Yoga for Power & ConfidencePublished May 13, 2020 by Sheila Anne Murray
Feelin’ a little low or just generally need a boost of confidence? These poses will be the perfect remedy.
Turn on your fave feel-good music (may I recommend Lizzo, Taylor Swift, or Maggie Rodgers) and hop on your mat in something comfy. The great thing about these poses is that you can totally do them anywhere anytime too — in the grocery store, while you’re cooking dinner, pre-presentation for work, wherever — you got this!
Mountain Pose / Tadasana
Mountain Pose Benefits
- Great for sciatica
- Creates space in the spine
- Foundational pose
How To Do Mountain Pose
Stand with your feet hip-width distance
Lift the toes up to bring more awareness to the weight distribution in your feet. Ideally weight is distributed evenly through four “corners” of the feet: The ball joint of the big toe, the ball joint of the pinky toe, and the two back corners of the heel.
Inhale and lift shoulders, exhale and allow shoulders to roll down and back.
Allow a natural lift in the heart.
Hug front body toward back body, so you feel support & toning through the belly.
Scoop tailbone in to support lengthening the back body and bring pelvis to neutral alignment. Think head over heart, heart over pelvis.
To bring more awareness to the work happening in the legs, place a pillow or yoga block between the upper thighs. You may notice the inward rotation to the thighs, and the engagement of the thighs and glutes as they support this power pose!
Seemingly simple, this pose can be hard to master because most daily lives include collapsing weight forward over our desks/phones/keyboards, and when we stand up we are not mindful to engage our thighs and glutes to support us.
Tree (Blossoming) Pose / Vrksasana
Tree Pose Benefits:
- Improves balance & focus
- Strengthens the ligaments and tendons of the feet & ankles
- Strengthens & tones the entire standing leg, up to the glutes
- Improves pelvic stability
- Opens hip and lengthens muscles in groin & thigh
How To Do Tree Pose:
Start in tadasana, again making an effort to scoop your hips under you to bring your pelvis into alignment and engage your lower body.
Take an exaggerated bend in the right knee, then open the knee and hip to the right.
Press hands together at the heart center. This may be enough.
The following are variations that increase in intensity/engagement:
- Place the sole of the right foot on the left calf.
- Place the sole of the right foot on the left thigh.
- Inhale and let your tree blossom by bringing arms above your head. This will change your center of gravity and for some this makes it easier or harder!
Whatever you have, continue to push down into the earth and feel energy traveling straight up through the crown of the head.
To release, it may feel best to rotate your knee & hip forward, and then release foot to the earth.
Star Pose / Utthita Tadasana
Star Pose Benefits:
- Energizes body
- Improves posture
- Strengthens the sacrum (lowest part of the backbone)
- Opens the chest
- Strengths heels and balls of the feet
How To Do Star Pose
From standing, step the feet wide (if you’re on your mat, you may want to turn to the side here to keep feet on your mat). Turn big toes in so feet are parallel or even a little turned in.
Inhale arms up to shoulder height, and see if ankles are just about in line with your wrists, adjust as needed.
Press through the outside of your feet, and draw energy up through the arches.
Gently draw the knees upwards, using the quadricep muscles to tighten the entire leg.
Zip up from root to crown of the head, with the same integrity that we had in tadasana.
Take big belly breaths here and you can bring arms higher to make yourself even bigger or bring hands to hips. Shine your heart forward.
Now if a great time to run through some affirmations or mantras.
To release, simply walk feet back together and take a big breath in mountain pose/tadasana!
High Lunge/Ashta Chandrasana
High Lunge Benefits:
- Can improve functioning of respiratory system and internal organs
- Releases shoulder & neck tension
- Strengthens muscles around joints while flexing them
- Tones entire body
- Builds confidence
How To Do High Lunge:
There are various ways to get to this posture. In class I typically teach it from downward facing dog, today we’ll do it from mountain pose/tadasana!
Start standing with hands lightly placed on your hips.
Pick up your right foot and step it back to a point behind you. Find a nice bend in your front knee.
Find some space between your hips - think railroad track versus tight rope. Then square your hips toward the front of the mat.
Inhale to raise the arms, biceps beside ears. Exhale to release shoulders down.
If it feels good, bounce a little here to test your balance while relaxing further into this pose.
To come out of this pose, bring hands back to hips, push off the back foot and bring it to meet your front foot at the top of the mat.
Warrior III / Virabhadrasana III
Warrior III Pose Benefits:
- Strengthens the ankles & legs
- Challenges focus & balance
- Strengthens the shoulders and back muscles
- Tones the abdominal muscles
- Improves posture
How To Do Warrior III:
From high lunge, find a focal point for your eyes somewhere on the floor in front of you.
Exhale hands to heart center
Press through the back toes and shift your weight over the front foot.
Ground down through the front foot to raise the back foot off the mat.
Try to lift from the back thigh, rather than throwing your foot up as high as you can.
Keep hips & pelvis level as you draw the navel in and wrap shoulders down and back.
Modify this by keeping toes of the back foot lightly touching the earth, and you’ll still get the benefits! You can hold onto a wall or chair for support.
Try different arm variations: Flying them forward (like a superhero) or fly them behind you (hands beside your hips) or press palms together at heart center.
You may hold this pose for 5 - 10 breaths - whatever feels most empowering!
Release back to high lunge or release the flying foot under you as you come to stand.
Side Plank / Vasisthasana
Side Plank Benefits:
- Helps to fire up muscles that are typically underused in daily life (such as posterior shoulder muscles, internal & external oblique muscles, muscles that support the spine, deep abdominal muscles, and smaller glute muscles)
- Increases balance & focus
- Beneficial for overall alignment of body
How To Do Side Plank:
Start in a high plank position
From plank move your weight onto your left hand
Spin onto the outer edge of your left foot and the inner arch of your right foot
Lift hips high. Right arm can come to hip or up to the sky.
This is an opportunity to circle the arms or move in a way that feels good for you, while staying balanced over the left wrist.
Bring the bottom knee (left) to the mat and rotate onto the inside of your right foot. Lift your right arm if you’re feelin’ fancy or simply bring it to your waist.
Fly the top leg for a little fun and more fire for your lower body.
Well, I hope you’re feeling good and full of limitless potential! If you loved the feeling of getting more connected to your mind and body & you’re curious to learn more about how it can create lasting change, don’t be shy… schedule a call with me! I’m already helping many women to do the same 😄
If you enjoyed this sequence, be sure to check out my other yoga blogs!