All women, including models, yearn to discover their immense inner beauty and to find inspiration, as well as refuge, as gravity and time alter their outer bodies. Coming to a love of one’s self takes discipline, diligence, and dedication—all keys to being a well-adjusted woman in this crazy world. I aspire for every one of us to be real, to look in the mirror and say, “You are the bomb.”
Models seem drawn to yoga in unusually high numbers. My guess is they come because yoga helps them find balance and a sense of self in a profession where outward appearances matter most.
Most models have been on the roller coaster of acceptance and rejection so long that many of them are confused and exhausted. They reflect the challenges that women face in our society at large: the roles we’re expected to play, the ideal bodies we’re expected to maintain, even the voices we’re not expected to have.
Real beauty comes from the inside—from kindness, love, and acceptance. Standing poses help build the stability, strength, and courage to stand on your own two feet and to find confidence in the beauty and grace of your body.
Arm balance poses also help women build upper-body strength and feel more empowered. Recently, a seventy-year-old diva of a woman in my class demonstrated crow pose. Everyone was exhilarated and inspired.
I asked her afterward what she gets from her yoga practice, and she said with a sly smile, “I love being able to do stuff that people half my age can’t do.”
Mountain Pose (tadasana). Stand at the front of your mat with your feet together and your arms alongside your body, palms facing inward. Feel the strength of your legs as your feet ground, and draw energy up along your inner legs from your inner arches to the pelvic floor to the light and easy expanse of your chest. Concentrate on balancing your head directly over the center of your chest. Gaze softly over the tip of your nose. Hold for 5 breaths.
Volcano Pose (urdhva hastasana). From Mountain, inhale and reach your arms actively up alongside your ears. Soften your neck and reach your arms higher to lengthen your waist and hollow your belly. Stay in the pose for 5 breaths.
Triangle Pose (trikonasana). Stand at the front of your mat and step to the right so that your feet are 3 to 4 feet wide. Inhale as you raise your arms up and out, parallel to the floor. Turn your left foot in 15 degrees and your right foot out 90 degrees. Inhale and strengthen your legs, then exhale and extend your torso to the right over the plane of your forward leg. Rest your right hand on your right shin, a block, or the floor just outside your right foot. Lift your left arm straight up toward the ceiling. As you did in Mountain, root your feet to strengthen your legs and draw energy up from the inner ankles, first to the pelvic floor, then through the top of the sternum. Align your head with your heart center, and twist your upper torso to the left while pushing strongly into your right hand. Stay for 5 breaths. Press down firmly on your left big toe mound to initiate the lift of your torso, and come to stand on an inhale without wobbling. Change sides and repeat.
Excerpted from Yoga for Life by Colleen Saidman Yee. Copyright © 2015 by Atria Books. Used with permission.