10 Best Yoga Poses for Energy & Focus
Author - Alyssa Rimmer
These are the 10 best yoga poses for energy and focus. These easy and effective exercises can be done at home and will help increase your energy and get more focused!
What I love about yoga is the duality of the practice. It's incredibly nourishing to your body, but also energizing at the same time. It's soft and flowy, but also hard and sweaty. It basically combines all the things you need into one sequence.
I've been doing yoga for about 15 years and have had a consistent practice for the last 6 or 7. It's an incredibly important part of my life and I think it can be impactful for everyone – regardless of age, flexibility or level of fitness.
I like putting these yoga series together on the blog and plan to keep giving you more. Last time we talked about yoga for lower back pain, but today we're talking about yoga for energy and focus. Think poses that are uplifting and get your blood pumping!
10 Yoga Poses for Energy & Focus
As with our yoga for lower back pain post, there are quite a few different yoga poses for energy. I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, so I've picked my top 10. You can pick and choose from this list or you can follow them in a sequence, holding each for about 8 breaths.
The most energizing yoga poses are backbends and inversions (where your head is below your heart). If some of these poses seem a little advanced to you, we'll provide modifications in the description. I hope you enjoy it!
1. Downward Facing Dog
Our first yoga pose for energy is downward facing dog. This is one of the foundational poses of yoga and also one of my favorites. It's an amazing stretch to the hamstrings and shoulders, but also energizing because your head is below your heart. When you're in that upside down V, you might even notice that your heart rate increases a little bit.
To do downward facing dog, stand towards the back of your mat and place your feet hip-width apart. Walk your hands out towards the top of the mat until you're in a plank position. Make sure your shoulders are directly over your wrists, then pike your hips up and stretch your shoulders back. Bend your knees as much as you need to keep your back flat.
2. Upward Facing Dog
Another foundational pose in traditional vinyasa yoga, upward dog is actually a semi-gentle backbend which is why it's so great for energy and focus. Traditionally you'd follow upward dog with downward dog, but for this sequence, I actually like to do it in reverse. I find that the movement in my spine really helps to open things up and get me more focused.
To do upward facing dog, we'll transition from down dog by rippling our spine forward into plank position. From there, flip your feet over so the tops of your feet are on the ground and drop your hips to the mat. Traditionally your legs will stay lifted off the mat (like in this photo), but if that's too much for your back simply drop your knees. If this is still too much, do low cobra instead where your belly is on the mat and you gently lift your shoulders.
3. Chair Pose
Chair pose is the squat in yoga form. It's a great way to fire up your legs, which is your body's largest muscle group, so it's really going to get your blood pumping. Try to also keep your arms above your head as that will force even more blood downward and again, energize you!
To do a chair pose, stand straight up with your feet together. Bend your knees until you're in a shallow squat – like you're sitting in a chair – and push your butt backward, keeping your knees aligned with your toes. If you look down you should be able to see your big toes. Straighten your arms above your head and hold for 8 breaths.
4. Twisted Chair Pose
Twists are amazing, not just for energy but also for spine health and digestion. This one, in particular, is great because you're getting the best of two poses: the engagement in your legs and the detoxification internally.
To do twisted chair pose, start in chair pose, then twist from your core and hook your elbow outside your opposite knee. Try to keep your knees in alignment by shifting your hips. Your knees should be next to each other, without one jutting out in front of the other. Take your gaze to the sky and hold for 6 breaths. Come back to center and repeat on the opposite side.
5. Crow Pose
One of my personal favorite yoga poses for energy is crow pose. It might be a bit advanced but also fun to try. Arm balancing poses are great for energy and focus because it requires multiple muscle groups to engage. Your arms, your abs, your butt, and your brain all need to be focused. Don't worry if you fall out of it, it's fun to just play sometimes!
To do crow pose, start with your hands shoulder-width apart on the mat. Crouch down and forward, placing your knees onto your triceps. Slowly lean forward, bend your arms to about 45º and keep your gaze about a foot in front of you. Try lifting one foot off the floor and then the other. If you feel comfortable there, try lifting both feet off the floor. If this is too much altogether, sit in a wide leg squat.
6. Triangle Pose
This might be one of my favorite poses because of how elongated and stretched it makes me feel. These poses where you open up your body really help you bring in more light and energy. You'll feel an amazing stretch along your side, but also in your legs.
To do triangle pose, stand with your feet about two hip-widths apart facing the side of your mat. Turn your front toes toward the front of your mat, then reach forward with your front arm and bend from the waist. Reach down as far as you can while still keeping your spine straight. Reach up to the sky with your other arm and take your gaze to the sky as well. Hold for 6 – 8 breaths then repeat on the other side.
7. Warrior 3 Pose
The warrior poses in yoga are powerful. They use big muscle groups and supercharge your blood flow. I love all three, but for energy and focus, warrior three is my favorite because it's a balancing pose.
To do warrior 3 pose, stand with your feet together facing the top of your mat. Hinge forward from the hips, straightening one of your legs to the back of the mat and your head toward the front. You'll be in a T shape. For your hands, either reach them behind you, in front of you or to heart center. If the balance feels like too much bend your standing leg slightly and touch your hands to the floor. Hold for 8 breaths and repeat on the other side.
8. Dancers Pose
This is the type of pose you see in magazines for good reason, it's beautiful! But it's also really energizing. Dancers pose combines a lot of the things we've talked about already; it's a standing pose, it's a balancing pose and it's a backbend all at once. Plus you'll feel like a badass doing it!
To do dancers pose, start with your feet together in the center of the mat. Bend one of your elbows to 90º and take your hand out to the side. On the same side, bend your knee and bring your heel toward your butt. Reach your hand behind you and grab the inner arch of your foot. Start to bend forward at the hips and kick into your hand at the same time. Just go as far as you can and keep your gaze to one single point to help with balance. Reach your other arm in front of your if you feel balanced. Hold for 8 breaths and repeat on the opposite side.
9. Tree Pose
Tree pose is probably one of my favorite poses of all time. It makes me feel grounded, uplifted and powerful all at the same time. Tree pose is a balancing pose, which again helps with focus, but it's also a standing pose, which is great for blood flow. It's also just really fun to do!
To do tree pose, stand with your feet together toward the top of your mat. Bring one foot up to your inner thigh (or calf) and push that foot into your leg for balance. Bring your hands to heart center or lift them above your head. Keep your gaze focused on one spot to help you stay balanced. Hold for 8 breaths then repeat with the opposite leg.
10. Seated Spinal Twist
The last on our list of yoga poses for energy is seated spinal twist. We talked about how twists have amazing benefits for your body and this one rocks. Not are they healthy for your spine, but they're also great for digestion. Think of twists as an internal ring out of your organs. Plus, they feel great!
To do a seated spinal twist, sit with your legs out in front of you. Cross one leg over the other, with your foot flat on the ground (knee in the air). Rotate towards to the knee that is crossed, using your arm as leverage if need (like above). Take your gaze in the opposite direction of your knee and take at least 10 breaths. Come back to center and repeat with the other leg.
How to Practice Yoga for Energy
Now that you have these poses at your disposal, it's time to add them into your routine. I recommend doing this Yoga for Energy sequence in the morning or midday. I love to follow them in the order we have here, but feel free to change things up as you need. The goal is really to help you feel energized and more focused. Don't have time to do them all? Feel free to just one or two and do them throughout the day.
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