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A few months ago, I took a giant leap of faith and left my Colorado yoga community—where I enrolled in my first teacher training and became a yoga teacher in 2009—and headed West to begin my new life as a teacher in one of the biggest yoga hubs in the country: San Francisco!
Even though I consider myself to be strong in the face of adversity and up for a challenge, I was filled with fear as I embarked on this new adventure. Doubt crept in, along with a lack of confidence. I asked myself: Who am I to come in and teach among this group of talented and seasoned yogis? What do I have to share that is unique to this community? How good of a teacher am I, really?
But then I realized something: the talented Colorado yoga community that supported me for the past decade had prepared me for this. “I am capable,” I told myself. “I am ready. I got this.” Fortunately, San Francisco seems to agree, and the city has embraced me with open arms. When I think about my experience thus far, I am so proud that I overcame my fear and found success in a new environment. Need a little boost of courage to take on your next big challenge? Check out my empowering sequence below—which includes big, expansive poses like Side Plank and Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose—to help you build confidence, overcome fear, and break out of your comfort zone.
Sequence for Overcoming Fear with #YJInfluencer Denelle Numis
Melting Heart Pose (Anahatasana)
Begin on all fours in a tabletop position. Stack your hips over your knees and curl your toes under for added stability. Keep the hips stacked and extend both arms straight out in front of you, creating a deep arch in your spine. Allow the chest, chin, or forehead to rest on the mat. Hold the pose for 3-5 breaths, allowing space on the inhalation and depth on the exhalation.
Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
On an exhalation, step one foot forward and drop the back knee down to come into Low Lunge. Inhale, reach your arms up and overhead and let the shoulders hike up by the ears as your bring your hands together to touch. Allow the hips to descend toward the mat, but find a lift in the lower abdomen to support your lower back. Flow with your breath to Half Splits (see next slide).
Half Splits (Ardha Hanumanasana)
From Low Lunge, plant the fingertips on the mat and retract the hips back to Half Splits pose.
Inhale, draw the sitting bones back and extend the spine long. Exhale, keep the spine long and
soften at the elbow joints to draw your heart forward and extend the hamstrings long. Pulse between Half Splits and Low Lunge 3-5 times, following your breath and honoring your level of flexibility.
See also Take the Leap: Monkey God Pose
Revolved Crescent Lunge (Parivrtta Anjaneyasana)
From Low Lunge, inhale and rise into High Lunge with the arms reaching up overhead. Bring the hands to Prayer in front of your heart space; exhale, twist your torso toward the bent front knee, and connect the opposite elbow toward your outer thigh. On an inhalation, extend the spine long and on an exhalation, rotate the spine deeper into the twist. Hold for 3 breaths.
See also Master Revolved Abdomen Pose
Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
Drop the back heel flat so you find heel to arch alignment between the feet. Place your arm inside the front leg and connect your elbow toward your front knee. Extend the opposite arm up overhead or alongside your top ear as you twist the torso toward the sky for Extended Side Angle Pose. Feel the connection of elbow to knee. Inhale to extend the spine, exhale to rotate the spine. Hold and breathe for 3-5 breath cycles.
See also 9 Poses Your Hips Need Now
Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
From Extended Side Angle Pose, place your front hand outside or on top of the shin and extend
the front leg toward straight. Extend your top arm toward the sky or laterally alongside the ear for Extended Triangle Pose.
Anchor down through the back leg and draw your top ribs toward your hip to engage both
sides of your body. Inhale to extend the spine. Exhale slightly and twist your torso toward the sky. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
Wide-Angled Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
Standing at the side of your mat, take a wide stance with feet parallel or slightly turned inward toward the center of the mat. Inhale reach your arms wide up and overhead. Exhale swan dive forward toward the earth. Take hold of your outer shins to draw the belly in for Wide-Angled Forward Bend. Hold for 3 breaths.
From Wide-Angled Forward Bend, take a more narrow stance with your feet. Turn your heels in and your toes out. Bend your knees and connect your elbows to your inner thighs. Take hold of your calves, your inner shins, or your ankles. Allow this connection to add resistance and to stretch the inner thigh region or your adductors. Hold for 3-5 cycles of breath.
See also Hip-Opening and Twisting Sequence
Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana)
Come to Plank. From Plank, drop your heels toward one direction. Slightly bend both knees and reach your top hand toward the ceiling. Anchor down the inner edge of your bottom foot and extend your bottom leg for Side Plank. For a modified Side Plank, take the top knee toward the ceiling or extend the top leg and reach the toes toward the ceiling for the full expression. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangustasana)
Return to Plank. Walk your hands to your feet and roll up to standing. Ground down and stand tall through your rooted leg and find length through your spine. Grab the big toe with the opposite leg and draw the leg out and wide for Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose. Hold for 3 breaths.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Enjoy a Standing Forward Bend as your counter pose in this practice. Fold your upper body over your lower body. Grab hold of your ankles or outer shins. Soften your knees as needed. Hold for 3 breaths. Repeat the sequence from Low Lunge on the other side.
Lotus Pose (Padmasana) with Jaya Mudra
Take a seated position of your choice (Lotus Pose, Easy Pose) and draw the hands up and overhead. Connect the palms together to touch and soften at the elbow joints. This is Jaya Mudra which represents victory or the completion of your practice.
See also A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation
About Our Expert
Denelle Jarro Numis (E-RYT 500) is a native New Yorker, certified Coloradan, and newly relocated Bay Area yoga teacher. As the founder of Après Yoga Events, she loves to create an inclusive environment where each student can immediately feel connected with their community and enjoy yoga with benefits after class, such as a pint of beer, a glass of wine, coffee, or cocktails. Numis completed her 200-hour certification with Shannon Paige at Omtime Yoga in Denver and a 300-hour certification with Gina Caputo at The Colorado School of Yoga in Boulder, Colorado.