In the yogic understanding, our feminine power — or Shakti-prana — is our ability to create and birth life itself or to turn any dream and vision into reality.
Shakti-prana is generated, activated, and stored in our second chakra, known as Svadhisthana: the hips, pelvis, womb, and lower back.
As women, it’s easy to give to others while neglecting ourselves. To thrive at home, work, and with our families, we must align our lives with the natural ebb and flow of our energy, creativity, and productivity each month.
When we sync with the rhythm of the moon and our menstrual cycles, we give ourselves permission to ride the wave of activation (full moon) and slow down for a few days to rest and restore (new moon).
The first part of the sequence is designed to invigorate, build heat, strengthen, and open the lower body. The second half of class drops you deeper into the hips for longer holds and restorative poses to cultivate stillness and empty presence.
Focus on breathing in and out through the nose only — this is called ujjayi breath. Hold each pose for three to five breaths before transitioning to the next.
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
Move your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Raise your arms so they’re parallel to the floor. Turn the right foot so the toes point straight forward and the left foot in so that the toes point perpendicular to the right foot. Align the right heel with the left arch. Bend your right knee so your right thigh is parallel to the ground.
Slowly switch sides and repeat.
Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana)
From Warrior II, keep your front knee bent as you slide your back hand down your back leg with the palm facing down. Turn the front palm up and extend the arm toward the sky so the palm eventually faces the back of the room. Keep the front knee bent as you hold and notice the opening through the front of the body.
Slowly switch sides and repeat.
Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Come to your hands and knees, with your knees directly below your hips and your hands under the shoulders. Spread your palms, keeping the index fingers parallel.
Turn your toes under. Lift your knees away from the floor. Keep a slight bend in the knees and lengthen your tailbone toward the sky. Stretch your heels down and keep the head between the upper arms.
Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)
Start with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Turn your toes slightly out and heels in so that your feet are at a 45-degree angle. Bend your knees and sink your hips so that your thighs become parallel with the ground.
Goddess Pose with Hand to Floor / Hand to Sky
From Goddess Pose, place your right hand on the floor or a block and lift your left fingertips toward the sky. Hold for a few breaths. Inhale back up to center and switch sides as you exhale. Switch back and forth 8 to 10 times.
Garland Pose (Malasana)
Bring your feet to hip-width-distance apart, then squat down. Move your torso between your thighs and press your elbows against your inner knees.
Bring your palms together, and as you hold, continue to press your knees in toward your elbows and your elbows out toward your knees.
Half Pigeon Pose (Ardha Kapotasana)
From hands and knees, bring your right knee to your right wrist and angle the shin under your torso so that it rests on the floor, eventually bringing the shin parallel to the front of the mat.
Slide the left leg back with the knee straight and the toes pointing toward the back of your yoga mat. Relax your upper body and let your torso fold over your front shin.
Mermaid Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
From Half Pigeon Pose, square your hips forward. Come up to your fingertips and keep the torso upright. Bend the knee that’s extended and reach back with your hand (or strap) and draw the foot in. If this is an intense stretch, stay here and breathe until this pose becomes more accessible.
If you’d like to go farther, bend your left elbow and let your foot settle in the crease of your elbow. Reach the other hand up and around to clasp. Take your gaze forward, lift your heart, and square your hips to the front of the room as much as possible.
Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Lie on your back and bring the soles of your feet together and knees wide, creating a diamond shape. If this is too much, you can let your outer thighs rest on the floor or blocks. Scan your body and use your breath to release any additional tension.
Bring your left hand to your heart and your right hand to your belly. Hold for 1 to 3 minutes.
Seated Meditation (Sukhasana) with Yoni Mudra
Find a comfortable seated position with one leg crossed in front of the other. Sit tall. Interlace all your fingers except the index fingers, which touch and point forward. This is called Yoni Mudra and is said to strengthen Shakti-prana and build energy in the womb center.
Close your eyes and breathe slowly for a few minutes while you visualize what you want to create in your life.
Photo Credit: BrakeThrough Media for mindbodygreen