When you ask people what they want, most people will answer `happiness.’ The second most popular answer is `energy!’ So I’m extremely pleased to introduce today’s blogger, Nadya Andreeva, who gives us a few tips in how to get more energy in our day using a few Ayurveda principals.
Ever feel like you need another two hours of sleep after your alarm goes off? Or can barely keep your eyes open during a work meeting? Energy is a precious substance. Everyone craves more of it. Supplement companies work hard to satisfy the ever growing demand for energy-increasing powders and pills, while people just seem to keep getting more tired.
As it often happens, we tend to overlook what is right under our nose, and keep looking for an energy miracle everywhere but in the most obvious place…
Ayurveda gives us some valuable clues to the everlasting energy source.
Program your mind & body!
Set an intention to wake up with a lot of energy. How many times did you hear that ‘It is all about the right Attitude’? Well it is. Our expectations are responsible for half the experience. If you think that you will be tired in the morning, most likely you will be.
If you decide that the next 7 hours of sleep will be the most restful 7 hours ever and that you will wake up full of energy, your brain will program your body and mind accordingly. Yoga Nidra (click here for a free recording) is a great tool to use to teach your body to completely relax. It takes physical and mental relaxation to the next level.
Spice it up!
I put cinnamon and ginger almost into everything! It warms you up from the inside, helps digestion, prevents sugar cravings, and provides long-lasting energy. Have it in the morning with oatmeal or soaked chia seeds. Make an energy boosting snack with stewed figs and cinnamon; or start your day with a digestion improving baked apple or pear sprinkled with the super spices. My day often starts with a cup of green tea with a handful of cut up fresh ginger and lemon. It gives me energy to run around all day.
(Chia seeds breakfast: 2 tbsp of chia seeds, 1 tbs of roasted buckwheat, warm almond or soy milk, some raisins and tsp of cinnamon. Let it sit for 5-7 minutes for a filling fiber and protein rich breakfast or dessert.)
We are watery creatures and don’t function well if dehydrated. Make sure to choose flat warm or hot water. Cold water will make you waste precious energy, since the body needs to warm it up to the body temperature level. As a result, you might get a reverse effect.
Yoga your way to a new energy level
The following yoga tricks will give an immediate energy boost. Do them anytime when you feel like you are not at your 100 percent and need a quick energy makeover:
- Sun Salutations. This energy producing calorie burning sequence is best done in the morning to wake up your body and start your day off on a good note. It stretches and opens up the entire body in a gentle yet effective way.
- Inversions. Bring your head lower than your hips to get some fresh blood and oxygen to your brain. If you don’t feel comfortable jumping into a handstand in the middle of the office yet, a forward fold will do, just bend over your legs and stay there for a few deep breaths. Inversion will clear up your head, boost your brain power, and can also be a good age prevention tool as your skin gets fresh blood and nutrients.
- Backbends. Take a deep inhale and roll your shoulders back while reaching with your chest up and forward. Create a sensation of openness and stretching in your chest muscles. To take it a step further and activate adrenal glands that are responsible for stress fighting hormones, place your hands on your lower back, keep your hips right over your feet and with an inhale reach your chest forward while bringing your chin and your shoulders back, creating a light backbend in your upper back.
Avoid energy draining foods
Just as there is food to boost energy, there is food that can drain significant amounts of energy. Any fast food, canned, frozen, packaged, leftovers and foods that contains preservatives, chemicals, and additives are difficult to digest and contain little nutritional content.
If you do indulge and feel heavy afterwards, Ayurveda advices drinking half a glass of water with 1/4 of a fresh lime squeezed into it. If you feel dull, sluggish, and drained every day, it probably means that your diet contains too many energy-draining foods. This means that you need to overhaul your diet to include foods that are light and nourishing and can be used efficiently by your body to create energy.
Avoid iced drinks (especially when tired)
It takes a lot of energy to warm up that iced coffee to body temperature. If you feel tired, it means you are already running low on this precious resource, why waste more? Opt for warm or room temperature drinks instead.
Get good quality sleep
This one seems obvious, we all know that sleep is necessary for our body to function. Frederic Patenaude, a life style counselor and nutritionist, draws an interesting parallel. He says that your car may have a full tank of gasoline, but if the battery is dead it won’t start.
The same is true for humans. You may eat all you want but in the end if you don’t sleep enough to recharge your batteries you won’t have energy. Focusing only on the number of hours in bed is not sufficient on its own. The quality of sleep is crucial to the energy level.
Five hours in a state of complete mental, physical, and emotional relaxation will produce better results than 8 hours of constant twisting and turning. If you have hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, try Yoga Nidra (click here for a free recording) to take your relaxation to the next level.
Ayurveda has some effective sleep inducing tips:
- One of the simplest and most effective ways to induce sleep is to rub some oil on the scalp and the soles of the feet before going to bed. Use sesame oil, brahmi oil, jasmine oil, or coconut oil and massage gently for a few minutes. Slightly warming the oil before applying is helpful.
- Drink a cup of warm milk before going to bed. You can drink plain milk if you prefer, but adding a pinch of nutmeg and cardamom will make it more delicious as well as more effective.
- Chamomile tea is caffeine free and is a traditional remedy for insomnia.
- Valerian root is great to relieve stress and induce relaxation. It is available in tea or drops form at most health foods stores.
Think through your daily routine and try to find what drains your energy the most. Try to choose one energy drainer a day and eliminate it from your life! One step at a time to a healthier energy-filled you!
What makes you energized and what drains your energy? Share your ideas about ways to avoid pointless energy drainers!
About the Author
Nadya Andreeva is a wellness coach and a yoga instructor who grew up in Russia in a family of doctors. Trained in psychology, yoga, anatomy, and ayurveda, Nadya works to create a wholesome path to wellness through group wellness programs, yoga classes, and 1 on 1 coaching. Her articles on yoga, digestion, and nutrition are featured on MindBodyGreen, Modern Hippie Mag, Crazy Sexy Life and YogaCity NYC. She holds an MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from New York University and a Wellness Coaching certification from Wellcoaches. Follow Nadya’s blog spinachandyoga.com and twitter @realyoganyc to receive fun wellness tips.
Nadya is leading a wellness program “40 Days to Bliss” wellness program, starting Oct 1st. More info here.