Yoga isn’t just great for keeping a toned, tight body. It does amazing things for your mental and spiritual health! People of all ages do yoga to help themselves heal, to empower themselves to feel better, to grow their confidence, and to spark their enthusiasm. Yoga is a fantastic way to experience our best selves! On the mat, you want to feel empowered with how strong and capable your body is. These yoga poses help you do just that:
#1 Samastithi (Mountain Pose)
Mountain Pose is one of the most important poses to help you gain confidence in yourself and feel incredibly comfortable in your skin. This pose is the epitome of standing up for yourself- literally! While in Mountain Pose, you are tall, grounded, and powerful. It’s great for your spiritual health because you will feel like you are not letting anything external influence you. Many yogis and other teachers say this pose is a good one to begin your asana flow with as it sets in place the mentality you need to have while doing the other poses: equal standing, steady breath, stable mind.
#2 Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon)
Flow from Mountain Pose and come to all fours, then place your right knee behind your right wrist. You will want to move to have one leg bent in front of you with the other pulled up and back behind your head. At first, many students who learn this pose aren't able to easily grasp the back foot directly with their hands. Take a strap to help you grasp it in the beginning. When sitting for 30 seconds in One-Legged King Pigeon, you will feel there is nothing you cannot do!
#4 Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
Your back was pretty arched in One-Legged King Pigeon, so now it is time to transition to a pose that stretches it out the other way. Exhale and step your left foot to Downward Facing Dog. Spread your palms and soles. Press the front of your thighs back as you press your inner hands firmly against the floor. Imagine that your torso is being stretched like a rubber band between the arms and legs. Allow your mind to focus on how strong and sturdy you feel in this pose. In Downward Facing Dog, your hands are as important as your feet. This is because the foundation is about growing your heart and feeling your strength.
#4 Ashta Chandrasana (Crescent High Lunge)
Slowly transition to standing up again. Exhale and step your right foot back into a lunge. Center your left knee over the heel so that your shin is perpendicular to the floor, and bring your left thigh parallel to the floor. Inhale and lengthen the torso along the front of the left thigh. Look forward without strain. Focus for a few minutes on the inner sun at your heart, which is the microcosmic equivalent of the outer sun at the heart of our solar system. Your inner sun represents the light of consciousness. Without our sun our world would not exist, just as our spiritual and mental self wouldn't exist without our inner sun. This yoga pose is a standing balancing asana and is close to the Warrior family of poses, so you can easily flow into Warrior I or Warrior II next if you’d like to add that in.
Spending time on our mat is an easy way to practice empowerment. Remember with each pose to validate yourself for your efforts. This kind of self love is a big part of a healthy lifestyle. You want to keep your body active, sleep deeply, and keep a great positive attitude. All of these are equally important, and yoga helps with each one!
Remember, experts agree that the best time to work in your exercise is in the morning. This will not only boost your mood for the day but also allow you to rest and reach restorative sleep at night. You may not want to create a yoga sequence that involves more than these four poses. Work on whatever flow feels great for you, adding in a Sun Salutation to your day each morning. The result will be feeling better about yourself than ever before. That is what empowerment is all about!