Did you know that the area around your abdomen, when strengthened and nurtured with specific and intentional body movements, exercises, breathing techniques and foods, can help to ignite your personal power? That’s right. Not just energetically speaking (and more than just a yogic term), there are certain yoga asanas, or poses, you can practice accompanied with deep, texturized diaphragmatic/belly breathing that can help you stick and reach those New Year goals of yours better.

Here are 5 of my favorite yoga poses I recommend you practice daily, to best boost your motivation, self-worth, self-esteem, and determination toward your desired goals. This area that harnesses your warrior energy is located just above the belly button or third chakra (also known as the solar plexus) and runs all the way up toward the breastbone. When entering any of these poses, take your time to feel it out and then make adjustments that encourage your body to express the full range of motion. Movements should always feel good, and champion a nice stretching or warming sensation--never a sharp pain. Once you are in the pose, stay a while and breathe calmly and fully, in and out solely through the nose with soft eye gaze. Stay for as long as you’d like but try to aim for at least 7-10 breaths in each pose.

1. High Plank / Low Plank

There are many plank variations, and the aim is to target, strengthen and fire up your core. Whatever high or low plank variation you choose, know that modifications, such as placing one or both knees down, performing them against a bench, table, or wall, is perfectly fine. Just practice shifting your shoulders over your wrists when doing the high planks and commit to first shifting your body a little forward (think of coming onto the toenails of your feet) before holding your high plank. Keep your belly hugging in and push the earth away from you, creating a dome in the upper back. Keep equal weight distribution on all your fingers and the heels of your palms and gaze at your thumbs. Breathe steadily. Press into your first fingers and thumbs a smidge more as your exhale and lower into your low plank. In a low plank, keep your elbows hugging into your ribs (this is a what’s called a chaturanga push up—instead of your elbows pointing outwards). This works another part of the torso and aims to better bring your upper and lower chest into the movement and protects the shoulder. You can play around with lifting an extended leg behind you. Remember to keep your belly turned on and tight. Your gaze is still at the ground in front of your nose. Alternate between high and low plank, adding any variations you wish.

2. Side Plank

From a high plank, shift into side plank on the right side by placing your weight into your right hand. Spread your fingers out like starfish. Left leg and feet will stack onto right as you reach your left arm toward the sky. Your gaze follows the top hand as your side body continues to arch up, lifting higher and higher. Keep pushing the bottom hand into the earth. Option to bend the top arm and top leg into a side crunch or do this entire movement on your forearms. Repeat on the other side.

3. Wild Thing

From a high plank, shift into side plank on the right side by placing all your weight into your fanned out right hand. Left leg and feet will stack onto right as you reach your left arm toward the sky. Keep lifting your side body up toward the sky as you drive down into the earth with your right hand. Lift and bend your top leg and step it just behind you, as your bottom foot stays straight and strong. Your top hand drifts toward the crown of your head and your gaze follows your top fingertips. Keep grounding down through your feet as your hips and core lifts to the sky, opening your entire front side as your body invites your body to play with the gentle backbend. Repeat on the other side.

4. Warrior 3

With or without weights in your hands (optional), bring focus on your strong and steady breath, as your body creates a capital letter “T”. Your core is turned on and activated –think muscle hugging bone. Your lifted back leg is also engaged, all 5 toes on the back leg pointing down as you flex your glutes. Keep a flat back as your eyes look down toward the ground. Your standing foot is driving into the ground. Play around with arm variations and push yourself to your edge and feel yourself getting stronger one breath at a time, and then repeat on the other side!

5. Horse Stance or Goddess Pose

From a standing position, take a giant step out to your right (about 3-4 feet apart) and begin to point the knees outwards. Rock your tailbone down toward the earth. Your torso remains tall and upright. Your elbows will hug into the sides of your ribcage as you exhale—palms can face up in tight fists or an option is to hold weighted dumbbells. Keep breathing in and out through the nose and squat lower until the knees are over the toes. Continue to press the hips forward and knees back. Though your belly is tight and activated, keep your shoulders soft and energetically softening down toward the earth. Your eyes look straight ahead, focused, and determined. Stay steadfast and determined to continue strong on your desired and intended goals with these 5 moves. Your warrior power can become ignited and burn away all the excuses and stories that create excuses and limiting beliefs that can derail you from that winning mindset. If you happen to find yourself giving up on your health, fitness, transformation, New Year’s, or life goals, give yourself permission to begin again. Each breath, and each time you start up and do the “work”, you build resilience toward greatness and impeccable self-worth. You are what you repeatedly say to yourself and “do”—so, “do” incorporate more of these poses into your weekly workouts and keep practicing the art of Solar Plexus strengthening!