Awaken to You: 30-Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 29

Day 26: Feel Your Strength

30 min - Practice


In Day 26, we begin to pull all the pieces together as we tap into the strength and confidence that we've built throughout this challenge. We move through a standing balancing sequence before playing with Bakasana (Crow Pose). We end with a brief seated meditation and a restful Savasana (Corpse Pose). You will feel empowered, vibrant, and strong.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block (2)


Read Full Transcript

Greetings tribe, welcome back to day 26, congratulations. This practice is very much about stepping into what you've awakened, your strength, your power, hopefully some confidence and stamina and just a general feeling of vibrance. That's what our practice is about today. Let's start on our back. So go ahead and just take your feet over to one side and roll on down, hug your knees into your chest and rock a little bit from side to side.

Close your eyes here and just feel your back body connect in with the mat and with the support of the earth underneath you. And then come to stillness for a moment and just listen to your breath. Take three really deep breaths in and out of the nose, feeling into your ujjayi breathing, victorious breath. Two more. Matching the length of the inhale to the length of the exhale.

And then on your next inhale, just stretch your arms out over your head, stretch your legs out beyond your hips like you're stretching out of your cocoon into a whole new shape. And then as you exhale, bend the knees, elbows coil up and dry your elbows inside of your knees. And then once again, expand out, stretching beyond your cocoon, beyond your any perceived limitations because you've definitely done that. Exhale, coil it back in. And let's just stay with this rhythm a couple of times as we spread the fingers and the toes, come back into the center.

And if you feel like you need a little support for the back of the neck, you can absolutely lace your hands behind your head as you coil up. And every time you draw back in, elbows right inside the knees, feeling into that crow shape, bhakasana shape, and we'll be taking flight in our crow for certain inside of this practice. So just start to activate a little power and strength in the core, linger for a moment here as you lift, and then inhale, stretch long. Be careful not to arch your back here, try to keep the lower back grounded as you come in and out. So let's take about seven more rounds, exhale to pull in, inhale to stretch along.

Exhale completely, five more rounds, and you can move quickly or slowly or find kind of a nice middle ground rhythm here with me, but whatever works for you to start to awaken the energy in the center of the body. Super simple movement, but super powerful. Let's take about three more rounds, big inhale, exhale, keep the big toes touching as the knees come apart. Once more, exhale completely, stay lifted, reach your hands up to the sky and raise the roof a little bit. And notice when you stay lifted here, if you just tip your head back, it feels really heavy.

Let's go ahead and release down and open the arms wide and tilt your knees over to the left. And that's kind of just a nice place not to torture yourself for the back of your neck, but to feel how your head is the counterbalance when you're inside of cropos. Take a deep inhale here and then exhale, take the knees up and over the midline all the way over to the other side, turning your gaze away from the direction of the knees. Let's enjoy a breath here and exhale completely and then come back through the center, roll all the way over onto your hands and knees. And for our Namaskar's today, we'll be using our blocks.

You can take your blocks to the top of the mat and turn them to either the medium height or the lowest height, whatever you prefer. So place the heels of your hands at the edge of the blocks and then curl the toes under and let's press back into our first downward dog of the practice. And you can shift the hips a bit and stretch into your skin and bones. Feel into this shape, feel into your body, your breath and state of mind today. What's the inner landscape, the inner attitude?

And let's allow for our yoga practice today to brighten and shape and move our inner landscape to a really positive place, an empowered place. So inhale to the toes. Change your knees, look forward and just step right up to the blocks. Inhale lift your chest, Arda Uttanasana, halfway position. Exhale forward fold.

Let's inhale to rise, take a deep breath in, reach up. Exhale hands come to your heart, let's move into sun salutation C. So circle the arms out and up, full breath in. Exhale swan dive to your forward fold, hands on the blocks. Step the right foot back to a long lunge as you inhale and then exhale to downward facing dog. Since we're using the blocks, let's take a stage three vinyasa, so shift to plank.

As you exhale, just bend the elbows a bit, take a high chaturanga and then rise into upward dog, roll the shoulders back, really lift through the thighs and exhale to downward dog. Exhaling the lungs completely and then step the right foot forward, high lunge as you inhale, exhale, step into your forward fold. Press down through the feet, lift through the heart and rise to your full length and beyond and exhale, bring some energy into the heart. That was half of a round, let's inhale and reach, exhale forward fold. Let the left foot back, high lunge as you inhale, exhale to downward facing dog.

Inhaling shift to plank, exhale, high chaturanga and then flip over the feet, open your heart, upward dog, exhale to downward dog. Let the left foot forward as you inhale, gazing and then exhale forward fold, inhale to rise, exhale hands to your heart, that was one full round. Let's do it again, inhale circle out and up, exhale forward fold, step the right foot back and center your drishti on one point, exhale downward dog, inhale shift to plank, exhale high chaturanga, open the heart as you breathe in, fold back as you breathe out. Right foot steps forward inhale, steady gaze, exhale forward fold, inhale to rise, exhale draw your strength right into your heart. One more half of a round, inhale to reach, exhale fold, moving with purpose, step the left foot back, inhale, exhale downward dog fully arrive and let your inhale take you to plank, exhale hover in your strength, open the chest as you breathe in, fold back as you breathe out.

Left foot steps forward inhale, steady gaze, exhale forward fold, inhale to rise, exhale hands to the heart, eyes steady, take a moment here and just feel into the rhythm of your heart, the rhythm of your breath, how your body feels in this moment today, day 26. Let's continue to cultivate and generate our energy, our pranas, release your hands, bend your knees and sweep your arms forward and up into chair pose, ukkatasana. As you exhale sweep your arms back and let's lace the fingers behind our back and draw the knuckles around to the right side waist, so we worked with this in practice 12 a bit a bit further back in our challenge, you can feel as you sink into chair pose keep the heart lifted and just shift your weight into the right foot, lift the left knee and slowly with your eyes steady take your time step back into crescent and keep your hands wrapped around the side waist, let's pulse here and just drop down into the power and strength in the base but keep the upper body fluid and supported. Once more a little pulse upward, exhale sink downward and then as you lift turn the back foot set it up for warrior two, let's pull our left hand a little further around towards our front thigh, I've got a little battery pack here so I'm just going to keep my fingers open and extend it and then reach the right arm long. As you inhale reverse your warrior, beautiful opening through the right side waist, as you exhale straight in the front leg let's keep our left arm wrapped and come into a half triangle pose, you can just bring your hand on your shin it's a half wrapped triangle pose, sweep your left arm to the sky as you inhale and then continue the pathway exhale we'll walk our hands all the way to the back of the mat, so there's a little housekeeping here move your block out of the way and walk your hands to the back of the mat, take the right foot a little further to the right setting up for a warrior one and inhale to rise, so we're on a little pathway here as we exhale one bow forward it's a long sequence, inhale to rise, exhale take another bow, once more inhale to rise, stay lifted exhale hands to the heart, spin on the ball of the back foot and I'm about to ask you to step forward into your tree pose it's a long step to come from your lunge all the way up to trees so shorten the stance a little bit bring your weight on top of the left foot and as you rise up open your right knee, swim the arms back and your foot can land lightly right on your calf inhale to reach up exhale swim it back and inhale steady focus steady gaze plant both feet on the mat bend your knees come to chair pose on an inhale exhale we'll go right into the second side so lace your fingers behind your back draw them around to your left side waist and then shifting the weight into the left foot pick up the right toes hover for a moment slow and steady moving with purpose moving with confidence step back and land in your crescent lunge and just riding up and over the waves here as you exhale sink down as you inhale lift and just stay inside of this focus inside of the steadiness exhale sink down and then the next time you lift adjust your back foot for warrior two pull your right hand around to your front thigh or your waist and reach long with your left arm inhale to reverse your wire open up through your side waist sink a little deeper and then exhale straighten your front leg keep the arm wrapped for a moment as you come into triangle top arm releases keep moving one breath one movement big inhale exhale circulate your top arm walk it all the way to the back of the mat excuse me the front of the mat runners lunge and let's set the other block to the side from here set up your base for a warrior one put this over here keep that for something else later and inhale to rise exhale take a little bow inhale to rise exhale and it's almost like you're revving your engines to step up into your tree pose as you exhale hands to your heart spin on the ball of the back foot maybe shorten the stance and then really step into it fully arrive there let your toe just rest right on the calf and take three big back strokes and even though trees stay in one place their whole life usually they're constantly in motion right balance is a constant state of negotiation let's come back into our chair pose root down through both feet stay rooted in your legs but just lift through the heart as you inhale chair pose exhale forward fold let's hang out here in our forward fold for a moment or two is breathing releasing through the back of the neck through the spine opening through the back body notice how you feel just after a few focused namaskar's focus standing and balance sequence and then let's take that energy and that attention and direct it right into our crow pose so we can use our blocks for this we did this a few practices ago and you can take your blocks back to the middle of your mat and create a little platform for yourself and we'll enter into our crow pose from here and so when you step onto your blocks just open up the knees wide like a diamond and sink down and it's the same shape that we were working into in our core work in the very beginning of our practice so feel the relationship of the knees to the outer shoulders and we want to try to keep contact here and when you start to shift into your bakasana take note that we're not dipping down towards the floor but we're simply shifting forward and the head lift and that forward focus warrior focus of your gaze is really key here so inhale to slightly pulse upwards squeeze in to the upper arms with your knees lift your head look at least two or three feet in front of you and shift forward to the edge of the tree branch maybe one foot lifts maybe both you can alternate feet or you can keep your toes right at the edge of the block and then exhale shift back and let's do it again coil up riding up to the top of the wave look forward keep the belly lifted and shift forward and see about really stepping into your power floating into your strength staying focused and steady trusting yourself here trusting the strength you've built and then exhale step it back maybe give the wrists a little rotation and just because things are pleasing in threes let's do it one more time so plant your palms squeeze the knees up and in pull the belly and look forward shift forward one or both feet lift stay steady keep breathing feel your focus feel your power and then release it back yay from here let's step back to hands and knees and you can take your blocks and place them to one side so let's make our way on to our bellies from there and as you come down I hope there's a little sense of accomplishment for you at whatever range you're at with any of these pastures but crow pose is kind of an interesting measure point for a lot of us so as you place your palms in a little stack here and you can rest your forehead down and bend your knees and just oscillate from side to side it's kind of a nice place to give yourself an energetic pat on the back maybe even reach back and really do it for because you've been working hard you've been showing up to this to your practice your commitment to yourself to transformation and evolution building strength building flexibility and things like this take effort they take a tremendous amount of effort so as you start to lift up we'll keep the knees bent and you can reach one hand back grab on to the outside edge of one foot and the outside edge of the other we'll come into bow pose so bring your thighs a little closer together and lift up with that sense of accomplishment and not so much about what you've achieved pose wise but showing up with your heart showing up to this whole challenge and what's that awakened inside of you that ability to continue to try to show up is such a powerful skill so I congratulate you and you're probably like how long are we going to be in this bowl pose but let's hang out here for a moment or two longer just let the heart open it's a really nice counter pose to bakasana and then as you exhale just release yay and press back to child's pose back into home base back into the dugout rock a little bit from side to side and then let's walk the hands in and roll up the spine and we'll come into a seated twist here so you can cross your left knee left ankle and foot over the right knee keep the right knee either bent or extend it long if that helps you square your hips off a little better and then let's reach the right arm to the sky as we inhale exhale elbow tricep or hand to the outside of the knee and just turn your spine to a point sitting tall on the inhale and sometimes I like to use my own fingers my own hand to just give myself a little adjustment here and turn a little deeper into the twist gazing over the shoulder perhaps close your eyes and stay here for three good breaths and slowly release let's change sides so go ahead and just fan the legs to the second side super simple transition reaching up through the left arm as you inhale and then exhale hand elbow tricep to the outside of the knee sit tall as you inhale and then exhale into your twist and again you can rest your hand or your fingertips at your heart and just encourage a little bit of subtle rotation as you breathe and twists are an excellent place to look back at the pathway you've walked where you've come from even just this one these last 26 days to where you are right now good job one more breath here and slowly release let's extend the legs forward for a seated forward fold pashimottanasana reach your arms up to the sky activate through your legs through your feet and exhale bowing in hands can come to anywhere that they land you know all the options by now let's lift through the heart I'm going to take a traditional toe lock on my big toes you're welcome to do the same and then exhale bend your elbows and dry yourself in and down four deep slow breaths last breath here when your next inhale rising up next how release your feet let's take a moment and come into sitting practice just a quiet seat quiet mind deep breaths open heart can turn your palms face down if you like or face up and close your eyes one thing to just remember as you enter in to sit quietly is oftentimes our sitting practice or meditation can be more challenging than any asana that we're asked to move our body into to simply sit with ourselves with our thoughts trying to keep our minds open and clear can be the most challenging practice so just recognize that and show up to it with that same focus that you offered into your standing practice into bakasana into showing up every day to this challenge offer it in this moment to simply sit quietly for a couple of moments a couple of minutes we'll take about 20 rounds of breath here it's a little bit longer of a sit than we've had the opportunity to interact with in this challenge you don't have to count your breath just be with it I'll keep track and we'll take go into shavasana together so just enjoy stillness quiet open heart open mind steady body let's take one more full breath right here together in this moment exhale completely and slowly open your eyes and let's come on to our backs for shavasana as you can take your feet to one side roll down onto your back draw your knees into your chest take a moment here just to adjust a little bit before we spread out rock from side to side to your head rock and roll let's take one more twist here before we drop in so keep the right knee into the chest just gently bring it across your body in a subtle twist coming back to the center hug the right knee in and lower it down draw the left knee in and bring it across your body in an easy twist coming back to the center hug the left knee into your chest and then stretch the legs long turn your palms up close your eyes and rest exhale completely and slowly bring it across your body in an easy twist come back to your body in an easy twist come back to your body in an easy twist come back to your body in an easy twist come back to your body in an easy twist come back to your body in an easy twist slowly bring your awareness back into your body send a little bit of movement through your fingers and your toes and as you reach your arms over your head reawaken nice deep breath in exhale draw the knees into your chest and roll on over to one side press yourself up to comfortable seated position bring your hands together at your heart feel the gathering of your energy your ability to focus to build strength to be empowered and love for you to again just reflect on how your yoga practice can pour off your mat and what is it that's happening right now that you can really be empowered to step into or help somebody else to step into thanks so much for being here have a great rest of your day see you in the next practice namaste


Jenny S
3 people like this.
O Happy Day! I have been sitting out crow pose for the last couple of years mostly due to a mental block and me telling myself I just don’t like the pose anymore....well today I decided to go for it with the lovely addition of the blocks and up I went - and held it! Three times!

I sat this out in episode 12 even though there were blocks involved then as well. I guess I’ve grown a bit mentally since then. Thank You Shelley 🙏🏻❤️🌞
Shelley Williams
Jenny This bird is leaving the next! Fantastic!! Good for you, and thanks for sharing this. Its so nice when you surprise yourself, huh?! All your consistency and effort has allowed you to take flight in more ways than one.. my favorite thing about arm balances is that they make us feel like we can do anything! ❤️
Tracy S
2 people like this.
Thank you Shelley Williams! This 30 day challenge has brought us full circle to take flight and soar like the crow( the other eagle). Peace and blessings till tomorrow! :)
Glenford N
2 people like this.
Hi Shelley, I combined days 26 and 25 and yesterday did days 24 and 23 to feel a deep sense of immersing my self into the challenge. Open heart open mind open body. Thanks, Namaste
Shelley Williams
HI Tracy ! Yasss! We are phoenixes! How fantastic... big hugs to you!
Shelley Williams
Hello Glenford ! Wow, you are getting stronger and more stamina, yes? Stoked to read this, and so happy you are feeling into the deeper yoga that is riding above below and within the surfaces ...
Kelly B
2 people like this.
After years of trying, I did crow for the first time today. I am humbled and in awe. At 41, I feel stronger than I ever have and, honestly? I want to ROAR. Thank you, Shelley, for guiding me on this journey. 🙏🏽
Gabriel W
2 people like this.
Great practice. Thank you thank you thank you
Shelley Williams
Kelly ... raaaawr! Yes! How wonderful to feel this inner strength coming across the airwaves from your message. I am humbled and inspired by YOU! Taking flight!! Think of all the other limitless things you are capable of!!
Shelley Williams
Gabriel! You are welcome, how is it all integrating with your goals? Love to hear
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