9 Energizing Yoga Poses That Feel Like A Jolt Of Caffeine

While it’s always nice to have a luxuriously supine bed rot day, sometimes you have to get up and get moving — and that’s when energizing yoga poses can come in handy. Yoga is known to be relaxing, meditative, and stress-relieving, but it can also get your blood pumping if you add certain postures to your flow.

“The most energizing yoga poses focus on stretching and lengthening the body, particularly the spine,” says Rachel Hirsch, a yoga teacher, co-founder, and director of Empowered Yoga. Doing a backbend or a cat-cow, for example, can feel like a jolt of caffeine, she says. Heart-opening yoga poses, intense stretches that engage your core and other major muscle groups, and postures that require active movement will also help wake you up, says Aine Rock, a certified 200-hour yoga instructor. “These poses mostly concentrate on opening the chest, activating the spine, and enhancing blood flow throughout the body,” she tells Bustle. “Additionally, they involve conscious breathing, which helps in oxygenating the body and revitalizing the mind.”

Whether you wake up groggy or are in the throes of a mid-afternoon slump, flowing through these moves can work as a movement-based alternative to caffeine — and even offer a dose of motivation and mental clarity, depending on what you choose. The next time you’re feeling blah, try a few of these energizing yoga poses for a little pep in your step.


Sun Salutations

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A sun salutation is a dynamic sequence of movements that warms up your body, stretches major muscle groups, and increases circulation, says Rock. Try it first thing in the morning to get ready for your day.

– Begin by standing in mountain pose with your feet hip-width apart.

– Inhale and bring your arms up overhead.

– Exhale and hinge forward at your hips into a forward fold.

– Let your head drop toward your mat.

– Inhale and lift your torso halfway back up. Pause mid-way with a flat back.

– Plant your hands, exhale, and step your feet back into plank pose.

– Inhale and move into upward-facing dog, then exhale into downward dog.

– Step or jump your feet forward to stand.

– Aim to perform three to five rounds, holding each pose for a few breaths.



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“Camel creates space for your spine, neck, and hips to lengthen and open, which really energizes the body and mind,” Hirsch says. It’s a huge spinal movement with a backbend that also opens your heart.

– Kneel on a mat with your knees about hip-distance apart.

– Bring your hands to your lower back for support.

– Lean back and start to look up, lifting the heart.

– Focus on lengthening your spine and lifting your chest.

– If you can, allow your head to relax and fully lean back.

– Place your hands on your ankles for support.

– Hold for five full breaths.


Warrior II

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This standing pose strengthens the legs, energizes the body, and improves your ability to focus, says Rock. It also stretches your chest, shoulders, and hips while providing a sense of power and stability. Try it mid-day if you’re feeling sluggish.

– Start in mountain pose with your feet hip-width apart.

– Step your left foot back about 3 feet.

– Turn your left foot out and align your heel with the arch of your right foot.

– Bend your front knee to a 90-degree angle, ensuring it aligns with your ankle.

– Extend your arms out to the sides, parallel to the floor, palms facing down.

– Gaze over your right fingertips.

– Hold for 30 seconds to one minute, then switch sides.


Crescent Lunge

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Certified yoga teacher Janet Smith recommends this pose whenever you need a pick-me-up. It’s hard to feel sleepy when you’re bringing heat to your body with a lunge and a reach.

– Step one foot forward into a low lunge.

– Drop your back knee towards your mat without letting it touch.

– Inhale and reach your hands overhead.

– Keep your arms raised next to your ears.

– If you like, reach further back for a slight backbend.

– Hold for eight to 10 breaths.

– Exhale and switch feet to repeat on the other side.


Upward Dog

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“Upward dog, like other heart openers, helps to energize the body and mind,” Hirsch explains. “Opening the heart brings space into the area that pumps blood throughout your body, which is important to give your heart space to energize you throughout the day.”

– Lie on your stomach with your toes untucked.

– Place your hands by your ribs with your elbows over your wrists.

– Inhale and press into your hands.

– Lift your chest up while drawing your shoulder blades down your back and together.

– Raise your hips and thighs off the mat while keeping the tops of your feet down.

– Keep lifting your heart up as you lengthen your spine.

– Hold this for a full round of breath.



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Try starting your day with a few rounds of cat-cow. “It helps to boost your energy by warming up and opening up the spine, especially when you move through the two postures quickly,” Hirsch says.

– Come onto your hands and knees with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips over your knees.

– Inhale and take your gaze up and lift your tailbone up as you arch your spine.

– Exhale and curl your back.

– Alternate between the two poses on your breaths for a whole minute.



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“Chair pose is super intense and will build immense internal heat,” Hirsch says. “You’ll be fired up and ready for the day.”

– Stand tall and bring your feet together to touch.

– Bend your knees as if you’re sitting in a chair.

– Keep bending your knees and bringing your bum down and back so you can see your toes in front of your knees.

– Bring your hands to heart center, or for extra inner fire, reach your arms up and overhead so your biceps are by your ears.

– Hold for five breaths.



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Yoga teacher Rebecca Benenati is a big fan of butterfly pose for energy, especially when you pair it with breathwork.

– Sit with the soles of your feet together and your knees apart.

– If necessary, sit on a blanket to create more space for tight hips.

– Hold on to your ankles.

– Inhale through your mouth with an “ewwww” sound and look up and arch your back.

– Exhale through your mouth with a “laaaa” sound and round your back and move your chin toward your chest.

– Repeat this breathing sequence for about six to 10 rounds.



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You can always count on a backbend for an energy boost. “This posture is the most intense and the most energizing for me,” Hirsch says. Not only is it a full-body stretch and a heart-opener, but it’s also guaranteed to get your blood pumping.

– Lie on your back.

– Bend your knees and plant your feet on the ground hip-distance apart.

– Bring your hands to the ground on either side of your head with your fingers pointing toward your shoulders.

– Press into your hands and feet to lift yourself up off the ground.

– To modify, bring the crown of your head to the ground as an intermediary step before pushing yourself fully up into your wheel pose.

– Focus on pressing your hips toward the sky to create length and space through the spine.

– Hold for five to 10 breaths.

Studies referenced:

Woodyard, C. (2011). Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. International Journal of Yoga. doi: 10.4103/0973-6131.85485.


Rachel Hirsch, yoga teacher, co-founder, director of Empowered Yoga

Aine Rock, certified 200-hour yoga instructor, breath-work facilitator, and integrative life coach

Janet Smith, certified yoga teacher

Rebecca Benenati, yoga teacher, CEO of Wellborn Lifestyles


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