7 Intermediate Yoga Poses & Self-Affirmations to Ground You in Power & Confidence
How can you have more courage, calmness, and confidence?
We all struggle to achieve these three things for ourselves. Work can bring stress that affects our sense of calm and can drop our confidence. Relationships hit rough patches that impact those areas too, and being fearful of finding ourselves alone lowers our courage.
Sometimes, when the grind of everyday life gets to you, you need ways to find some balance, build yourself back up, and get stronger.
How can you achieve all of this? We’re here to share some yoga poses and positive affirmations that can counter negative statements and insecurity and build your brain power to help you be greater!
Power Yoga for Beginners
You may not be very familiar with how yoga can benefit you and probably think it’s not as effective as a trip to the gym. However, doing yoga is a fairly intense workout for your body and mind that can be done almost anywhere (no gym membership required!) and doesn’t require any equipment beyond a bit of padding.
Yoga is a mind and body practice that combines physical poses, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. Practicing yoga can promote endurance, strength, calmness, flexibility, and physical and mental well-being. Yoga has its roots in Eastern medicine and philosophy, and there are many different styles to be practiced.
Yoga is practiced by over 300 million people worldwide, mostly due to its long history in Asia. Its popularity has risen greatly in the United States over the last five years — the number of practitioners has grown by almost 50% in that time! Just listen to the radio, and you’ll probably hear an ad for Hot Yoga or Pilates classes in your area.
Because of its long history and variety of styles, yoga has a lot of adaptability. No matter your size or fitness level, there are poses you can use to build a routine for yourself. Yoga requires greater concentration than traditional gym workouts where you focus on repeating sets or popping in your earbuds to use a treadmill or exercise bike. You have to concentrate on performing poses properly and regulating your breathing, which frees your mind. Instead of thinking about what bills need to be paid or work needs to be done, you’re focused on yoga.
With the philosophical basis of yoga, the poses are designed to build up certain characteristics in the practitioner. Let’s dive deeper into some intermediate-level yoga poses that can help you build more courage, calmness, and confidence.
7 Yoga Poses for Courage
Courage is defined as having the mental or moral strength to persevere and withstand fear or difficulty. The following yoga poses are said to help the practitioner ground themself and attain balance and increase their fortitude, leading to a feeling of empowerment.
#1: Eagle Pose
The Eagle Pose, or Garudasana, is a stretching, strengthening, twisting, balancing, and standing type of pose. It improves posture and compresses all the major joints like hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. Eagle Pose helps strengthen your legs and tone your core and back muscles while stimulating blood flow throughout the body.
#2: Crow Pose
The Crow Pose, or Kakasana, is a balancing and strengthening type of pose. It improves focus, balance, and coordination and stretches the muscles in your back, hips, and glutes. Crow Pose strengthens your shoulders and arms and tones your core, chest, and back.
#3: Mountain Pose
The Mountain Pose, or Tadasana, is a standing type of yoga pose. While it is a beginner form, Mountain Pose is also a rest pose that is the foundation of most standing forms of yoga. It improves your posture, helps realign your joints, and strengthens your legs and core.
#4: Tree Pose
The Tree Pose, or Vrksasana, is a standing type of pose that has variations that can help with balancing and strengthening. It improves your posture and alignment and is a great form if you sit for long periods while working. Tree Pose helps strengthen your core, back, glutes, and legs in its base form, and variations offer benefits for your shoulders.
#5: Warrior Pose
There are actually five different Warrior Poses, or Vīrabhadrasana, and they make up the Dancing Warrior Sequence. All five are standing type poses that strengthen your core, glutes, and legs while improving your balance and flexibility. Performing the entire Dancing Warrior Sequence can be a great workout in itself, as each of the five poses engages different muscle groups, and the sequence takes time to complete.
#6: Lizard Pose
The Lizard Pose, or Utthan Pristhasana, is a stretching type of pose focusing on the hips, hamstrings, quadriceps, chest, and ankles. It strengthens the glutes and shoulders and stimulates your internal organs, potentially boosting your body’s natural detoxification process.
#7: Pyramid Pose
The Pyramid Pose, or Parsvottanasana, is an inversion, stretching, balancing, and standing type of pose that stretches your spine, hips, chest, and shoulders. It builds your core and leg strength while improving your coordination, balance, and mental focus.
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7 Yoga Poses for Confidence
Yoga enhances your ability to feel changes in and be more attuned to your body. By encouraging you to focus on getting into form and controlling your breathing, yoga helps clear your mind and build a greater sense of self-control. The mental and physical strengthening that comes with practicing yoga can significantly increase your confidence level.
#1: Revolved Side Angle Pose
The Revolved Side Angle Pose, or Parivrtta Parsvakonasana, is a stretching, strengthening, balancing, and twisting type of yoga pose. The pose stretches your neck, shoulders, chest, back, quadriceps, and hamstrings, benefiting almost your entire body. The Revolved Side Angle pose tones your core and legs, especially your knees, ankles, and feet.
#2: Dolphin Pose
The Dolphin Plank Pose, or Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana, is a strengthening type of pose that engages your core and is great for building endurance and stability. It is an entire body strengthener that works your arms, chest, and core and helps improve posture issues from sitting over long periods.
#3: Boat Pose
The Boat Pose, or Navasana, is a balancing, strengthening, and seated type of yoga form that focuses on your core, glutes, and quads. It promotes greater flexibility in your lower back, hamstrings, calves, and ankles. The Boat Pose makes you really focus on breathing, which can boost energy and combat fatigue by opening your lungs and increasing your oxygen intake.
#4: Half Pigeon Pose
The Half Pigeon Pose, or Ardha Kapotasana, is a stretching and restorative type of pose that is adaptable for beginners or intermediate-level yoga practitioners. It improves your posture by opening your chest and forcing your shoulders back while offering a good stretch for your hips and groin.
#5: Dancer’s Pose
The Dancer’s Pose, or Natarajasana, is a stretching, strengthening, balancing, and standing type of pose that improves focus and balance and boosts your energy. It engages your core and helps tone your balancing leg while stretching your raised leg.
#6: Wild Thing Pose
While the name makes it sound ridiculous, the Wild Thing Pose, or Camatkarasana, is a balancing and twisting type of yoga pose. It stretches the entire front of your body, including your chest and core, while working your core, back, shoulders, and arms.
#7: Four Limbed Staff
The Four Limbed Staff Pose, or Chaturanga Dandasana, is a balancing and strengthening foundational pose used in many other forms. It engages and strengthens your core while boosting your energy and building your confidence level.
7 Yoga Poses to Promote Calmness
At its center, yoga is based on meditation and breathing. Because of this, many yoga poses encourage relaxation and help you achieve a sense of peaceful calm. Focusing on your breathing rhythms will make your mind clear and your stress level drop.
#1: Baby Grasshopper Pose
The Baby Grasshopper Pose, or Bala Parsva Bhuja Dandasana, is a twisting and balancing form that is the beginning point of the more complex Grasshopper Pose. Even with that, it is still a challenging pose that stretches your hips, hamstrings, and lower back, which also helps relieve tension.
#2: Scale Pose
The Scale Pose, or Tolasana, is a strengthening and balancing type of pose that is a more advanced version of the Lotus Pose. It builds strength in your core, arms, and wrists and improves your balance.
#3: The Plow
The Plow Pose, or Halasana, is a stretching and restorative form that stretches your entire body by way of inversion. Since the Plow requires you to lay on your back and angle your feet over your head, you stretch your lower back and hamstrings while strengthening your core. It is a great way to relieve back pain from prolonged sitting, stress, and anxiety.
#4: The Fire Log
The Fire Log Pose, or Agnistambhasana, is a stretching and seated yoga pose that can help with discomfort caused by sitting or standing for much of your day. Because it deeply stretches your hips, groin, and inner thighs, the Fire Log can relieve sciatica pain, tone your core muscles, and improve your posture.
#5: Half Moon Pose
The Half Moon Pose, or Ardha Chandrasana, is a strengthening, balancing, and stretching type of pose that improves your balance and coordination. It can help your focus because it requires great concentration to balance, and it strengthens your core and legs.
#6: Fish Pose
The Fish Pose, or Matsyasana, is a stretching form that focuses on your neck and shoulders. It strengthens your upper back muscles and deltoids while improving spinal mobility, especially in your neck. The Fish Pose helps increase your energy level and reduces feelings of fatigue and anxiety.
#7: Reclined Hand to Big Toe
Although it’s a mouthful to say, the Reclined Hand to Big Toe Pose, or Supta Padangusthasana, is a stretching type of pose. It builds strength in your core, hamstrings, and quads while helping with sciatic pain. You can also hold on to your raised leg in the Reclined Hand to Big Toe Pose to get a good stretch in your arms and shoulders.
Some Positive Affirmations to Enhance Your Yoga
Yoga is a great way to build strength in your body and mind, but you can boost the mental benefits by adding some self-affirmations!
Affirmations are short, positive statements that reinforce your belief in yourself and counter any negative feelings you may have. You can either speak them aloud or read them from cards when you need a boost, and there are many ways to use them, depending on your individual needs.
It may sound like a waste of time, and you might feel that repeating a few sentences won’t change your thinking. But it’s been scientifically proven that affirmations can rewire our way of thinking and benefit our mental health. Our brains have a unique ability to adapt to different circumstances called neuroplasticity. Your brain can be tricked into confusing imagination with reality. As a result of neuroplasticity, using affirmations can take advantage of this feature to essentially reprogram your brain.
While we will share a few of our favorite affirmations here, there are many good resources online to find affirmations that might best work for you. It may feel silly at first to use affirmations, but the benefits far outweigh a little private embarrassment!
Here are seven affirmations to get you started:
- I believe in my abilities.
- I am stronger than my fears.
- It’s okay to leave my comfort zone.
- Every day, I become a better version of myself.
- I deserve to feel good about myself
- My happiness and well-being are important.
- The road to improvement is paved in challenges, and I can overcome them.
You can carry positivity forward by starting your day with a quick affirmation. Instead of worrying about traffic on your work commute or what tasks lay ahead, you can boost your confidence to face it all. After a couple of weeks, you’ll find yourself feeling more empowered in your attitude and thinking.
Be a Stronger, Better You
Using yoga and affirmations are just two ways to build strength in your body and mind. Here at Greatness, we can help you achieve even more! Kathryn Budig is a renowned yoga teacher who shares some ways to build a better you through yoga here. You can boost the benefits of daily affirmations by following the advice of Dr. Daniel Amen.
Live well, be more, and be great!