Many practice yoga in a studio rather than at home to experience the energy brought on by other students. Choosing to practice yoga with a room full of people can open the door to the depths of insecurity within us. As a yoga instructor, I often feel the pressure to be thin or have an advanced practice because of the rapidly expanding community of people who gravitate towards yoga everyday. I have witnessed the look of insecurity on so many faces and know what its like to fear entering a class based on the skill level. Because I have often struggled with self-acceptance in the past I am extremely aware and sensitive to those who feel bad about themselves. Although yoga reinforces self-awareness and staying present, it can often over emphasize the parts of ourselves that we struggle with the most. When insecurity overshadows your yoga practice, there needs to be an internal restructuring to break out of that negative mindset.
Here are 4 ways to keep your confidence in a yoga class.
Find inspiration. Find inspiration in other people’s accomplishments rather than creating jealousy or insecurity within. Allow other people’s achievements to be your motivation. Recognize their abilities and let that empower you to be the best version of yourself. You don’t have to be the best yogi in the room but when you are true to your body, that’s the most advanced practice of all.
Learn to let go. There is an interesting dichotomy between our yoga practice and our everyday lives. If there is insecurity and competition off of the mat, it will most certainly manifest itself back into your yoga practice. Walking into a class with heavy thoughts can bring on the worst parts of who we are. Envy, embarrassment, and pain can take away from finding peace in the moment. Learn to let go. Let go not only when you walk into class (because it will be there when you leave) but also when you step back into reality. Letting go is what ultimately brings us to our freedom.
Put things into perspective. The body’s capabilities are unbelievable. There are many people in the world that cannot walk or move their limbs at all. The action of stepping onto the mat is an achievement on its own. Holding any yoga posture demands an incredible amount of strength. Downward facing dog is a challenging posture that most people take for granted. Beginning practitioners find those common yoga postures difficult and may admire others from afar who are comfortable in them. Each person’s goal is unique and we will never really know what is going on in his or her mind. Why torture your own mind in the process? Put things into perspective and find power and confidence in your own personal achievement.
Be content. Be content with what is. When we fight life it will continue to battle with us. Be content with where your body is in the moment. The strengths, weaknesses, aches and pains all reflect the person you are and what you have been through. Be content with where you are in the moment for that moment is all there is.
Yoga is a moving meditation. The challenge is to keep the mind quiet, especially from distractions that take away from self-love. Training the mind to think differently and find stillness in the moment is like training a muscle. With persistence, the power to think positively will get stronger in time.