Written by Abiola Akanni Photography by Paul Buceta
With so much of our energy invested in everyday demands, from being a complete boss in your career to providing support as a caregiver, women are faced with roles that call for constant emotional output. And while being a modern-day superwoman is certainly within our wheelhouse, the pressures can sometimes mean we don’t always feel empowered in our own bodies.
To bring our minds back to the present moment, check in with our emotional and physical well-being, and move our bodies in a way that feels oh-so-delicious, we’re turning to this seven-move yoga workout that was designed with empowerment in mind. Practice these poses individually or turn them into a flow to ward off fatigue and brain fog and boost your mood.
Perform these poses to center your mind or unwind after your day. Hold each pose for three full breaths, per side where necessary.
Yoga mat and block (optional)
Standing Half Moon
Stand with feet hip-width apart and float the hands over your head, pressing them together. Lean to one side, lengthening the spine, and stay for three breaths. Repeat on the other side.
From standing, transfer your weight into one leg. Slowly float the other leg behind you as you hinge from the hips and tilt forward until your body is parallel with the ground. Keep your hips square and extend your arms over your head. Aim for three breaths before changing sides.
This pose improves focus and concentration.
From Warrior III, carefully drop the same hand as the lifted leg down to the ground. Use a yoga block if you can’t reach. Slowly rotate your body to open as you lift the free arm up to the sky. If it feels comfortable, turn your gaze up to your lifted hand. Aim for three breaths, then change sides.
Forward Fold & Halfway Lift
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hinge from the hips and drop hands down to the ground, or shins if that’s more comfortable, and completely relax the neck so your head drops. From here, lift the eyes to look forward, flattening out the back like a table. Stay for three breaths, then relax the neck and back to release into the fold.
From Forward Fold, lunge one leg behind you, keeping the heel lifted. Raise your upper body and lift your hands so your biceps are in line with your ears. You can connect the hands and interlace the fingers. Keep the back leg lengthened, and the front shin perpendicular to your mat, making sure the knee stays over the heel. Stay for three breaths.
Combat sitting all day with this chest and hip opening pose.
From High Lunge, rotate and drop your back heel so you can feel your hips open. Drop your arms front and back so they form a T-shape, palms facing down, opening the chest. Turn your gaze towards your front hand and hold for three breaths, then change sides.
Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position, with the backs of the hands resting on your knees, palms open. For additional support, sit on a pillow or rolled up blanket. You can close your eyes if you’d like. Pay attention to the breath and focus on calming the mind.
This is a meditative pose for calming the mind. Focus on the breath and notice your thoughts. You may work to increase the amount of time you hold this posture to enjoy its relaxation benefits.