Enter: Yoga poses to help increase your confidence.
"Yoga has dramatically increased my self-confidence," says Jessamyn Stanley, an Instagram celebrity and yoga instructor for Cody, an online source for fitness. "When I initially began practicing, it was extremely difficult for me to compliment myself on my physical abilities. I always valued my faults over my accomplishments, and could never really be grateful for my body's abilities."
Jessamyn noted that the real shift in her self-confidence came when she began documenting her yoga practice via photography.
"Taking pictures of my body practicing asana basically saved my mental and emotional health and I'm definitely not exaggerating," she shared. "Do you know how many people avoid mirrors and photos specifically because they don't want to acknowledge what their body actually looks like? I used to be one of those people."
Admitting that it was "very difficult" to look at her body when she first began posting photos on Instagram, saying, "All I could see were the parts I needed to change, and the ways my poses could be better," Jessamyn slowly but surely began to love and appreciate her body for its strength.
"I saw how strong I was, and how all the parts of my body I thought needed to change were key components of my strength," she said. "I was forced to actually evaluate why I didn't like certain parts of myself for the first time in my life. It's been an unexpected opportunity to clarify how I actually evaluate my strengths and weaknesses. I'm grateful for this opportunity to therapeutically mend years of self-imposed body shame."
And Jessamyn certainly isn't the first, or last, yogi to notice this shift in her mental state of being. Many studies have shown a correlation between practicing yoga and increased self-confidence. A big part of this has to do with yoga's ability to help relieve stress.
"When we're stressed out, we may become more self-critical about our weight and eating habits, and in turn, a preoccupation with food, exercise and physical appearance brings more stress into our lives," writes Carolyn Gregoire. "Not only can yoga help promote self-acceptance, but it's also been proven to relieve stress. Calm-inducing resting poses can be particularly helpful for easing a mind that's busy with negative thoughts."
To sum things up: A less stressed-out gal equals a happier, more confident woman!
"Yoga has transformed my relationship with my body by allowing me to make a lasting connection between my physical actions and my mind," Jessamyn adds. "Practicing asana requires that an individual silence parts of the mind which tend to overwhelm concentration, and I'm able to have a more positive relationship with my physical body as a result."
So which yoga poses does Jessamyn gravitate towards to channel her inner Beyoncé (aka boost her confidence)?
"Half Moon Pose requires that you reset your idea of stability by re-imaging your two legs as one, plus one arm. That little perspective shift translates to a hell of a lot of new perspective in the rest of your life when you're attempting to find balance."
"Because it's such an unexpectedly huge backbend and heart opener, it teaches patience and requires a humble attitude. When you can be patient and humble, it's much easier to garner confidence and be happier overall."
"Dolphin Pose requires enormous shoulder strength, it kind of brings out the inner Atlas in every yoga practitioner — if you can (literally) bear all the weight of your body on your shoulders, what can't you accomplish in the rest of your life?"
"There's something about stretching your top arm high, with energy shooting out of your fingertips and your body lengthening from every direction, that makes a practitioner at any stage feel like a total rock star."
"A hip opener, especially a good deep one like single pigeon, releases all of the anxiety, fear and flight urges which perfume our day to day lives. When you release those chains, confidence and happiness are the only elements remaining."
"I think the physical exuberance of practicing yoga asana is hardly personified better than dancer pose. No matter how it's expressed, the practitioner's form is always the absolute definition of free happiness and that translates to other parts of life."
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