Confidence and self-esteem are attributes that serve us every single day of our lives. When we value ourselves, we are more likely to make positive choices for our relationships, health, and career. When we feel confident, we can stand up for ourselves by asking for a promotion or telling our partner what we need from the relationship. If we lack self-esteem, we may become stagnant in patterns that do not serve our well-being, afraid to make the changes necessary for growth.
No matter where you currently stand in relationship to yourself, yoga is great way to build up your confidence and self-esteem. As a physical practice, it gets us more in touch with our body so that we feel strong and capable as we move through the world. It also teaches us to value ourselves and connects us with a community of like-minded others who are already doing the same.
For most people, self-confidence is directly tied to body image. In a world that seems to value physical beauty above almost anything else, we are taught to consider our own value in terms of how we look. This is especially true for women, who are more prone to develop eating disorders and other forms of dysfunction in the never-ending struggle for beauty.
Yoga remedies this situation in a couple of different ways. Of course, a regular yoga practice will cause positive physical changes in your body. It can help us slim down and develop more muscle tone. But the benefits of yoga are much more than skin-deep. As you move through your practice, you begin to develop a deeper appreciation for your body–not only how it looks, but how it feels and what it can do.
Beginning yogis often look at the impressive poses of their teachers and think, “I’ll never be able to do that.” But if they stay committed to a steady practice, they often end up amazing themselves with increased strength and flexibility that make more and more new poses possible. This process improves our sense of confidence and ease with being in our physical form. We begin to stand taller and feel more energetic in our daily lives.
As we gain more ease with our bodies, we tend to feel stronger and more secure with our inner selves as well. This, in turn, works wonders for our confidence as we move through the world. No matter what we look like, our self-image improves as we learn to value the body for how it serves us on a daily basis.
Many yoga teachers incorporate some form of meditation or visualization into their classes. For example, you may be guided to picture golden light flowing into your crown chakra, or to visualize negative emotions releasing with each exhalation. Engaging the mind in this way acts as positive reinforcement for our entire being, complementing the physical practice of yoga by helping us go deeper within ourselves.
By taking the time to fill ourselves with positive and loving energy, we automatically begin to value ourselves more deeply. As we practice with fellow yogis and yoginis, we connect with a whole community of people who are also willing to make time for self-care. This encourages us to develop our concept of self-love as we are given the space to nurture ourselves. In this way, yoga connects us with our own inner source of love, rather than relying exclusively on others to value and care for us.
Yoga helps us develop confidence and ease with our bodies. It encourages us to see ourselves in a better light and value our physical vehicle beyond how it looks on the outside. Meanwhile, yoga also helps us cultivate loving energy within ourselves and connects us with a community of people doing the same. In all of these ways, yoga is a wonderful way to uplift your spirits and develop greater confidence and self-esteem. This will serve you well in every aspect of your life, so that you can more easily create the life you desire.
Written By: Sarah Baldwin