by Gabrielle Marchese: We all have a well of inner strength and power available to us…
At times, it is easy to feel at mercy to life’s circumstances and can feel difficult to access this innate resilience and inner power during challenges. Fortunately, there are practices and rituals that can help us stay centered and stoke this inner fire, so you stay grounded and steady amidst life’s changing tides. This yoga sequence is designed to help you tap into your inner well of strength so you can confidently move forward no matter what life throws your way.
Pranayama is a powerful way to clear the mind and encourage a positive state of being. Kapalabhati, or breath of fire, is a breath technique that will help you shed self-doubt and tap into your resilient spirit.
Begin in a comfortable position, spine upright and close your eyes. Take a few grounding deep breaths, then at the top of your next inhale, begin taking short and sharp exhales out of your nose, pumping your belly with every breath out. Repeat this for twenty rounds, holding the breath in for five seconds before exhaling. You can either repeat another round of twenty breaths, or return to a normal breathing pattern.
Come into table top position, wrists stacked underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips. Inhale and drop your belly as you direct your gaze toward the sky. As you exhale, press the mat away and hollow out your belly, gazing toward your navel. Repeat this pattern, linking breath to movement for ten rounds before returning to a neutral spine.
Tuck your toes under and press your palms into the mat. Extend your legs and reach your hips toward the ceiling for a downward facing dog. Hold here, taking any movements that feel good to you for five breaths. On your next exhale, step your right foot in between your hands and plant your left foot down on the mat at a 45-degree angle. Inhale to come up, exhale, bend your right leg at a 90-degree angle and extend your arms at shoulder height, coming into WII pose. Engage your core and gaze over your front middle finger for ten breaths.
From Warrior II, inhale to straighten your legs and turn to face the long edge of your mat. Exhale to bend both knees and cactus your arms out at shoulder height. Find a steady gaze and stay here in goddess pose for up to ten breaths.
From goddess pose, inhale to straighten both legs, then exhale to return to Warrior two at the top of your mat. Inhale to reverse your warrior, then exhale and plant your palms on either side of your right foot and transition through a vinyasa back to a downward facing dog. From here, inhale to extend your right leg long behind you, and on your exhale, press the mat away, rounding your spine as you crunch your knee into your chest, coming into cheetah pose. Inhale your leg long behind you, then exhale your knee into your chest and repeat this pattern three times.
From your three-legged dog, shift your weight into your left hand and bend your right leg so your heel is coming into your left glute. Begin to peel open through your side body, planting your right toes behind you and reaching your right arm overhead, coming into wild thing. Hold here, pressing into your right foot and opening up through your heart for five breaths, gently planting your right palm and transitioning through a downward facing dog when you finish.
Repeat this sequence on the other side, starting with WII pose. Take any grounding postures that feel good in your body when you are done, and finish with a five-minute savasana to let your practice soak in. Return to the rest of your day with a sense of strength and inner peace.