What is self-confidence?
Self-confidence is all about trusting yourself. It’s not to be confused with self-esteem which is how you feel about yourself. They are related but not quite the same: self-confidence focuses on the outside world and self-esteem on your inner self. Also, there are two types of self-confidence – the ability to trust your self to do a task and the ability to trust yourself in general life. It is possible to have self-confidence in one of the areas and not the other. Yoga can help all round but I will come to that later
Do you trust yourself in life or do you prefer to let others make decisions for you? Do you procrastinate when it comes to making decisions for fear of getting things wrong?
Many years ago I had a corporate career and I built that on having a deal of general self- confidence. I realised that often there was no right or wrong answer and I just had to trust my judgement. As long as I was right more often than others were then things would all be fine. In other areas, my self-confidence failed me completely. Standing up and speaking in public or doing presentations turned me into a quivering jelly
Do you trust yourself to do a specific task – dress well, look after your money. Do you drive safely? I am sure there are some areas where you could do with a boost as no one is completely confident in all areas.
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” ― J.M. Barrie,
How do we know if we are self-confident?
Psychologists have developed measures of self-confidence as it is not an all or nothing thing for everyone. The sort of things they look include:
- Levels of fidgeting hands and hair twiddling
- Sitting up straight or hunched over
- Levels of eye contact
- Facial expressions and hand gestures
- Do you accept compliments well and not ask for them?
- Do you admit your mistakes?
- How willing are you to take risks?
- Do you do what you want or what others want?
You get the idea. I’m sure you can look at yourself and come up with areas where you want to boost your self-confidence. In real life, it’s mostly about the feeling we are ok to do certain tasks.
How yoga helped my self-confidence.
Yoga has changed my life and one of the main benefits to me is improved self-confidence, mainly in my ability to do specific things. Of course, being physically fitter and stronger I can join in more activities.
I have earned a boat master licence. This required physical strength and concentration. Pre-yoga I would not have had the confidence to try – I would have been sure I would fail. These days I have no such qualms, if I fancy giving something a go I will. The other thing is that you are more likely to want to try new activities as well.
Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right – Henry Ford.
In a yoga class, you have to practice the poses in public. To start with you are rubbish but given time you see you see your self-improve relative to others. As you find you can do more your confidence goes up. I have gone from someone who hid at the back of the room to being a yoga teacher. Had you suggested that might happen to anyone who knew me 15 years ago we would have all laughed.
My posture has improved enormously despite being 15 years older. I had quite rounded shoulders from slumping over a desk most of my working life. That’s gone. I sit up straight and walk much taller. My side waist has returned – I had started to look quite dumpy. I now have much more body confidence and am happier in my own skin. Clothes fit better and so I know I look better. This all helps boost your self-confidence.
Boost your self-confidence with yoga.
Let’s look at the ways yoga help you.
Some postures are more confidence boosting than others. I suggest working on those that make us stand up tall and strong and help with balance too. Mountain pose, the warriors, chair and tree. I have deliberately chosen these as they are not difficult and most of us can have a go at them – no super flexibility or strength required. I suggest you incorporate these 4 poses into your regular practice.
This is more than just standing on the spot. In mountain pose, we stand with our feet firmly planted on the floor and out heads reaching towards the sky. Our shoulders are back and down. It is a proud pose. You will look confident even if your not when standing in mountain.
A fierce pose which develops strengthens our legs and a nice straight back. Your front leg is bent with your knee tracking your little toe to prevent injury. Your back leg is straight with your heel further back than your toes. Make sure your body is upright and your hands held high. Look upwards towards your fingers. Hold for a few breaths and repeat on the other side.
This is a lovely pose to develop strength and confidence without being overly difficult. From mountain, pose bend your knees and push your bottom out as if you’re about to sit in a chair. clasp your hands together and point your index fingers. Raise your hands high and if possible pull your arms back behind your ears. Point your fingers towards the opposite corner of the room where the wall meets the ceiling. Stay here for a few long full deep breaths at least three. Five or seven would be better.
Do you meditate regularly as a part of your yoga practice? If so you could make improving self-confidence its focus. I will try and bring you a confidence improving meditation soon.
Has this helped boost your self-confidence? If so please pop a comment and let me know. It would be so helpful if you could share this article on Facebook or twiter too – I want to keep this site free if possible and every share assists that.
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