Confidence and Yoga

“Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.”

~ BKS Iyengar

When I was six I used to compete in acclaimed national musical festivals. I was good, and I knew it. With youth on my side and a healthy strong ego attached to my innocence, combined with a genuine desire to excel, I began my tapestry. I have since recognised that our most instinctive journeys are just like the webbing of our nervous system. And, it is through the nerves that we get all our sensory and motor messages. I am also convinced; it was through these early performing arts experiences, that I begin to lay my foundation, framework, and fears.

As these childhood and adolescent pathways were magnetically charging me towards greater challenges in the arts, my confidence somewhere along that journey was becoming damaged. I continued to sing my way through high school plays, community theatre, youth choirs and amateur productions, but the accolades I received instilled a paralysing fear in me, instead of building me up with my 6-year old confidence.

Discipline and practise alleviate fear and inhibitions

I can recall several auditions and performances that were tension filled and the stakes high. Higher than any other emotional charge I could ignite for myself. Those moments were imprinted on my soul like nerve damage to muscles. These gigs were branding me, for better or worse, inside and out. 

I can recall several auditions and performances that were tension filled and the stakes high. Those moments were imprinted on my soul like nerve damage to muscles.

The repetitive cycle of fear induced emotions like failure, judgment, and loneliness, and became a constant as they sat on my shoulder criticising me. Or so my psyche thought; I lacked perfection and the drive for excellence. As I continued to sing my way through this ‘playbox,’ into young adulthood, and without knowing, I simultaneously began to manifest what I feared the most; accomplishment, failure, judgment, and loneliness.

Herein lies a very important question for any one of us who has a strong self-critic, who lives with a lot of perceived or self-judgment, shame, or who has experienced a perfectionist complex: How can we successfully repave the foundational pathways so our brains can receive more positive influences and messages to the inner self? The answer is simply to cultivate a yoga practice.

The Warrior 1: One of several yoga poses, which inherently state, ‘go confidently’

When our bodies endure nerve damage, there are inaccurate and deficient messages being sent to the brain Similarly, when we self-critique, we miss the opportunity to be our very best selves, disregarding the cues, the praise, and the positive messages to the psyche.

How can we successfully repave the foundational pathways so our brains can receive more positive influences and messages to the inner self? 

As I race against time and see my inner self now, no longer as a young adult, but fast-approaching middle age, the intellect in me tells me to relish in my great accomplishments. Just like I did instinctually as my 6-year-old self. Today, I use my yoga to assist greatly with bringing harmony to the body and mind. And although that same critic appears on my mat as I practise from time to time, her unfavourable remarks about my practice, my commitment, and my drive are quieter and less meaningful each time I take to my yoga. My self-critic is the nerve damage to my soul who I am constantly rehabilitating with my yoga. When the body and mind have balance, I am able to ride high above shame, which is the best accomplishment. 

By the way, my self-critic just texted me, “Yoga isn’t always the answer to everything,” she proclaimed. But, my confident adult-self believes yoga truly IS the answer to everything. Namaste

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