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In honor of V-Day and One Billion Rising, Sadie Nardini, founder of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga and a survivor of physical violence, created an yoga empowering sequence for women.
It’s V-Day on Saturday! No, we’re not talking about Valentine’s Day (though it’s that, too). V-Day is the worldwide movement to end violence against women and girls founded by The Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler. February 14 also marks the third anniversary of the One Billion Rising campaign, a call to action based on the shocking statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls.
In honor of this year’s Rising (a new escalation that calls for a radical shift to end the global epidemic of abuse that women face worldwide), Sadie Nardini, founder of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga and a survivor of physical violence, created an empowering sequence for women.
“As a physical violence and abuse survivor — and thriver — one of my central aims in life is to help other women like me find their power,” she says. “This to me doesn’t mean the power over anyone else, which can be a destructive and disempowering way to become just the same as the ones who hurt us. Rather, I love to see women reclaiming their power over their own happiness, and their ability to love themselves more than they ever thought possible. This finally breaks the cycle of toxicity, repetitive relationship dysfunction, and despair from the inside out.”
Nardini says this sequence will help you draw into your self-relationship in order to drop the baggage from around the heart, “so you can more easily let go and let be the heaviness of the past but retain the ability to set empowering boundaries from here on out with an open heart — and a strong core.”
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
This pose brings your energy immediately inward and down to the earth, even as you rise — open-hearted — from this new, grounded place,” Nardini says.
Come to stand at the front of your mat, feet separated a few inches. Bend your knees and slide your sitting bones back in space, pulling the knees back. Draw your lower belly and front lumbar spine gently in and up to support your lower back and open the hip crease area. Lift your heart and reach your arms to the sky. Take 3-5 breaths in Chair Pose.
Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)
This pose will inspire a deep core connection and empowerment, as well as the new spaciousness required to cleanse and heal,” Nardini says.
On an exhale, bring your palms together and twist your left elbow to your right knee. Tack your sitting bones back and open the base of the pelvis to the sides. Slide your belly in and up and your armpits back and wide. Breathe into the belly and pelvis on your inhales, creating more softness, and on your exhales, hug the pelvic floor and low belly inward and upward as if to lift a flame burning in the center of your pelvis up toward the navel. Take 3–5 breaths in Revolved Chair Pose.
Revolved Lunge Pose
This pose increases stamina and helps you clear away old toxic buildup from the body, mind, and heart,” Nardini says.
Maintain the upper-body alignment of Revolved Chair Pose, but shift your weight onto your right foot. Lift your front lumbar spine to draw the left foot off the ground, knee toward the chest. Try to balance as you slowly step the left foot back into a Revolved Lunge position. Press your lifted heel to straighten your left leg and square your pelvis toward the floor. Roll a wave along the front spine as the lower belly draws lightly in and up to decompress the low back and inspire length through the crown. Slide your armpits back and widen the shoulders naturally. Take 3–5 breaths here.
High Lunge with Fists of Fire
This core strength mudra, or hand position, signifies the capability you have to be dedicated to your inner power, while remaining resilient and not hard,” Nardini says.
On an exhale, wave up through an active lower belly and front lumbar spine and come into High Lunge, arms unfurling up to the sky. Stay liquid and strong in your body as you inhale here, and exhale, hugging that pelvic and belly flame in and up as you bend your elbows and bring your hands in fists down by your hips. Repeat High Lunge (inhale) to Fists of Fire Lunge (exhale) 3–5 times.
Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This shoulder blade alignment here opens the front of the chest without dropping into your lower back or shoulder joints, allowing for a free flow of healing energy,” Nardini says.
Plant your hands down on the mat with strong fingertips. Step back into your Downward-Facing Dog. Gently lift the front belly, front ribcage, and armpits away from the mat. Then slide your shoulder blades down the back and wide into a neutral position. Enjoy 5 breaths here.
Revolved Downward-Facing Dog (Parivrtta Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Add a feel-good side stretch to your Down Dog to prepare for Vasisthasana.
In Downward-Facing Dog, with firm fingertips and a long spine, lift the heels and bend the knees. Spin both knees to the right. Stretch through the right side of the chest, spine, and hip. Take 3–5 breaths here. Then inhale to prepare for Side Plank.
Also seeSide Stretch Satisfaction
Supported Side Plank (Vasisthasana)
This foot variation of Side Plank activates your adductors, or inner thighs — an instrumental part of your deep core chain of muscles
On an exhale, from Revolved Downward-Facing Dog, leave your feet spaced one in front of the other (not stacked), and simply straighten your legs, bring your shoulder over your hands like in Plank Pose. Spin your hips and legs to the right. Root through your left hand and fingertips and lift your right arm to the waist or into the air. Lift your hips away from the mat and sweep the front spine inward and up for more lightness. Hug both feet into the ground and toward one another. Take 1–3 breaths here.
When finished with this sequence, return to Downward-Facing Dog for 5 breaths or take a moment in Child’s Pose. “Breathe inward and down to release and relax your belly on the inhales. On the exhales, hug the low belly in and up to remind yourself of your capacity for both inner strength and letting go of what no longer serves your growth,” Nardini says.
Come into Downward-Facing Dog, walk your feet to hands, roll up to stand and begin the sequence again on the other side.
Also seeSally Kempton’s Just Let Go
About Sadie Nardini
Sadie Nardini is the author of 21-Day Yoga Body and host of Rock Your Yoga, a faculty member at Omega and Kripalu, as well as a presenter at Yoga Journal conferences and yoga expert for the Dr. Oz-based website Sharecare.
Check out Sadie Nardini’s yoga inspiration and motivation on social media.