Enjoy Yourself Summer Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 8

Day 5: Inner Strength

30 min - Practice


Find inner strength for outer power. In today's practice we generate heat and strength while nourishing the inner world so that we can step out and step up in our lives.

Today's reading: Why Yoga Is a Radical Act of Self-Love.

What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket (2), Block (2)


Read Full Transcript

Welcome to day five of our summer challenge. I'll be the first to admit that there are many times in my life where I feel like I don't fit in, and it's a bit uncomfortable. One of the most beautiful gifts that yoga has given me is the ability to create an inner world, a conscious place inside myself where I am radiant and bright and all-powerful. The physical asana gives me the opportunity to rise to the occasion to step out and step up into life. Use this practice to fall in love with your own self to create an inner world of inner strength and step in to your outer power.

Let's begin. You'll use two blocks and two blankets for today's practice, but we'll actually begin on our backs. Find your props near and then go ahead and lay down. You're welcome to plant your feet on the ground, plant them wide and knock inner knees in, or if it's comfortable, place your feet together and your knees can knock out to make a diamond. Take one hand to your belly and one hand to your heart.

Find yourself here and just breathe. We use the breath throughout the practice to drop into the body in the moment and to calm ourselves into a place where we're able to change. So no matter how accepted or uncomfortable you might feel in the world, use this opportunity to land in this moment and nowhere else. Start by taking a full breath in and a full breath out. Again.

Throughout the practice you'll have opportunities to come back to yourself, which might look like modifications or return to more simplicity. You'll also be given many opportunities to level up. Beginning with the practice of movement now, take your hands to your outer knees if they've fallen apart and we'll all meet together, pressing the knees to the midline and stepping the soles of the feet just below the sit bones. Lengthen the upper neck, the back and the low back. Step one foot up into a reverse tabletop, the shins run parallel to the floor and press your hand into your right thigh.

Then let your left foot come up to meet it, shins run parallel to the earth and hands come to thighs. You're just in almost like a tipped over chair like shape. Start to go to work by pressing into the thighs and the thighs will press back. If you shake, no problem. Continue to breathe here, full inhale, full exhale.

If you'd like a challenge to use more of the belly, keep pressing into the right thigh and lower the left leg. Good. Then come back up to center, press into the left thigh and lower the right leg. Very good. Step back to center and again press the left leg long. Return to center on the inhale and exhale, lengthen the right leg. One more each way, just warming up, pressing the low back into the mat and breathing here.

Last one like this. Inhale, exhale, grab the tops or the backs of your knees, whichever feels best to you and roll along the low back. Maybe making little circles. I always laugh when a teacher says, roll up to standing because there's no way that I could do that. So I won't say it for you, but see if you can create a tiny bit of momentum that curls the spine into a long C shape.

Feels nice on the low back for many. If it doesn't feel good for you, you know yourself and do something else. We'll sit and then roll over to hands and knees facing your favorite short end of your mat. Place your hands under your knees, the tops of your feet down and breathe. Full breath in, full breath out.

From here, step your right knee to the center and cross your right foot to the left side of your mat. Your left knee snugs right up behind your right knee and left foot to the right side of your mat. From here, if it's comfortable, flip both wrists to face the front of the space, fingers point back. Turn your hips just like a clock going clockwise, round and round. Start to use more of the low belly, the mid belly, and maybe you'll even feel the heart and maybe even the head.

Good, switch it up the other way. Know which way you like to go, know which way is hard. See where it turns and where it sticks. Good, inhale to center. Exhale, we'll switch to the other side.

Left knee into the middle, left foot over to the right, right knee snugs right up behind the left knee. From here, we'll take fingertips, giving us a little leverage, maybe seeing out a little bit farther with that height in the shoulders. Notice that you can shorten and lengthen the side bodies, stir it up, turn it up, maybe even whip it up, and then go the other way. Good. Starting to warm up and move and use the spine.

We're going to move it and use it, we'll never lose it. Take your hands to the earth, uncross the knees, and we're going to calf mash. It's not a very technical term, but it feels great. Take the shin of your right leg into the back of your left calf. Here you use a little weight and you move around the shin, almost like the shin were a violin bow, and your calf were the strings.

You can move to use the knee more on the outside of the calf. Something I've learned about growing and curating an inner world inside myself has a lot to do with caring. So here, let's switch to the other side, right knee down, left shin over. Here, we take the time to care for ourselves, to accept and love wherever we are, and to take stock of what we need. Not all of the asanas have to be athletic.

They can be healing too. And of course, some are both. Walk your knees back to find your modified tall push-up. Toes can curl under, look forward and stick your bum out like cow. Inhale right here, and then exhale to our inchworms, taking chest and chin to the floor, squeezing the elbows nice and tight, and hovering above the earth.

Untuck the toes, roll through to your cobra, inhale at the top. Good, exhale and release to the floor. Walk your fingertips wide today, so the fingertips touch the earth, but the center of the palms lift up and the elbows point towards the ceiling. Press the feet and the pelvis down, and then gently lift a cobra on the inhale. Look forward, exhale, release.

One more, inhale. Good, exhale, release. Eyelide, take one more. How good. Squeeze the shoulder blades together, and then exhale, release.

Hands plant down behind the shoulders on the floor, elbows point up and squeeze in. Tuck your toes under. You can leave your knees on the earth, and on an inhale, rise. Good, exhale. Press your hips back, and just for a moment, reach the hands forward and bow the chin towards the chest, forehead towards the earth.

Big breath in, return to yourself, inside yourself, even though you're moving in the outer world. And listen in. Notice if you need to change the script, and if you'd like to, adjust it with the breath. You can, and so we will. Inhale, slowly come back up to your modified high plank.

Just as we have in the days before, let's swim it. Get the shoulders really working. Look forward, inhale, right hand goes up and back to flip the wrist. Press into all five fingertips on the right hand, and then take the left hand around. Look forward, then right hand forward, and left hand forward.

Good, again, right hand back, and left hand back. Right hand forward, and left hand forward. Curl your toes under, press your hips up and back, and then walk your feet to the back of your wrist, forward fold at the top of your mat. Taking as many steps as you need, enjoying the jaunt, the jog, and then pause and hold in a nice forward fold, knees move towards armpits, head moves towards the floor, hips move towards the sky. Bend your knees.

From your forward fold, inhale to a halfway lift, your hands press into your shins, head away from your hips. Good, exhale, pause here. And then on an inhale, slowly rise up to stand. From standing, take your hands to heart center. Full breath in, and full breath out.

Inhale, let your hands get broad, bright, and lift overhead. On an exhale, pull your hands to heart center, and then step your left foot behind your right, and then curtsy like a lady. Inhale, press your hands wide, left hand much higher than the right as you straighten your legs, and press out. Good, then inhale your hands up overhead, and grab opposite elbow, press into your back left foot, even though you're just on the ball of the foot, and reach up and over. Good, then inhale.

Come back to center, hands to heart. Exhale and land again. Land in this moment, land in this body, and land in this practice to the other side. Inhale right here, and then exhale. Step the right foot behind the left and curtsy.

Inhale, the hands go wide. Maybe you even watch the right hand press the glass ceiling away, and then exhale to opposite elbow, maybe opposite grip too. Inhale, reach here, and stay, and then back to center, hands to heart. We flow it one breath, one movement, more of you, more of the form, and a little bit of your own funk. Take a big breath in.

Exhale, left foot behind the right and curtsy. Inhale, open up, press it away. Exhale, cross to opposite elbow. Inhale, reach up, and then exhale back to center. Balance on your feet.

Inhale right here. Exhale, you can do it, curtsy. Inhale, reach up and extend. Good, exhale, opposite elbow. Inhale, reach to the right elbow, and then exhale back to center.

Balance on your feet. Full breath in, hands at heart. Exhale, forward fold. Very nice. Inhale, halfway lift, long spine, look forward.

Good, and then exhale. Step your right foot to the back of the mat, and the left foot will be forward. On a little bit of an inching of the left foot forward, find the left knee right over the left ankle and really step the right foot to the back of your space. With the toes on the left foot nice and active, and the right toes curled under, inhale, look forward. And on an exhale, press the hips back to a modified hanumanasana, or half splits.

Here, the left knee stays in the left armpit, and we lengthen through the low back as you take the left sit bone behind you. Inhale, come back to the low lunge, maybe even look up. Good, knee to armpit, and press it back. One more, inhale. And exhale, press it back.

Inhale to a low lunge. The right knee will stay on the floor. Step the right foot out to the right, and the right hand will stay on the earth. You can always use your left hand to step the left foot back. Find our modified side plank here again.

From days before, you know, inhale, reach up, and then over the head. Exhale, drag the arm in a beautiful big circle with your breath. Big breath in, and a big breath out. One more like this. And then exhale back to center.

Both hands touch the mat, both knees touch the mat. Just for good measure, inhale to a cow, stick the butt out. Exhale, curl it up and in. Inhale, look forward. Step the right foot forward to your low lunge on this second side.

Right knee, right in the armpit, a good distance between the left knee and the right foot. So much so that the thigh bones might run in one perfect diagonal. But who's perfect anyways? That's just a thought. Inhale, look forward.

You can always take blocks underneath your hands. Fingertips to the earth should touch, though. Work it if you can. Inhale, come forward, low lunge. And exhale, press the hips back.

Really let the belly and the chest lay on top of the right thigh. One more. Inhale, low lunge. Exhale, press it back. Inhale, forward, low lunge.

This time you keep the left hand on the mat, the left foot steps to the left, the right foot steps to the back of your space. Inhale, modified side plank here. And pause. Squeeze the shoulder blades together. Lift through the heart and belly and find a nice strong outer body line, outer hip, outer armpit.

Then reach the arm up overhead on an inhale. And exhale, make a big circle. Two more. Inhale, reach up. Exhale, round through.

One more. Plant as much as you grow. Reach up as much as you press down. Inhale, last one, big and open. Beautiful.

Exhale to all fours. From here, press into a down dog. Hips move up and back. Knees bend nice and deep. Heels never have to touch the floor.

Wear your sort of like stiletto shoes almost. Don't really have a pair of those, but it's just the metaphor. Inhale your right leg high, nice and tall behind you. Look forward and then step your right foot to the top of the mat. Left hand stays down.

Inhale your right hand high, low twist. Good. Stay here and just look back as the right hand moves back in space. Or if it feels good to you, on the exhale, you turn all toes to the right side of your mat and stretch your right hand back. Then inhale, wherever you are, come up and over through your low lunge.

Return. Look forward. Just down dog, step it back. Bend your knees, lift your bum up and back. Full breath in.

Full breath out. Left side, inhale, left foot moves high. And then look forward. Exhale, step it through. Good, right hand stays on the mat.

Nice deep bend in the left knee. Twist to the left side, inhale, left hand high. Exhale, stay here. Decide if you'd prefer to keep the left foot planted soundly on the earth and reach back, or if the option to turn the toes is best for you. Ready? Here we go.

Inhale, reach up. Exhale, stretch back. Strong right leg, inhale, up and over. Exhale, low lunge. Inhale, look forward.

Exhale, step it back, down dog. Inhale, breath here. Exhale, two. Full sides, one breath, one movement. Inhale, right heel high.

Look forward, step it through, low lunge. Inhale, right hand high. Exhale, go for the stretch and the twist. Inhale, reach your right hand up and over. Exhale, low lunge.

Set it up. Inhale, low lunge. Look forward. Exhale, return to down dog. Right away, inhale, left heel high.

Exhale, step it through. You got this. Inhale, reach up. Exhale, twist and stretch. Inhale, up and over.

Exhale, stay. Inhale, look forward. Exhale, step it back. Big breath in. Full breath out.

One more time. Inhale, right heel high. Look forward. Exhale, low lunge. Inhale, right hand high.

Exhale, low twist. Good. Inhale, come up and over and then exhale back to your low lunge. Option here. If you want to, the right foot stays forward or take it back for a side plank.

Right hand goes high, left hand is down. Big breath in. Exhale to our low lunge or high plank. Exhale, down dog. Good.

Just one more time on the other side. Full breath in. Full breath out. You can. Inhale, left heel high.

Exhale, step it through, low lunge. Good. Inhale, low twist. Exhale, twist and turn. Inhale, rise up and over.

Exhale, you stay. Stay here or come to your side plank. Reach up. Oh, that's good. Stay for it.

Work for it. Exhale, high plank. Exhale, down dog. Breathe here. Drop your knees to the earth.

Puppy pose. Bum is high. Hands are long in front of you. Drop your forehead to the mat, but keep using your low belly. Take one more breath here in puppy.

Press through the hands to start to lift the head. Find the engagement in the belly and the back. And slowly come up to all fours. Go ahead and find your blankets. I really suggest using two.

You'll know over time if it's helpful to use less, but in this case, getting tall is best. Better vantage point on it all. From here, we'll take a variation of Gomukhasana, or even though it's called cow's face, I think it should be called like bread, bag, twisty tie pose. You'll make the shape where your shins are actually very parallel to the long side of your mat. So sit in this orientation where the blankets are just off the backside or partly on the mat, and then you're on the middle, and your legs are on the long side.

Cross your knees as close as you can together with the left leg over the right. Flex your ankles nice and strong, and that's why it's nice to be on the mat for this. From here, see what you can do to pull your right sit bone out from underneath you and your left sit bone out to the left. Widen your booty. From here, we'll take our hands to our shins or fingers around the big toes.

I really like to grab for my ankles. Here, it's helpful to sit across from someone or I'll be your partner today. Look straight forward. Maybe even smile because the pose isn't always great and start to sort of move the pelvis and these little shakes, almost the way that you would strike a match on the strip on the side of a matchbox. Keep going, little shakes.

Three, two, one. Good. Second side. Left leg underneath the right this time. Right knee stacked right over the left knee. See what you can do to get your feet as wide as you can.

Sit on both blankets soundly. Press the right sit bone down. Pull the left sit bone back. Grab for the ankles. If the ankles feel far away, the knees are absolutely fine.

You almost think cat-cow like shapes. Good. Shake, strike, show up. Show up and level up and you can step up here too. Notice that this is an opportunity for you to rise to the occasion, to stay with the work, to grow your practice. A little bit of outer sort of tending to the garden grows an inner bloom.

Stay here. Three, sit tall too. Lift the crown of the head up. Wear a crown. One, good.

From here, we'll simply come down to the back. Set your blankets aside but bring your blocks close. One or two blocks will do. From here, roll down to your back. Take your feet nice and wide and just windshield wipe the knees.

Left and right. Left, good and right. Slowly come back to center. Stack your feet underneath you and then take your elbows to the earth and you'll have a few options here. Some people will like to stay here and just lift the hips.

It's a very deep stretch across the shoulders. I ideally would love to see us all take our fingertips point towards our heels, our arms nice and long. Press hands into the earth and when you're ready, inhale up to reverse tabletop. Look right at the ceiling above you or just slightly past your nose out in front of your knees. Some people will like to drop the head back.

I find my breath most smooth right here. If you'd like, you have the option to walk your legs long and lift your hips. Full breath in, full breath out. Lower the bum to the earth. Roll your back down to the mat.

We find legs up the wall with a single block if it feels good. One block on its lowest height slid right underneath the sacrum, that sort of flat part just above your bum. Shoulders underneath the heart, arms extend long. You can press your feet up to the ceiling. Staying here or if you'd prefer a supported bridge posture, you'll use two blocks today, the option for two blocks I should say.

You're welcome to use one. If you'd like to, take them on their tallest height, take them together to the sacrum. You'll wiggle them underneath. It'll be nice and tall. It'll help you lay the pelvis on the blocks and breathe.

Stay here for just three more breaths. See if you can shift any of the story in your mind. Feel more comfortable on the inside. Comfort on the inside isn't always related to comfort on the outside. Curate the feeling from the inside out.

The outer world will follow your inner directions. Press into the feet and when you're ready, lift your hips off of the block. If you were in, legs up the wall, slowly lower your feet to the earth. Press into the feet and lift your bum off the block. We'll prepare for final Shavasana.

If you'd like to use your props in any special way, you may. I'll suggest a blanket over the hips today. Extend your legs long. Tuck one shoulder underneath the heart and then the other. Let your hands lie long by your sides.

Turn your toes in and then turn them out. And when you're ready, return to a place of stillness. Find your breath smooth and simple. You're welcome to work here on the inner world. Releasing things and thoughts and memories you no longer wish to carry.

Curating, dreaming and questioning where you'd like to go. Don't feel like you have to dominate the conversation. Believe that maybe in the stillness of your body and the sweetness of your breath, that there might be a dialogue that comes to you that you don't have to direct. Not all of the voices inside your head are bad. Give a moment to let the sweet voice bloom.

I suggest you stay here as long as you need. But if you're ready, start to wiggle your fingers and your toes. Find your inner strength with an inhale in and reach your hands up overhead. And then exhale, roll to one side and press your way up to sit. We'll close sitting simply on a blanket or just the earth.

Find your pelvis heavy, your hands over your heart and your spine long. Connecting to close, lift your thumbs to the center of your forehead and may your thoughts be full of happiness. Take your thumbs to your lips and may your words be full of kindness. Take your thumbs to your chest. May this practice bring you inner strength for outer power.

Namaste and I hope to see you soon.


Geraldina O
Thank you for Day 5. 
Kate M
1 person likes this.
A sweet practice! I liked the sequencing to side plank. Love that you offer lots of options! Namaste.
Keira Hound
1 person likes this.
Hi Steph, just wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying your summer challenge! The flows are just blissful and your narrative is insightful. Thank you for a really wonderful series and I look forward to series 2😊
1 person likes this.
Kate, Thank you very much! What a pleasure to hear your review. I'm happy that you enjoyed the series!! Be well. 
Kathleen M
Thank you. 
Sandra Židan
Beautiful practice! Thanks, Steph! Namaste! 💝

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