The New Year is a time for reflection, contemplation and renewal. As you look to set intentions and create positive shifts in your life, the practice of yoga can be a great way to support this journey. Yoga helps to cultivate inner strength, emotional balance, mental clarity, and deep peace, all of which are essential for wellbeing and personal growth. To start your year off on the right foot, here are 14 yoga poses to help you center the mind and give power to your New Year’s intentions.
Mountain Pose is a powerful reminder to stand tall and proud like a mountain, and to return to the present moment. It is physically, emotionally and mentally grounding, and practicing this asana promotes confidence, body awareness, stability, openness, and inner peace. On a deeper level, this pose can help to foster a sense of strength, courage and resilience, which can be especially beneficial for those that are embarking on a new journey or making a major life change. Taking a few slow deep breaths in Mountain Pose can help to center and ground your body, allowing you to create a strong base from which to begin their new year.
Chair Pose is one of the most powerful asanas to build inner strength, emotional balance and mental clarity. Energetically, this pose builds heat helps to invigorate and energize the body, providing an overall sense of strength, physical health, aliveness, and confidence. Chair pose helps to build strength and stability in the legs and core, which can increase feelings of grounding, stability, and balance. Incorporating this pose into your yoga practice can provide a sense of connection to the present moment and the ability to move forward with clarity, focus, optimism, and grace.
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This classic balancing yoga pose is a great way to bring your attention to the present moment and focus on your breath. Tree pose helps improve balance and concentration, while strengthening the legs, ankles, and feet. Mentally, it helps bring clarity and focus, aiding in the decision-making process and encouraging growth. Emotionally, it reduces stress and anxiety, allowing for a sense of calm and relaxation. It also cultivates confidence, courage, and resilience in the face of change and uncertainty. Energetically, it helps promote a feeling of groundedness and stability, to help us keep our center during times of transition and new beginnings.
Practicing one or more Downward Dogs in a yoga sequence can be very helpful for people who are on the cusp of a new beginning or a major life change. Physically, this asana helps to releasing stress and tension by stretching the legs and back muscles. Mentally, it calms the mind and cultivates a sense of clarity and focus, aiding in making decisions. Emotionally, down dog helps to increase self-confidence and self-esteem, while also encouraging better body awareness and a greater sense of wellbeing. This asana encourages commitment to positive actions that bring about change in a person’s life, and create a sense of hope and optimism for the future.
Warrior I is an energizing and empowering yoga pose that cultivates strength, balance, and focus.Physically, Warrior One opens the chest and hips and builds strength and stability in the legs and core, which can help create a stable foundation for growth.
Mentally, this warrior pose can help to release stress and worry, creating more mental space for clarity and focus. The expansive chest opening of this powerful pose encourages natural breath and helps to cultivate a more optimistic outlook. Emotionally, it can help to cultivate courage and resilience, as well as providing a sense of grounding and connection to the present moment.
Warrior One is a great pose for new beginnings and change, as it encourages a yoga student to stand firmly and resolutely in their own power and courage. This pose can be a great source of inspiration and motivation as individuals move forward with their lives.
Warrior Two (Virabhadrasana II)
Practicing Warrior II pose helps to build strength, courage, confidence and determination; all essential qualities when beginning something new or making a major life change. Physically, the pose encourages increased flexibility and balance, while mentally it can help to put life into perspective and foster a sense of inner calm and peace. On an emotional level, this posture opens up the chest and lungs, increase feelings of joy, aiding in emotional release and emotional clarity. Its opening of the chest and heart can help to open up to new opportunities, while its grounding nature helps to create a sense of security.
Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
Triangle Pose is a classic standing yoga pose that inspires inner strength, emotional balance, and mental clarity. Physically, the pose increases strength and flexibility in the legs, hips and spine. It also helps to improve posture, balance, and stability by activating your core muscles. Practicing Trikonasana can also boost stamina, energy, and metabolism.
Mentally, the pose encourages mindfulness, allowing practitioners to be present in the moment and focus on their breathing. Emotionally, the pose helps to open the heart, allowing practitioners to be more open-minded and accepting of new ideas. It can also help to increase feelings of confidence and self-worth. Finally, energetically, the pose helps to unblock stagnant energy in the entire body, allowing practitioners the freedom and ease to move forward on their journey to new beginnings and change.
Plank Pose (Phalakasana)
Plank Pose engages the core, arms, and legs and is a great way to tone the glutes and hips. It helps to align the spine, improve posture, and reduce lower back pain. Mentally, Plank Pose helps build concentration, focus, and determination. Emotionally, Plank Pose helps to cultivate courage and self-discipline, while also increasing self-confidence and body awareness.
Energetically, Plank Pose activates the navel chakra, or manipura, increasing tapas and willpower in practice and life. This pose builds mental endurance and helps to cultivate discipline and focus, making it an excellent pose for navigating new beginnings and difficult transitions.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Cobra is a beginner level backbend pose that strengthens and stretches the spine, chest and shoulders, while releasing tension in the lower back. It also stimulates the digestive system and kidneys, which energizes the body and provides motivation to take action in life. On a mental level, it can bring a sense of calmness, provide clarity and focus, and help release any negative thought patterns.
On an energetic level, it can help to ignite the energy of the solar plexus, and give a boost of creativity, willpower, and motivation. Its ability to open the heart center helps support a greater sense of self-love and acceptance, with improved self-confidence and emotional stability.
Child Pose (Balasana)
This gentle and calming pose brings inner peace and balance, even during difficult times. Physically, Child’s Pose lengthens and stretches the spine, relieves neck and lower back pain, and gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles. Mentally, it helps to reduce anxiety and fear while encouraging reflection, meditation and stillness. Child pose also helps to ease stress and fatigue while calming the mind, body, and spirit.
Emotionally, this asana brings balance and harmony to the body and soul, providing a sense of inner peace and security. It gives a sense of grounding, stability, and security in moments of transition and change. By regularly practicing Child pose, yoga students can cultivate a stronger connection to their inner self, allowing them to feel empowered to embark on new beginnings and make difficult changes.
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
Seated forward bend is an incredibly soothing pose that releases tension and draws awareness inwards. Physically, this pose helps to stretch the spine, hamstrings, and calf muscles. It can also help to relieve tension in the back of the body, massage abdominal organs, and soothe the central nervous system. On a mental level, it helps to relieve stress, clear the mind, and increase concentration, allowing for clarity of thought and mindful decision-making..
Seated Forward Bend energizes the Manipura chakra and enhances the flow of energy in the back of the body, promoting balance and vitality. Emotionally, it can help to boost self-confidence and provide a sense of empowerment, while allowing for a release of negative emotions or energies that can help to make way for new beginnings. It also helps to relieve anxiety and depression, reduce feelings of anger, and promote feelings of calmness, relaxation, and overall well-being. As you practice this asana, allow your breathing to slow and deepen, and focus on the sensation of your body letting go of any negativity accumulated over the past year.
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose is a seated spinal twist that nourishes the spine, opens the chest and shoulders, and strengthens the abdominal muscles. This pose increases blood flow to the digestive and reproductive organs, helps to improve digestion, stimulate the kidneys, and reduce stress and fatigue.
Mentally, Ardha Matsyendrasana encourages a sense of tranquility and calmness, helping to reduce stress levels and allowing practitioners to let go of past worries and fears. It also helps to balance the nervous system and clear mental blockages and bring clarity to one’s thoughts. Energetically, this pose can help to open the heart chakra, which can lead to greater self-acceptance and an improved sense of self-worth. Emotionally, it can help to release old emotions and anxieties that may hold one back from growth and transformation.
Prayer Squat Pose (Malasana)
Malasana is a calming, grounding pose that helps to open the hips and lower back, promoting greater flexibility, strength, and balance in the lower body. Stretching the muscles around the hips can help ease stress and anxiety, and can help unlock and open up the hips to allow for emotional release. Practicing Malasana can help to cultivate a sense of resilience and strength, while also helping to release any blockages that may prevent personal growth and progress.
Malasana, is a powerful grounding asana that encourages inner reflection and a greater awareness of the body and mind, providing clarity and presence. It also opens the heart and encourages acceptance and positive thinking, helping to break down barriers that may stand in the way of growth and transformation. Malasana has the power to help one move through moments of difficulty with greater ease and grace, and ultimately, to create space for positive change.
Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)
Happy Baby Pose can relieve tension in the lower back and, open the hips and stretch the groin, hips, and inner thighs. Mentally, Happy Baby Pose can offer a sense of contentment, ease and stillness. It helps to center the mind, reducing stress and anxiety, allowing one to find inner peace and contentment.
Emotionally, Happy Baby Pose can help to foster feelings of love, compassion, and acceptance. It helps with releasing trapped emotions and healing any emotional wounds that one may be holding on to. On an energetic level, Happy Baby Pose helps to open the root and sacral chakras, allowing for a greater flow of energy throughout the hips and legs. It also enhances the flow of prana or life force energy, creating a feeling of vitality and well-being.