Do you ever crave a gentle yoga class to pick you up? Here are 5 of the best yoga classes to brighten and energise – even when energy is low. All hand picked by our friend, Kate Blake, former teacher and battler of chronic fatigue.
This selection of yoga classes includes my current favourites for promoting a feeling of cleansing and energy. They are all fairly short so more manageable perhaps if you have limited energy. I also find them particularly good in the morning when I’ve woken up from a night of bad dreams and need to get rid of all the negative vibes which are still lingering.
Poor sleep quality is common amongst Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers and I find it really useful to move quickly into a different headspace through meditation or yoga first thing in the morning.
I have ordered them in the level of difficulty (for me), starting with the easiest so that you can better judge which ones will suit you and avoid the disappointment of a run of classes that are unexpectedly demanding.
The third and fourth are more difficult in different ways. Mimi’s Take a Break has 8 minutes of standing while Zephyr’s Gentle Floor Flow has no standing but is a little bit quicker. So please judge for yourself which suits you best at the moment.
Kate Walker’s Yoga for Cold/Flu class (13 minutes) is my first choice
Obviously we don’t need a cold/ flu to do it! All the way through the class she encourages us to listen to and be kind to our body, respecting what it needs now to heal, inviting us to do the poses and moves “if it feels like a good thing to do”. For cleansing it involves simple twists and stretching. It’s mostly supine with some hand and feet poses and one downward dog but with a child’s pose option. This class is all about self care and not pushing. Always a good message!
Zephyr Wildman’s Gentle Floor Flow (15 minutes) is another very nurturing practice
Even the gentle soothing of Zephyr’s voice encourages us to be mindful and kind. It feels a bit quicker than some classes and took my brain a bit longer to work out what I should be doing in some moments. But it is a lovely class and simple enough so that repetition makes it all flow smoothly and easily, without needing that uncomfortable craning of the neck to see the pose on screen! The delight of this for me is that there are some simple flow sequences which are gentle enough for me to do. There is a great focus on the breath, making longer exhales than inhales and using the exhale to soften into stretches and tension. Zephyr gives us plenty of time to do this and enjoy that feeling of letting go. Another really lovely class.
Mimi’s Take a Break – Exhale and Soothe (21minutes) is another great class
Just as we don’t need a cold to do Kate’s class, we don’t need to be studying to do this class! Again a great focus on breathing, particularly on the exhale. It involves a gentle move from back, to hands and knees to standing and forward bends. There is standing for the Tai Chi ‘Separating the Clouds’ and other moves which all feel totally energising and balance out the energy spend of standing. The lion’s breath and Burmese Tai Chi at the end keep the focus on ridding the body and mind of unhelpful/ negative clutter and making space to bring in what’s needed. It’s a fabulous way to create a fresh start for mind and body.
Next up is Lucy McCarthy’s Detox and Energise (17 minutes)
(Do not confuse this with Lucy’s Detox, Breathe and Energise class which is an intermediate class).
This has equal parts of sitting, hands and knees and standing and a lot of twisting for cleansing. I love the playful sighing at the start where I can really let out those bad dream feelings and experiment with different sounds and feelings which can move me into feeling awesome. There is a section with squats but I adapt this by using a bolster. Also there is a brief standing section for fountain breathing but the breathing is so energising that the standing feels good. The supported bridge with the block under the sacrum is a good option for me and feels really great – I finish the class having banished the bad dream blues and ready for a wonderful day.
More energetic but still good and adaptable is Lucy’s 20 Minute Morning Magic class
This class includes some great cleansing Kapala Bhati breathing followed by twists, hands and knees poses, side stretches and in the second half a flow section including plank, downward dog, and cobra. It is fairly feisty and I am always adaptable in this section, even to the extent of just moving into a simple child’s pose/ child’s pose and cobra flow. This is a kind of aspirational class for me, taking me to what is my edge at the moment. The final Om leaves me in a good energised but calm place to start the activity of my day.
I like the way yoga empowers me to help my body and mind change tack
It’s so easy to get stuck in an automatic mode way of being or get dragged down by negative clutter. Practising yoga, even just for 20 minutes is a powerful way to influence both body and mind to change pace, step outside what’s been going on, re- ground and choose how to be in the world right now.
And learning how it is possible to make that change so quickly is such an empowering life lesson and skill. I particularly like with this set of classes, the many ways in which the teachers use the breath to cleanse and energise. As well as the yoga classes themselves, this gives a great insight into the power of breath and how to use it in different ways, a skill which supports healthy living off the mat too!