We are living in the age of what I like to call “Pinterest fitness” where people are constantly trying to sell their readers on ridiculous fitness or diet claims. Have you seen these? This workout plan will give you washboard abs in one week! Or worse, This yoga routine will attract the dream man into your dreams! Yeah, it drives me nuts too. That’s why I make it a major point to never make any crazy claims about what my yoga sequences can do for you. However, today’s yoga sequence was designed to encourage more confidence and this really works!
There are many strategies we can use to increase our confidence. We can take a solid look at the limiting or false beliefs we have about ourselves and rewrite the story. We can raise our curiosity levels, face our fears, and try new things to feel more confident in our capabilities. I could continue this list, but I want to chat about a way to gain a quick boost of confidence – using our yoga practice.
According to Harvard Business School professor, Amy Cuddy, we can exert confidence through our posture, or what she calls power poses. She describes power poses as postures that are open and expansive. For example, in a “Wonder Women” pose, the chest is lifted open and expanding. It is a strong stance. Furthermore, these postures actually help the body to produce higher levels of testosterone which correlates to higher levels of confidence.
“Our bodies change our minds and our minds change our behavior and our behavior changes our outcomes.” – Amy Cuddy
This sequence is designed to expand your chest, boost your testosterone levels, and leave you feeling powerful and confident.
Here is a break down of the first flow and each move:
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Stand at the front of the mat with the feet about hip distance apart. Spread the toes wide and press all four corners of the feet into the mat. Activate the legs, tuck the pelvis slightly under, and pull the bellybutton in towards the spine. Arms should be by your sides, palms facing forwards, allowing the shoulder blades to pull down and back, expanding the chest. The top of the head presses up towards the ceiling as the feet press into the floor, lengthening the spine.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
From mountain pose, reach the hands up over hand while bending the knees, as if sitting back into a chair. The pelvis should be tucked under, belly drawn in, and the shoulders rolled back. Try to get the thighs parallel with the ground if possible.
Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
Start standing in tadasana. On an exhale, hinge forward at the waist with a straight back and bring your hand towards the ground. Depending on flexibility, bring your hands to the shins, floor, or yoga block. You can also keep a slight bend in the knee. Allow the hand and shoulder to relax downwards.
Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)
From the top of a push-up, or plank pose, begin lowering down to the bottom of a push-up while keeping the elbows squeezed in by the sides. For beginners, you can lower the knees to the mat to support the body as you lower done. Additionally, you can lower all of the way onto the belly. For intermediate students, do not allow the chest to fall to the floor, but rather hold the bottom of the push-up, elbows squeezed in, and making about a 90 degree angle with the arms. Avoid letting the chest fall forward or lifting the pelvis.
Upward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)
Start laying on your belly with the feet stretched back behind with the tops of the feet pressed into the mat. Bring the palms underneath the shoulders, fingers spread wide, and the elbows are pulled in. On an inhale, press into the palms as you pull the body slightly forward and straighten into both arms. The torso and chest should open forward and the tops of the thighs are lifted from the ground. Lift the tailbone towards the pubis, keeping the buttock relaxed and the hips squared forward.
Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
From hand and knees, place the knees directly underneath the hips and the feet hip distance apart. Hands should reach out in front of the shoulder with the fingers spread wide and the palms fully pressing into the floor. Lifting the knees off of the floor, reach the tailbone up towards the ceiling and straighten into the legs. Press the heels towards the floor and look up at the belly button, relaxing the tops of the shoulders.
One-Legged Downward Facing Dog (Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Starting in downward facing dog, reach the right foot off the ground behind you. Energize the leg by pressing through the heel and making sure that weight is evenly distributed between both hands.
Wild Thing (Camatkarasana)
From one-legged downward facing dog, begin bending into the right leg and open the hip to the right side. Bring the body weight into the left hand and foot. Gently rotate the body until the right foot can drop to the floor behind the left leg. The right hand will reach overhead, continuing to press the weight of the body into the left hand and leg. Lift the hips and up focus on expanding through the chest.
Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
From downward facing dog, step the right foot up in between the hands, making sure that the knee is stacked right over the foot. Step the left foot slightly out to the side and angle the foot at a 45 degree angle to the front of the mat. Center your hips forward by pressing your left hip towards the front of the mat. Reach the hands over head, keeping the shoulders drawn back and the belly pulled in.
Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
From Warrior I with the right foot in front, bring both hands to heart center to find stability. Step the back foot closer to the front as you bring the weight of the body into the right foot. As you start to straighten into the right leg, press the left leg back behind you, lifting the toes off of the ground and pressing the top of the head forward. Aim to straighten fully into both legs fully, creating the shape of a “T” with the body. Keep the left hip dropped in line with the right hip and press into the heel for stability. Optional: Reach the arms forward, back, or out to the side to play with different variations.
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
From Warrior III, step your left foot back, about 3.5 to 4 feet apart. Reach both arms out to the side, actively reaching through the fingers with the palms facing downward. Turn the right foot towards the front of the mat and angle the left foot at ninety degrees. Bending into your right leg, try and get the thigh to be parallel with the ground and the knee directly stacked on top of the ankle. The left leg will remain straight and strong. Continuing to reach through the fingertips, pull the shoulder blades back and lift into the chest, gazing at your right fingertips. The torso should be stacked directly above the hips, not reaching forwards or backwards.
Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana)
From Warrior II, reach into the front hand and lift the hand up overhead. At the same time, place the back hand on the top of the back thigh. Bend deeper into the front knee, keeping the back leg strong and straight. Keep the chest open by pulling the shoulders back and reaching the chest towards the ceiling. The gaze can float up to the lifted hand.
Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Beginning in mountain pose, plant your left foot firmly on to the ground, spreading the toes and energizing the leg. Bring your right toes to the side of the left foot and open the right knee out to the side, hands pressed together at heart center. To intensify this balancing pose, place the bottom of the right foot to the inside of the left calf or thigh. If stable, hands can be extended overhead. To find stability in this pose, pull the belly button in and focus your gaze at one point directly in front of you. Repeat on the other side.
Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana)
From hands and knees, place the hands directly underneath the shoulders, pressing into the palms, and lifting into the tops of the shoulders. Tuck the toes and step each foot back, bringing your body into one straight line. Tuck the pelvis, pull the bellybutton up towards the spine, and press the thighs together. Aim to make one long line with the body, not allowing the tailbone to lift or the hips to drop too low.
Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
Starting in downward facing dog, pull the right knee up in between the hands, resting it own on the inside of the right foot. Gently lower the body onto the ground, reaching through the left toes. Press your fingertips into the ground and lift up through the torso, opening the chest. Try to balance the weight evenly between your right and left hip.
Locust Post (Salabhasana)
To begin, rest onto the belly, pull the arms back to the sides with the palms facing upwards, and rest the forehead onto the mat. On an inhale, lift the head, arms, and chest off the ground, reaching into the fingertips to pull the shoulder blades together and back. Aim to open the chest. Intensify this posture by lifting the legs off the ground, squeezing the thighs together and pressing through the back toes. The gaze is slightly forward, but do not allow the chin to stick out.
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Start laying on the belly, reaching both hands back behind you. Bend into both knees and reach the hands back to grab the ankles or tops of the feet. Lift the chest and thighs off the floor, using the bind of the legs and hands to pull the chest higher off the ground and squeeze the shoulder blades together. The neck should remain neutral, not lifting the chin up towards the ceiling, and the knees are hip distance apart.
If this pose is too challenges, skip this one and do another round of Locust.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Don’t skip this one! This may not seem like it, but it is the most difficult yoga pose that you can accomplish. Laying flat on your back, bring the arms to your side with the palms up, allowing the shoulders to roll back. Allow the toes to fall out to the side and tuck the chin in slightly to make sure the back of the neck is straight. Relax the body as much as you can and rest here for 3-5 minutes.
Ready to feel empowered, confident, and strong? Keep this routine nearby you by printing out this one page PDF.
Questions about the routine or how to increase confidence off the mat? Comment below and let’s keep the conversation going!