You can blame it on your lunch, your workload, bad lighting, or a caffeine deficiency, but the truth is, we are hard-wired to get sleepy in the afternoon. If you read the blog, you’ll likely be familiar with your circadian rhythm, a.k.a. your body’s internal 24 hour clock. Though we all have slightly varied “master clocks,” the general human impulse to sleep is strongest between both 2–4 a.m. and 1–3 p.m.
Since most of us are generally asleep in the early hours of the morning, we’re not really feeling the impulse then, making the urge to fall asleep in the mid afternoon all the more frustrating and disorienting. Because siestas are not part of North American culture, we must carry on as normal, day in and day out.
The good news is, humans are just as clever as we are sleepy. Although a cup of coffee or a sugary snack seems like an easy fix to the afternoon slump, exercise is the healthier and more effective option. We asked accessible yoga teacher, Amy Zellmer, if she could whip us up an energizing, mid-day stretch routine. Read on for her quick and easy five move stretch routine!
1. Back Bend
A simple backbend can pack a lot of punch! We live in a hunched-over world as we sit at our computers and phones all day, and reversing that hunch with a back-bend can give us a lot of energy.
Back bends increase our circulation from our head to our toes, and stimulate the central nervous system—offering us instant energy. So if you’re short on time, doing this one pose alone will give you a recharge.
2. Lateral Bend
A lateral, or side bend, helps us activate muscles that we often overlook, waking up the muscles and getting blood flow moving through our bodies. These can be done seated or standing.
3. Triangle Pose
Triangle pose is a deep twist that stretches the entire body. This foundational pose creates energy throughout the entire body. This pose stills the mind, while requiring balance and concentration. It is a great pose to release tension in the back and hips.
4. Wide Legged Forward Fold
Wide legged forward fold boosts energy in the body, while calming down the central nervous system. It is a great pose to counter the back bend earlier in the sequence.
5. Seated Twist
A seated twist aids digestion, and encourages spinal mobility. It is both calming and energizing simultaneously and is a must-do pose in every yoga practice.
Amy Zellmer is an award-winning author, keynote speaker, and Editor-in-chief of The Brain Health Magazine. She is an accessible yoga teacher, with a focus on working with individuals in bigger bodies and disabled bodies.
She has her 200-hour RYT as well as a certification in trauma-informed yoga and is currently working towards her 500-hour RYT. Additionally, she is a Reiki practitioner working towards her Reiki Master. She is certified in Mindfulness and EFT (emotional freedom technique). Find her on Twitter and Instagram.