I had a dream last night. I was about to teach a yoga class when I suddenly looked down to find I was butt naked. I know nude yoga is increasing in popularity, but this was definitely one of those classes when you’re supposed to keep your clothes on.
It made me realise that I had been feeling anxious about leading a class the following day, and even though I’ve been teaching for a while, it doesn’t stop self-doubt creeping in from time to time.
You're Stronger Than You Think
Most insecurities are superficial and are driven by irrational fears, but we all have moments when we could use a confidence boost and power up in a positive way that will make us feel more empowered and ready for anything -- whether that’s a new yoga class we’re teaching or taking, a tough day ahead, or an interview for our dream job.
Most often we try to psyche ourselves up mentally and end up drinking a lot of caffeine in order to get through those things which make us feel a little on edge or challenged, but that’s not always healthy or helpful. The truth is, all you have to do is show up in the right way, with the right intention and an open-minded attitude in order to access the reservoir of your own resourcefulness. You see, you’re already stronger than you think.
So how to tap into that infinite energy, inner wisdom and awaken your inner warrior, so you might release the abundance of your own substance? Here are four tricks for you to fall back on when you feel less than fearless:
1. Understand your objective and define your goal.
What is it you want to achieve here? Be clear on your objective, intention or goal. Then hold that outcome in your mind. Visualise how you will feel once you have achieved it and let it give you the strength to face those things that give you chills.
2. Create a positive affirmation.
Give yourself an anchor point by creating an affirmation. Write down, in your own words – be positive. Recite it to yourself every time you feel weak and wobbly.
3. Be prepared to fail.
Even though you might want something really bad, accept that this too is all an experience. And if it doesn’t work out the way you are hoping, perhaps it wasn’t meant to be and there is something to be seen, an insight, from this experience. Be open to what the moment has to teach and reveal to you.
4. Be kind.
Remember to be kind to yourself. Give yourself encouragement and only engage in compassionate internal dialogue. Don’t let the demons or self doubt to creep in.
Additionally, here are a few tools for you to include in your practice to boost your confidence and help you feel effortlessly empowered:
1. Hold the power in your hands.
Practice Prithivi mudra, by simply touching the tip of the ring (fourth) finger with the tip of the thumb. It will help to charge the root chakra, Muladhara, and activate its stabilising, earthy qualities - helping you to feel more grounded and established in yourself. This mudra can also help you to free yourself from irrational thoughts and fears.
2. Make like a little humming bee.
Practice Brahmari pranayama or humming Bee breath. It will instantly calm you down and dispel anxiety and make you feel more focused. To practice, sit up straight in a quiet space, free of distractions. Take a deep breath in and as you breath out, keep the lips together and make an Mmmmm sound.
You may feel a subtle vibration on the lips and/or around the jaw and back of the skull. Observe the sensations within the body and repeat between 10-15 times. You can place your fingers in your ears to tune our external stimulus, but some people prefer not to.
3. Use Ujjayi
Ujjayi isn’t called Victorious breath for nothing. Use it to keep the mind calm and focused and to overcome difficultly.
Breath in and out slowly and deeply, contracting the throat slightly to make an ocean like sound. As you listen to your breath, call to mind your objective and affirmation and allow the mind to still. Keep calm and let your concentration, confidence, courage, creative energy and sense of vitality increase with every inhale. Release any doubt or negativity on the exhale.
4. Practice self love and empowerment through meditation
There is plenty of research to be found that suggests that meditation can help to increase self confidence, since it helps us to live more fully by embracing the moment and re-frames our relatlionship to suffering. Before we’re able to offer up kindness to the world, we must first support and love ourselves, so start to practice kindness towards yourself.
- Sit in a comfortable place, upright and begin to observe the breath as it comes in and as it goes out.
- Bring your focus to your heart centre, and with each inhale, breathe in love and compassion and kindness, allowing it to envelop and radiate into the very core of you, as you feel your heart start to soften and yourself becoming more open.
- Keep calm and let your concentration, confidence, courage, creative energy and sense of vitality increase with every inhale. With each exhale release any negativity, tension or resistance.
- With each breath, move yourself to a place of gratitude and consider all the things you have to be thankful in acknowledging all the things good in your life.
- When you’re ready, take a few full deep breaths to close the practice.
Next week, we’ll explore the key poses that will help you power up and awaken the wise warrior within. (They might not be the ones you expect!)