Infuse each asana with an empowering affirmation to fully embody the qualities of the pose both physically and mentally. Practiced daily, this sequence may repattern your mind, body, and spirit to let go of fear and uncertainty and embrace strength.
This sequence is designed to flow poetically, inspiring you to move with a higher purpose. Through this entire sequence, an echoing affirmation will assign more meaning to your movement from one pose to the next. You will recalibrate your mind and body, as you recite the poem with either your audible or internal voice. From time to time, we have to battle the war within and this sequence is a weapon for inner combat.
If you practice this sequence for a week, you may notice an increase in awareness, confidence, self-respect, a sense of clarity and physical and mental strength. The beauty of this sequence is that it reminds the practitioner to embody the characteristics that service you through asana. Practicing this way can help you let go of uncertainty in your life. Maybe it’s a fear of public speaking—repeating the affirmations audibly is a good practice.
The Poetic Flow
Use this poem to take you through the sequence, embodying it both physically and mentally, as you repeat the designated portion of it with each pose.
Be patient with your body to avoid and prevent injuries.
1. Mountain Pose
“I embody the strength of a mountain”
Soften your face. Stand with your legs strong, hip-width apart. Press your palms together at the center of your chest, balancing the weight of the body evenly, making sure not to favor your right leg or your left leg in weight distribution. Stand tall and reach up through the crown of your head and embody the strength of a mountain. Take 3–5 breaths.
On your inhalation keep your right leg forward and step your left foot back about 3 feet. Bend your right knee over your right ankle, keeping a 90-degree angle in your right foot. Pivot your left foot out to about a 45-degree angle with the sole of your foot facing down. Be mindful of the sensation in your left ankle, check for any discomfort and adjust accordingly. Bring your pelvis to neutral. Lift your torso and raise your arms to shoulder height, so they’re parallel to the floor. Place your arms directly over your legs with your palms facing down. Actively reach in both directions with your fingertips. Activate your thighs and take 3–5 breaths.
Keep your right leg forward and left leg back. Reach forward with your right hand and torso on your next inhalation and keep your legs firm and neutral. On your exhalation bring your left hand to gently land on your left leg (not applying too much pressure) and reach your right arm over the body parallel to the floor. Sink lower in your hips as you lengthen through the sides of your body. Slide your back hand further down your leg and come into a slight backbend. Actively press your right foot down and take 3–5 breaths.
On your next exhalation, place your right forearm on your right thigh and reach your left arm overhead. Activate your left leg by tightening your thigh. To deepen the pose, bring your right hand to the floor, placing your fingertips next to the inside or outside of your right foot. Create a straight line from your left hand to your left foot and take 3–5 breaths.
As you inhale, wrap your right arm under your left arm and if possible, bring your palms together. Continue to keep the right knee bent over the ankle and left leg straight. Poetically rise into Warrior l with eagle arms, keeping your legs active. As the left hip points forward, press the head of the left femur back to ground the heel and take 3–5 breaths.
Gently release your hands from Eagle Arms and prepare yourself to balance on one leg. Keep your right knee bent and place your right hand 6 inches in front of your right foot. Place your left hand on your left hip. Begin to lift your left leg and align your front heel with the arch of your back foot. Reach actively through your left heel. You can straighten your right leg for more of a challenge or keep a soft microbend in the knee. When you feel grounded, reach your left hand up to the sky. You can choose to look up at your left hand or look down to the floor, whichever feels better for your neck. Take 3–5 breaths.
“But like Jiva, this is the immortal essence of living”
Prepare to come down to a seated position from Half Moon. From Half Moon, bring both hands to the floor for support and begin to bend both knees. Bring the left knee behind the right knee and begin to lower down to the floor. Allow the outside edge of the left foot to release down first. Keep 90 percent of the weight of your body in your hands and right foot. Then gently release the outside of your left shin to the floor and come into a seated position with the right leg crossed over the left leg.
On your next inhalation, reach both arms up toward the sky and exhale the hands down to the floor on the left side of your body. With your hands flat on the floor to your left, shift the weight into your hands and in a spinning motion lift your hips up, come onto your tiptoes, twist to the left, and continue to rotate your body toward the left. (That should be fun.) Now your right leg should be on the bottom and your left leg on top.
From your seated position, extend your left leg back behind you. Straighten your left leg and let the front of your thigh sit on the floor. Make sure your left leg is extended straight and not veering to one side. Step 3. Check and make sure your back thigh is rotating inward. Step 4. Press all five toes of your back foot into the mat. Step 5. Lower your hips down to the floor. Position your right heel so it is in front of your left hip. Step 6. To elongate your spin, root your finger tips down and lift from your head and chest. Step 7. After 3-5 breaths release your forehead down towards the floor and hold for 3-5 more breaths.
Denver-based Yoga teacher Tyrone Beverly is the Founder and Executive Director of Im’Unique, a nonprofit uniting communities and fostering healthy lifestyles within them through holistic wellness education. A leading advocate for inclusivity and diversity in yoga, Beverly is passionately dedicated to equality, humans rights, unity, and physical and social health. Learn more on imunique.org and Facebook.