Women are at the forefront of the yogic community, and at least 90% of my students are female. Thus, it is important for me to empower women through yoga.
Beside satsang (a talk by yoga instructor) session on how to embrace uniqueness and celebrate differences among women, we also practise some asanas (poses) and a mudra (hand gesture) that signifies self-love, self-realization, and self empowerment.
Now, allow me to share 3 incredible asanas and a powerful mudra that facilitates female empowerment.
1) Veerabatrasana 1 (Warrior pose)Awaken the warrior within you through this pose. Show your strength, build your self-confidence, and keep thee fight against negativity.
How to do?
Spread your legs 3 to 5 feet apart. Rotate the right leg outwards, and left leg, 45 degrees inwards. Inhale and open up your chest while lifting both arms parallel to the floor. Exhale, and bend the right leg at the knee, until the shin is perpendicular, and bring both your palms together at the top of your head, and look up. Hold the position until the count of 10, while inhaling and exhaling. Maintain stability and stand firmly with strength and confidence, while doing this pose.
2) Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)This pose strengthens the bacl and eases the tension around the muscles, and burns stomach fat fast. Those with thyroid problems are advised to practise this pose as it helps regulate blood flow and channel prana (energy) to the heart, the glands in the neck, and the head.
How to do?
Lie down on your back and bend both knees. Bring your feet towards the hip, and now, lift up your hip, with the stomach moving upwards, towards the ceiling. Your back and thighs should also get off the floor. As you do this, push your chest towards your chin. Keep your hands by your side or support your back by holding up your hip. Inhale while going up, hold the position, and exhale while coming down.
3) Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand)The mother of all poses, Salamba Sarvangsana is a great way to bring blood circulation and more oxygen to the upper body, and head. The longer you hold this pose, the more refreshed, sharper, and focused, your mind will be. This pose is also beneficial in stimulating the endocrine glands, and improving the lymphatic drainage system. Besides, it also reduces wrinkles, improves skin elasticity, and rejuvenates the nervous system.
How to do?
Bend your knees and kick up while pressing your hands on the floor. This will help you lift your hips up off the floor. Keep your elbows close to your sides, place your palms on your lower back for support and balance. Lift your torso higher off the floor, until you are resting on your shoulders. Straighten your leg and point your toes upwards towards the ceiling. Release this pose by bending your knees, placing your hands on the floor, and carefully roll your back onto the floor.
4) Shakti MudraNow, let's look at this powerful mudra that helps improve and enhance the mental and physical well being, as well as the strength of the practitioner. It provides radiant skin and calms the mind.
How to do?
Sit in a comfortable position and bend your thumbs into your closed palms. Now, bend both your index and middle fingers over your thumb. Then, bring both your palms together, with your ring and pinky fingers touching at the tips. Bring your palm to chest-level and focus on breathing. This mudra can be performed for 15 minutes, 15 minutes a day, for optimal effect.
Nizha Periaswamy is a yoga instructor and freelance writer.
Photo source: Yoginizha Yatra Facebook, artofliving.org.