Five easy energy boosters

If you are feeling the post-lunch slump, or you just need a bit of an extra boost in the morning, try one of these quick and easy tricks.

David Lurey in Headstand

1. Get upside down

Yoga Inversions such as Handstands and Headstands have an energizing effect on the nervous system. They get the heart pumping and can help improve concentration and focus. By giving us a different perspective on the world they can also help us to shift thoughts which could be draining our energy.

You can get similar benefits from simpler inversion poses where the head is lower than the heart such as Downward Facing Dog.

2. Energizing Acupressure Points

Apply firm but gentle pressure with your fingers to the Zusanli acupressure point – (also called Stomach 36). This point is used in acupuncture and acupressure to increase energy as well as being helpful for digestive problems (and a whole lot more).

To find it, run your fingers up the outside of your shinbone. The Zusanli point is just under the top head (the lumpy end) of the shinbone, you might feel a dip there.

You can also access the point by sitting on a chair – place the heel of your hands on the top of your kneecaps, fingers pointing down towards the feet. Your fingertips will be about level with the point. Move your middle finger to the outside of the shin and press on the point for up to 10 deep breaths (a minute or two), try to keep the finger still rather than massaging the area.

Another energizing pressure point is Shui Gou (GV-26 in acupuncturist lingo) it’s located about a third of the way down in the groove between your nose and upper lip. Applying pressure here for up to a minute can help increase physical energy as well as mental alertness.

3. Right Nostril Breathing

Esther Ekhart practising alternate nostril breathing

The right nostril (Pingala Nadi) is associated with sun (Surya) energy. Breathing in through the right nostril increases physical energy, improves concentration, makes the digestive system more efficient and boosts the nervous system.

Sit with your spine straight in a comfortable sitting position (you can use a block or cushion to help keep your spine straight).

Close your left nostril with your left thumb. Your right hand is relaxed on your leg or you can take Surya Mudra – where the tip of the ring finger is at the base of the thumb with the thumb gently covering it. Make sure your chin is in line with your sternum so that you are not tilting your head to one side. Take long, deep breaths both in and out through the right nostril for two to three minutes.

Try out more Pranayama techniques (breathing techniques) in our 10 Days of Pranayama program.

4. Balance your blood sugar

Often we feel tired because our blood sugar has dropped – to help manage your blood sugar look at the Glycemic Index (GI) of your meals – this is the rate that your blood sugar levels rise after eating a particular type of food.

Adding a tablespoon of vinegar (such as balsamic or cider vinegar) to starchy food can help maintain steady blood sugar levels and also help you feel fuller longer.

You can also combine foods to lower the overall GI of your meal – for example eating some seeds or nuts with fruit – or adding them into smoothies.

5. 10 minutes of pick-me-up yoga

10 minutes can make all the difference. In this free class, Esther takes you through some familiar yoga poses and creative movements. Try it at the end of your working day to reset yourself before your evening – or whenever you can squeeze it in.

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Jenny SavageJenny Savage is part of the EkhartYoga team behind the scenes. She first started yoga at the age of 15 and took her teacher training with Esther Ekhart in 2013. She has a background in Health Psychology, community mental health work, and health and wellbeing research.