Each week of Well+Good’s ReNew Year Challenge focuses on a different theme. Every Monday, Lauren Ash, founder of Black Girl in Om, will give you a jumpstart to get your mind right for the work ahead. For Week 3, it’s all about building strength.
Strength is so much bigger than how much weight you can lift at the gym. It’s just as critical to work on your emotional and mental strength as your physical prowess. And finding time to move your body every single day—especially in the morning—can make you stronger on many levels.
One of the powerful things about starting the day with a workout is that you get to be in touch with your own power on a physical level. Since we are physical beings, sometimes that’s the most powerful level we can feel. It’s harder for some people to feel their spiritual and emotional power. When you work out, you can feel your body warming up, your breath rising in and out of your belly, your feet rooted in the earth. That can set the tone for your day. As women, doing something as simple as a yoga flow before your day truly begins is a way to remind yourself that yes, I am powerful and anything is possible for me.
Here’s a morning yoga sequence that will encourage a strong foundation (and—bonus!—maybe even create a lift in your booty). Do the below flow once through, then repeat on the opposite side without rest. The best part? All you need is some room to move and a yoga mat.
Try this morning yoga sequence for a peaceful, strengthening start to your day.
Start with feet together, hands at your sides. Slowly begin to lower down as if you’re sitting on a chair, while raising your arms up to frame your face with your biceps. Your back should be flat. Once you’ve reached a 90-degree angle in your knees, hold for at least five breaths.
From chair pose, shift weight into your left foot, bringing your weight not too far back and not too far forward. Rise. Lift your right knee up, keeping the foot flexed, until your thigh is at hip-height and your knee is at a 90-degree angle. Hold for three breaths.
From Tadasana, bend into your standing leg and bring your right ankle across the top of your left leg, just above the knee. Keep your right foot flexed as you sit back into a squat. Hold for five breaths.
From figure four pose, ground your left foot, engage your core, and begin to lift your right leg back up into one-legged tadasana for just one breath. Exhale, push through your right heel, and propel your right leg backward so that your hips are squared down toward your mat and your right leg is parallel with the ground. Arms should be stretched out in front, framing the ears. Hold for five breaths.
From warrior three, move into crescent lunge by grounding your right foot down behind you for a high lunge. Maintain a micro bend in your right leg to avoid overextending your knee, floating your right heel over your right toes. Lift arms straight up directly overhead, palms facing in. Keep a generous bend in your left leg and find a 90-degree angle with your left thigh. Gently pull your right hip forward and your left hip back, keeping hips squared.
Make this week all about strength: inner, outer, all of it. Join the Well+Good community for (Re)New Year—and look forward to your healthiest, happiest year yet!