Some days are just so busy I don’t have time to do an hour long yoga flow. I love quick poses that force me to concentrate while I’m struggling to get to that 5th or 7th breath because I know I’m building my strength. Some days I also feel very off balance and like it’s my first time ever on the mat–and that’s OKAY! Everyone has off days and always will. Embrace it. Below are a few poses I like to hold for 5-7 breaths and usually go through twice. The most important thing when doing these poses, or any pose, is to stay with your breath. Focus and stay with your breath. Easier said than done, I know. If you can’t hold a certain pose for 5-7 breaths, drop it down to 3 breaths. You will work your way to holding them longer the more you practice! I am no expert at yoga, but that’s what I love about it. I love the no judgement (of yourself + others) and the always learning aspect of this practice. One day I will be teaching to other people, but I will ALWAYS be a student.
I know everyone has heard of high plank and probably hates it, but the benefits are amazing. Try to hold for 3 breaths, and if you feel you can do more hold for 5-7 breaths.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Chair pose is great for building strength in your lower back and leg muscles. Hold for 3 breaths, or 5-7 breaths
Crow Pose (Bakasana)
First, let me tell you I have been constantly working on this pose. It took a lot of baby steps to fly, but the more I practiced the more my strength and confidence grew. This can be a scary one because you feel like you’re going to face plant (and I have…more than once). I had a bolster in front of me the first 48579285 times I practiced Crow. The key is to look about 3 feet ahead of you–it will help your balance tremendously! Also this pose is not all about your arm strength, it’s about core strength. I love this pose because it improves balance and body coordination while strengthening the upper arms, core, and stretches the upper back.
I decided to show a progress picture for this pose, the top is from December 2016 and the bottom is from April 2017. It always feels like I’m not getting stronger until I compare pictures. I record every practice I do at home, not only to see my progress but to see my form and technique. Sometimes I think I’m doing great until I look at the video, and I am so far from great!! It’s a little weird watching yourself on camera, but it honestly helps so much for when you can’t make it to the studio and have a teacher help correct you. Practice makes progress!!!