Backbends. Backbends are the most obvious poses for energizing—even gentle backbends can be stimulating. Since it’s cooler, darker weather, I’ve been playing a lot with the “backbend” in forward-bending poses. For example, Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) with my hands in prayer behind my back is both energizing and soothing. It’s exactly what I need during the holiday season.

Sun Salutations. As the days get shorter approaching the Winter Equinox, it’s tempting to curl up with a bolster and call it a day. There are certainly times when that’s just what the doctor ordered. However, when I’m just feeling sluggish and stagnant, there’s nothing more effective than a couple of quick Sun Salutes to help me feel like myself again.

Inversions. Headstand and Handstand in particular are energizing for me. And if I only have a couple of minutes, this is my practice.

Favorite Pose! Floating (or more often “thudding”) from Down Dog to Uttanasana isn’t exactly a “pose,” but it is one of my favorite things to practice right now. It’s fun to feel a split second of weightlessness. It makes me feel strong and accomplished. But I think that practicing ANY pose that makes me feel happy and playful would leave me feeling energized.

Savasana. My first yoga teacher said that 10 minutes of Savasana was equivalent to four hours of extra sleep. This sounded like music to my ears as a college sophomore. I remember thinking, “Perfect. That means I can stay up all night studying then just take a 20-minute Savasana before my finals and I’ll be good to go!” I learned the hard way that my teacher was either exaggerating or just plain wrong (I’m still not sure which). But she was right about one thing: A nice, long, restful Savasana definitely gives me more energy when I’m feeling over stimulated, exhausted, or just plain stressed out.

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