation, you could also simply raise your legs up against a wall in a supine position and enjoy an enhanced circulation in the legs.

At times all we need is rest. Especially as we are heading into the cold and dark season, we may want to curl up and conserve our energy. To nourish yourself while aware of body sensations and calming the mind, join our delicious Yin Yoga and Deep Rest session on 31 October. Online and in-person participation possible.

Book your spot here
If you prefer to practice more grounding instead of energizing yoga poses, check out this sequence of 5 Grounding Yoga Poses.
All photos were taken by Jacob Donaghy-Sutton.

* A sequence of mountain pose, lowering down, stepping back to downward-facing dog, plank pose, lowering down to cobra pose and downward-facing dog again can be considered a basic vinyasa. Feel free to go through this between as many of the following poses as you like.