Greetings to you, lovely soul, and welcome our series of articles that aim to provide you with tools, inspiration, and insight on how to empower yourself.
Today I am here to remind you that you are stronger than you think.
Asana yoga practice is a wonderful way to realize that. When teaching class, I love challenging my students to hold just a little longer, to sink in a little deeper and breathe their way through the effort. Oftentimes they are surprised how strong they really are. It shows that we are capable of so much more, both on and off the mat, than we would naturally assume.
What do I mean by strength? I am talking about strength as a holistic concept that unites the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional to a unit of determination; a structure where strength is translated as wisdom, persistence, determination, acceptance, patience, kindness, courage, forgiveness, and awareness.
“Being strong means choosing from the heart instead of the ego, it means transcending our own patterns and fears and moving into love and acceptance.” Click to Tweet
Here are some of my favorite yoga poses which, when integrated into your regular practice, support you in creating strength in body, mind and spirit.
Please listen to your body, don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right or causes you pain and remember to breathe! I am here for you if you have any questions.
Please start by warming up your body before you try any of the below asanas/yoga poses.
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Let’s get started in Downward Facing Dog, or you could just step right into Plank pose (see below).
From a Downward Facing Dog shift your weight forward into Plank. Bring your shoulders over your wrists, lengthen the tailbone towards your heels and keep the back of the neck long. Feel free to bring your knees to your mat. Engage your core and leg muscles as you hold for a few deep, calm and steady breaths.
2. Side Plank
From Plank roll onto the pinky toes side of your right foot into side plank.
Stack your left foot on top of your right foot, or optional, bring your left foot in front of your right foot or lower your right knee to the floor for extra support. Extend your arm straight up, then stay there or come into side plank variation as shown in the photo by extending your arm over head in line with your ear. Breathe, hold, and return to plank in order to repeat the pose on the other side. Feel free to rest in between.
3. Uttkatasana (Chair Pose)
Come to stand at the top of your mat with your big toes touching and heel slightly out. Shift your weight into your heels as you bend your knees and reach your arms up. Lift your frontal hip points as you lengthen your tailbone. When you are ready to come out, straighten your knees and come to stand with your hands together in front of your heart, feet hip distance apart.
4. Crescent Lunge
Sweep your arms out around and up as you step your right foot back. Stay on the ball of your back foot, keep the left knee over the ankle and align your hips to the front of the mat.
5. Crescent Lunge Twist
Inhale to lengthen your sternum forward, hovering your torso over your thigh. Begin to twist to the left from above the waist keeping the hips level and the right hip lifted. Keep the length in your spine as you twist a little deeper.
When you are ready to come out, extend your arms up and step to the top of the mat to repeat Crescent Lunge and Crescent Lunge Twist on the other side.
6. Virabhadrasna II (Warrior II)
Stand at the top of your mat. Step your right foot back and turn it out to about 45 degrees, lining up your left heel with the arch of your back foot. Keep the front knee over the ankle as you lift up through the back inner thigh and turn your torso to the long side of the mat. Extend your arms out at shoulder level and breathe deeply.
7. Parivrtta Trikonasana (Reversed Triangle)
From Warrior II, step your right foot a little closer towards the top of the mat and a little further to the right. Inhale both arms up and re-align your hips and chest to the top of the mat. Hinge forward at your hips as you keep the length in your spine and your inner thighs and outer hips hugging in to the midline. Lower your right hand to the inside of your left foot (optional to place the hand on a block inside or outside the front foot) and extend your left arm straight up. Lengthen on your inhale and twist on your exhale. Hold and breathe and then come up, step to the top of your mat and repeat Warrior II and Reversed Triangle on the other side.
When you are complete with your practice, please make sure to gently cool down with a few stretches, and take time for a soothing Savasana. Just lie on your mat, close your eyes and relax your body and mind deeply.
I would like to hear from you. How did it go for you? What is your favorite (strengthening) yoga pose? Connect on social media (see buttons below), on the Mendocino Healing website or via email and let me know your thoughts.
Empowering yourself starts from within. In the upcoming articles we’ll continue to look at ways to empower ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
It’s time to shine your light! ✨
Many blessings from my heart to yours ?
Tanja Alexandra Kern
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