Confidence feels great on everyone: It makes you feel good, and it makes those around you feel comfortable. Here are a few yoga poses that can take your self-esteem up to the next level, whether you are prepping for a really important meeting, job interview, date, or are just having a "blah" day and need a quick pick-me-up. Try any three of these or more at a time, and you will feel ready to take on the rest of your day with true confidence...and maybe even a little extra swagger!
The first three poses (sphinx, supported bridge, and warrior I) are suitable for everyone. For the slightly more adventurous, we recommend the middle three (warrior III, tree with back arch, headstand prep, and wheel), and for the advanced student, have fun with the last three poses (forearm stand, handstand rocks, and handstand). As with everything in yoga, do these advanced moves one breath at a time; only try what makes sense for your body today.
And as always: Remember to breathe and have fun!
Sphinx Pose: Lie on your stomach, place elbows underneath shoulders, and pull chest forward as you press shoulders down and together. Stay for 5 deep breaths, breathing length between each vertebra from tailbone to the crown of your head.
|Supported Bridge: Lie on back, bend knees, and place feet hip-distance apart under knees. Lift hips, place a block at whatever setting feels best for your back, and lower sacrum onto the block. (Adjust the block as necessary). Release arms to either side and breathe here for at least 5 deep breaths. Come onto balls of feet, lift hips, remove the block off the side, and gently release back onto the ground.|
|Warrior I: From down dog, step right foot forward between hands, spin left heel down with the foot slightly angled out, press into feet, and reach arms up to the ceiling, framing face. Breathe here for 5 deep breaths. Repeat on left side.|
|Warrior III with Outstreched Arms: From standing forward bend, walk hands under shoulders, placing them on the floor (or on blocks if the floor feels too far away). Transfer weight to left foot, bend left knee slightly, and float right leg high behind you. Reach through right heel and internally rotate right thigh so toes point toward the ground. If you feel steady, lift arms off the ground and reach them forward, framing your face. Stay here for 5 deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.|
|Tree with Back Arch: Standing tall with soft knees, bend left knee and open from hip out to the left. Keeping hip open, place left foot inside right thigh or shin. (You can also place the ball of left foot on the ground with your heel on the inside of your right calf.) Clasp hands behind sacrum and use each inhale to lift chest a bit higher and each exhale to lengthen through tailbone and lean back a little bit. Stay here for 5 deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.|
|Wheel: Lie on back with knees bent and feet on the ground hip-width apart. Bend elbows and place hands on either side of head shoulder-width apart with fingers pointing toward shoulders. Pressing into feet and hands equally, lift hips and lengthen arms. Keep pressing into feet through big toes and reach chest away from feet as you stay here for 5 deep breaths. (Be sure to tuck your chin to your chest before you slowly come down.)|
|Headstand Prep: Start on knees, interlace fingers loosely, and place them on the ground. Place top of head on the ground so fingers hold the back of your head. Stay here for a few breaths to get comfortable. Tuck toes and straighten legs. Start to walk feet toward body so hips line up over shoulders and back is straight up and down. Breathe here for 5 deep breaths.|
|Forearm Stand: Begin on hands and knees facing a wall. Hold opposite elbows to get shoulder’s distance and then parallel forearms to one another with fingertips grazing the wall and lift hips high into dolphin. Walk feet toward elbows and lift right leg toward the ceiling. Come onto the ball of left foot and start to rock forward and eventually lift both legs off the ground. Try to stay here for 5 deep breaths.|
|Handstand Rocks: From a forward fold with fingertips on the ground, soften through knees and transfer weight into right leg, tipping weight forward so left leg extends back behind you. Press palms firmly on the ground under shoulders and straighten arms. Keep left leg lifted and rock forward and back, just starting to get hips over shoulders. Start to take small hops on right leg. When you hop up, lift left leg high so hips are over shoulders and keep right leg dangling down so your legs are in an “L” shape. Keep breathing though the entire movement, inhaling as you rock or lightly hop up, and exhaling as you release. (Be sure to keep super soft knees so that when you land you aren’t putting stress on your joints.) Do 5 rocks on each side.|
|Handstand: Play around with this pose at a wall until you feel comfortable doing it away from the wall. From a forward fold, press palms firmly into the ground about a foot and a half in front of feet, shoulder-distance apart. Lift left leg toward the ceiling, coming high onto the ball of right foot. Using left leg to lift you, transfer weight onto hands or take little hops off right foot until you are upside down or against the wall, keeping legs split. Engage shoulder blades down and together on back, and press into fingertips for extra energy. If you would like to lift bottom leg to meet the top in the air or at the wall, go for it! Stay here for 5 deep breaths—or as many as is comfortable—then repeat on the other side.|
Photos by Vera Boykewich