Yoga

Three Yoga Postures to Build Confidence While Pursuing Your Unique Purpose

Woman doing yoga by the lake on a misty morning
Young woman practicing yoga on the jetty by the lake on a foggy morning.

Following our own dharma takes courage. On the one hand it is deeply fulfilling and meaningful, and on the other hand it challenges us to overcome our limiting beliefs. Self-awareness and growth, again and again, are an essential part of the path. Obstacles appear, and we must figure out new ways to overcome them. Yoga gives us tools to find our inner strength and gain self-trust as we walk life’s path. Through the eight limbs of yoga, including asana (postures), we can continue to cultivate hope, inner peace, and resilience. Here are three postures that help us reconnect to our everlasting reservoir of inner strength.

Mountain Pose

Feet are hip-width distance apart, toes point forward.
Weight is distributed evenly in both feet.
Knees slightly bent, not locked.
Hips are aligned facing front.
Spine is long, without feeling strained.
Chest is lifted so that the posture is tall.
Shoulders are back and down, with ease.
Chin is tucked slightly so the back of the neck is long.
Crown of the head is pointing toward the sky.
Arms are relaxed down by the sides.

Once the posture is set in this way, energetically root down through the feet and engage the legs. Feel energy rise from the earth up the body.
Engage the hands by slightly spreading the fingers and pointing them toward the earth.
Relax the face, the jaw, the eyes. The gaze is soft looking front.
The body is energized feeling the earth’s support, without feeling tense or strained.

The breath flows in and out of the nose with ease.
Feel the belly and chest expand and relax with each breath.
Bring a gentle smile to the face.
Strong, steady, and easeful.

You are cultivating balance, strength, and resilience. Keep the gaze soft and steady in front. Keep relaxing the face. The body continues to be energetically engaged, not straining.

Allow yourself to feel strong and tall like a mountain, while at the same time at ease in the posture.

Hold for five to ten minutes. Then, release the posture and move the body slowly in a few different ways that feel comfortable to alleviate any stiffness.

For a modification to increase the difficulty, raise the arms up into a “v” position, fan the fingers, and reach up toward the sky.

Warrior I

Begin in Mountain Pose with arms down by the sides.
Slowly bend the knees and step the right foot straight back about three feet while the left knee stays bent.
The right heel stays lifted as the toes are turned under.
If you can easily balance, step the right foot back a couple more feet.
The left knee does not bend past the left ankle.
The hips face front and weight is evenly distributed front to back.
This is a balancing posture, with the left knee bent and the right leg extended back.
The feet are still hip-width distance apart, toes facing front.
The gaze is soft and steady.
The breath is even.
Place the hands on the hips.
To increase the difficulty, on an inhale raise the arms up into a “v” with the fingertips pointing toward the sky. Hold the arms up as you breathe steadily in and out.
Feel the strength in the legs, the strength in the arms, and the relaxation in any muscle that isn’t needed in this posture.

Hold for 5 minutes.

While in this posture, envision the goals you have in your life, and feel yourself strongly moving toward them. If you don’t have any specific goals, it is as powerful to envision yourself strong and steady taking one step at a time on life’s path.

To release the posture, step the right foot up in line with the left. Then, repeat the posture, this time stepping the left foot back.

Goddess Pose

Begin in Mountain Pose with arms down by the sides.
Inhale and on the exhale step the right foot out to the side to create a wide, balanced stance.
Slightly pivot each foot so the toes point outward at 45-degree angles from the front of the room.
Inhale and reach the arms out to the sides.
Gaze is soft and forward.
Exhale, bend both knees, firmly pressing down through the feet.
With the arms out to the sides, bend the elbows so the forearms rise up parallel to the head and the palms face each other. Each arm is in an L-shape.
Widen the stance to the place where you can easily balance with both feet on the floor and the knees do not bend past the ankles.
Hold Goddess Pose for a couple of moments as the legs and arms feel energized.

Release the pose. Take a break for a moment, then hold the posture again a couple more times, for a few moments each time.

Each of these three postures brings energy into the legs and arms, helps cultivate balance and steadiness, and increases your ability to stay calm and relaxed while holding a challenging posture.

These postures look and seem simple. It is the holding that creates the conditions for one to practice steadiness and ease in mind and body. Let the breath continue to flow in and out, keep the gaze steady, and notice as you release the posture how you feel: perhaps more energized, stronger, and balanced.

Practicing these postures creates more than physical strength and balance, it also trains the mind to be more steady, focused, and resilient as you move toward your biggest goals, accomplish them, and move on to the next on your unique path.


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