If someone told you there was a form of exercise that could enhance physical beauty, embellish grace of expression, increase power of mental receptivity, prevent hardening of arteries, enable lasting youth by stimulating circulation and ejecting waste from body, drive away headaches, improve voice, steady the nerves, put on or take off fat as desired, send curative energy to diseased parts, detach scattered attention from the senses, lead to greater concentration, strengthen the mind, and inspire success, you would want to know about it, right?
That is exactly what the famous yoga guru Paramhansa Yogananda promised with the set of 39 isometric exercises he developed called Energization Exercises. I have witnessed remarkable changes in myself and hundreds of others within just one week of starting these exercises. There is a lot of research showing the benefits of isometric exercises. Now that can be applied to this full body workout!
As a fitness professional, this is helpful to know because
- They are a great warm-up, by getting the whole body invigorated in a very safe way.
- They do not cause the tearing and shortening of muscles as do exercises against resistance. If you are working with a special population like seniors, or people with physical disabilities, this is a great safe alternative. It can even be done with a few modifications by people who are bedridden.
- If you have people dealing with fatigue, chronic pain, or disease, this will help them heal–simply by drawing blood flow to all parts of the body. Also if a muscle is in pain because it got locked at a certain point of tension, tensing beyond that point in these exercises will unlock that.
- It reminds people how much potential energy they can have.
- It helps relieve tension and relax people so they can focus more easily. As a result, they will also be more open to what you are trying to share with them. These exercises were originally created as a practice to get both the body and mind ready for sitting in meditation.
Three Invigorating Energization Exercises
When you practice these it is nice to do them outside in fresh air where you can breathe deeply. Always tense from a low to medium to high tension, relax high, medium, low, and then take a quick moment to feel your body. Putting all focus on each body part being worked is more important than feeling the muscle isolation. That comes with practice. “The greater the will, the greater the flow of energy,” as Paramhansa Yogananda would say.
- Double Breathing: There are three components to this exercise to integrate simultaneously. Repeat 3-5 times.
- Take a short inhale followed by a long inhale, and a short exhale followed by a long exhale. Breathe in through the nose and then out through the mouth and nose.
- Tense the muscles in the body in a wave-like motion upwards while you inhale. Relax them in a wave-like motion downwards while you exhale.
- Tense the arms out to the sides with fists while inhaling. Then bring the arms in front of you and open the hands to press the palms together while exhaling.
- Twenty-Part Body Recharging: This exercise has four stages.
- Tense all the muscles in your body at once from low to medium to high tension with a double inhale and then relax high, medium, low on a double exhale.
- Tense and release each body part one at a time; left side first and then right side. These are the twenty body parts counting the left and right sides: Feet, calf and shin, thigh and hamstring, buttocks, lower abdominals, upper abdominals, forearm, upper arm, chest, the sides of the neck, front of neck, and back of neck.
- Tense and hold each body part starting with the left side and then the right side until everything is tensed. Inhale and vibrate with energy. Exhale and slowly lower the head to release the neck. Keep the head lowered while you release each body part–first the right side and then the left side.
- With the head still lowered, double inhale and tense everything. Double exhale, release everything, and lift the head.
- Four-Part Arm Recharging: Repeat the following sequence 3-5 times.
- Starting with fists in front of the chest, take a single exhale and tense the arms out to the sides. Relax them as you bend the elbows and bring the fists in front of the chest again.
- Single exhale as you tense the arms straight in front of you, and then relax them back in.
- Double inhale and tense the arms overhead. Double exhale and relax the arms back down to your sides.
Breathe deeply and enjoy the infusion of energy in your body!
Video of Avital’s favorite Energization Exercises: https://youtu.be/RybwVmH8kmo
DVD with the whole set of Energization Exercises: http://amzn.to/2aTe1JO
More on the science of how Energization Exercises impact us biologically: http://snip.ly/ybnrm
Research on benefits of isometric training:
An article about unlocking locked muscles: http://snip.ly/yowyt
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