Fighting fatigue has always been one of the many benefits of yoga. A recent study adds to the growing body of evidence that a few sun salutations could help you to face each day with more enthusiasm.
Taking formal yoga classes for 3 months lowered fatigue by 57% for breast cancer survivors. Their rates of inflammation were also reduced by 20%. Researchers attribute a large share of the dramatic results from this Ohio State University study to the way yoga improves sleep.
It’s also nice to know that the benefits kept growing the longer the women practiced, even when some participants dropped out of yoga classes. It all goes to show that brief exposure to yoga can teach you long lasting lessons.
If you want to have more energy, take a look at how yoga replenishes your resources and some poses designed to banish fatigue.
How Yoga Helps to Fight Fatigue
1. Get better quality sleep. Yoga frees your mind and body from common obstacles to sleep. As unpleasant thoughts and body aches diminish, you feel more rested.
2. Increase your motivation to exercise. It’s easy to fall into a rut where sleep issues keep you from being active and being sedentary intensifies sleep issues. Get back on track with holistic exercise like yoga.
3. Manage stress. Yoga also has a spiritual dimension as seen in meditation and ethical living. Mindfulness and breathing practices promote peace of mind and greater resilience.
4. Strengthen your cardiovascular system. Stimulate the flow of blood and oxygen through all the cells of your body. Experienced yoga practitioners often develop low resting heart rates. It’s a good measure of overall fitness and strongly associated with a longer life span.
5. Harness the power of prana. One of the traditional goals of yoga is to get prana or life force flowing. That may be especially important if you sit all day for work. Increased flexibility is one sign that your energy is becoming unblocked.
Top Yoga Exercises for Fighting Fatigue
1. Wake up with sun salutations. There’s a good reason so many sessions start with this familiar cycle. The forward bends are great for getting energy flowing to your brain, heart and head. At the same time, the cobra pose opens your chest and stretches your spine.
2. Do more downward dogs. In addition to being one of the best known poses, this whole body stretch is guaranteed to be rejuvenating. Like any inversion pose, it sends more oxygen and blood to your brain. Plus, it elongates your spine.
3. Work on your back bends. Back bends reverse the lethargy that accumulates all day if you sit hunched over a keyboard. Energize your nervous system. Done properly, you’ll be lengthening both your spine and chest.
4. Learn to relax. The resting poses in yoga accomplish more than you might think. Lying on your back fully relaxed can help you get your second wind.
5. Twist around. When you twist at the waist, you massage your abdominal organs. That includes your liver and kidneys, which store energy for your body.
6. Soothe your back. Many people are drowsy during the day because aches and pains keep them up at night. Poses like the plow can strengthen your back so you sleep more comfortably.
7. Turn your palms up. Yoga teaches that exposing your palms prepares you to receive energy. Try turning your hands over anytime you want a lift.
As always, talk with your doctor if you have questions about your individual symptoms so any medical conditions can be ruled out. Otherwise, enjoy yoga as a safe and effective approach to feeling more invigorated.