“Work on being in with love the person in the mirror who has been through so much but is still standing.”
The concept of self-esteem is centered around your feelings about yourself, how you view yourself, and the extent to which you like/dislike yourself. It is one of the core elements of inner being and yet many struggle with it.
If you struggle with low self esteem, then practicing Yoga can be highly beneficial. In-fact, yoga can help you completely overcome these negative feelings. Before we learn how, let’s have a quick look at the main reasons why low self esteem issues arise.
Why does low self esteem arise?
Low Self-Esteem is a complex issue and can arise because of a variety of reasons as follows:
- Adverse Childhood experiences like Child Abuse, Bullying: When children are harshly criticized for their faults or experience bullying.
- Prejudices and Discrimination: Marginalized communities are maltreated on the basis of their religion, caste, cultural backgrounds, and other traits.
- Negligent Parents: Children who are raised in an unloving environment where the parents are emotionally unavailable.
- Negative Peers: Being a part of a social group that looks down on you, doesn’t respect you.
- Mental Trauma: Any amount of physical, mental, and sexual abuse.
- Poor Body Image: People who are obese and with other body limitations who frequently experience ill-treatment.
- Stress and Bereavement causes low self-esteem.
- Personality traits such as overthinking and negative attitude about oneself.
- Growing up with an Illness.
- Failure at professional front and loss of Job.
Here’s how Low self-esteem manifests itself
Low self-esteem makes a person feel unhappy and less confident. It gives rise to an attitude of self-criticizing, self-doubt, and self-shaming. We all have our share of low self-esteem episodes throughout our life, however, when it becomes a prolonged problem it exacerbates the health and well-being of the person.
Some of the harmful effects of low-self esteem are mentioned below:
1. Depression: People living with low self-esteem are highly vulnerable to the disease of depression. Depression brings along feelings of helplessness, perennial sadness, and emptiness severely affecting patients physical, psychological, and emotional health. In extreme cases, it may lead to suicidal attempts.
2. Eating Disorder and Food Habits: Eating disorder occurs when a person’s relationship with the food is out of control. Some eat too much, some too less while others struggle with the order of eating. Binge eating, Bulimia, Anorexia, are some of the Eating Disorders.
3. Social Anxiety: Social Anxiety or Social Phobia is simply the fear of social interactions and situations. Social Anxiety can be persistent affecting the daily life of an individual. Relationship Dates, Public Speaking, Interviews, Parties, etc., may trigger social anxiety.
4. Codependency: Codependency is an act of sacrificing one’s personal needs and desires to meet the expectations of other people. The actions and thoughts of codependent people revolve around their spouses, relatives, or friends.
5. Lack of Communication: Self-esteem impacts one’s communication and the representation of the self. People with low self-esteem manifest a slack posture, they make more protective gestures (crossing arms), lack expression in their speech, have hesitant speech patterns, develop a pessimistic view of the world, and so much more.
The National Association of Self-Esteem has linked low self-esteem with different types of negative behaviors:
- Poor Academic Performance
- School Dropout
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse
- Criminal Behavior
- Teen Pregnancy
….and many more.
5 ways how yoga boosts your self esteem
Self-Esteem is a state of mind that be changed with perseverance.
One can significantly boost one’s self-esteem if they challenge their negative behavior and strive for a positive attitude and thinking.
The practice of yoga remarkably helps in improving one’s self-esteem, self-confidence, and personal image. The performance of yoga asanas are designed to create a balance of the body that benefits the practitioners physically, mentally, and emotionally.
By strengthening self-confidence, energy levels, power, yoga improves self-esteem. Let’s see how:
1. Boosts your self confidence
The science of yoga is a powerful tool in increasing the sense of focus, improving body posture, fostering personal empowerment, developing mental clarity, etc. And, these, in turn, boost self-confidence in a person.
The act of holding yoga postures and focusing on the breath is vital in clearing the mind and enhancing concentration.
Regular yoga practices release stress and bring more oxygen to the brain thus calming it.
Some powerful poses that help in this regard are as follows:
Warrior Pose II (Virabhadrasana): Balancing the pose combined with core leg strength and focusing on a point with an even breathing is a recipe for awesomeness.
Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana): This mind-body challenging yoga pose is great for a heightened self-confidence.
2. Helps enhance your self-image
Individuals suffering from low-self esteem picture a bad image of themselves. The discipline of yoga is an inward journey that connects us with our core and makes us feel aware and comfortable in our own body. Yoga teaches us to accept and celebrate our bodies.
The following pose is especially helpful in this regard:
Temple Pose (Utkata Konasana): Practice this pose to channelize your inner power and to find harmony both internally and externally. The pose helps you get in touch with your true personality.
3. Helps treat depression
Yoga Postures harbor the capacity to soothe the nerves, to increase the production of endorphins, dopamine, and GABA in the brain helping you fight depression and making you feel lighter and happier.
Here are a few poses that are helpful in this regard:
Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana): A posture for magnifying the blood supply to the brain and stimulating the energy levels.
Backbend Poses: Practice backbend poses like wheel pose, cobra pose, and bow pose that open the chest, is essential for relieving anxiety and depression. Focus on inhalations and exhalations.
Child Pose (Balasana): A calming yoga asana that gives you the opportunity to surrender to the comfort of nature.
4. Helps overcome eating disorders
Yoga encourages mind-body connection and heightened self- awareness leading to mindful eating.
The following poses help in this regard:
Easy Pose (Sukhasana): It helps you let go of fear and balances the root chakra (Muladhara)
Sun Salutation Series: Surya Namaskar for fostering inner strength, power and for the overall well-being.
5. Helps release stuck emotions
When you have a low self esteem, many painful emotions get stuck within your body. These stuck emotions can lead to many issues later on, and can even lead to the onset of physical ailments including body aches, inflammation and auto-immune diseases.
There are many poses in yoga that help open up different areas of your body including your heart chakra, thereby aiding the release of these emotions.
Some poses that are particularly helpful in this regard are as follows:
Extended puppy pose (Uttana Shishosana): In addition to invigorating the mind and opening your heart, this pose allows uncomfortable feelings to come up by removing any resistance. Breathe deeply and consciously feel anything that arises.
Legs up the wall (Viparita Karani): This simple pose help turn on the body’s relaxation response in turn reducing anxiety, stress and conditions like insomina.
Yoga is a method of savoring higher confidence and self-esteem. Practice it for yourself and lead a dignified life with yoga.
About the Author: Manmohan Singh is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He
provides Yoga Teacher Training in India. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas.