I’m unsure of the exact moment I began to dislike my body and myself in my youth. I do recall the moment I began to accept and love myself. It was in April of 2014 as I did a backbend at the Ashtanga Mysore class. My instructor was helping me to get more profound than I had ever before. I felt something within me break open. It was not physical, however, one that I certainly felt. When I stepped out of the position, I broke down in tears, and my self-loathing began to be released alongside the tears. The next day, for the first time since childhood, I was at work and didn’t even think, let alone think, about what others considered my body.
Although not everyone can experience an instantaneous and complete moment of clarity, as I did however, there are many ways to increase self-acceptance by practicing yoga. Here are seven methods to assist you in your journey to self-acceptance.
The moment you step onto your mat to do an hour or two of exercise is a sign of gratitude to yourself. Whatever your motivation for laying out your carpet, take note of the minor gesture you’ve made to yourself; a tiny moment to get free from everyday life’s daily stresses as an hour of relaxation. Whenever you claim a time for your practice, you affirm that you’re worthy of being loved and nurtured.
We build confidence in ourselves as a “muscle” as we develop our muscles in our physical body. As we gain strength in the body, especially in the core, our confidence grows also. Every move starts at the center, from walking to reaching for something. So an energized heart naturally leads to more vigorous movements.
A strong core can boost our confidence, as it is the solar plexus chakra Mani Pura, the source of our self-image and self-love. The more solid your body is it will be more energetic. Can give to this vital chakra. Make a point of building your core strength by adding poses like the savasana, plank, chaturanga, arm balances, and jump-throughs to your routine.
Release Stress by breathing
When stressed and anxious, we are in the sympathetic nervous system and constantly fight or flee. Suppose we’re in this mindset and can’t access the higher-thinking part of our brain, which makes it more difficult for us to stay away from negative thoughts and adversities and distinguish between real and imaginary threats. We are prone to fall back into old patterns and believe in stories that aren’t real.
Breath is a powerful tool to assist us in releasing ourselves from fighting or flight mode. When we use our minds to keep controlled breathing and focus on the breath, we can let go of negativity and experience immediate relaxation. By going a step further and ensuring that your exhales are longer than your inhales, you can allow the parasympathetic nervous systems to take over and shift us into a state of relaxation. Relaxation mode will enable us to gain control over our brain and focus on more mindful actions and thoughts.
Cultivate Body Awareness
When we continue to practice and practice, we are more aware of our bodies, from our breath to our toes and everything in between. Yoga is a meditative practice that requires us to pay close attention to small details like how we change between poses, how we position the limbs, and how we control our breathing. The more we do yoga and learn, the more we recognize our body and what it can do rather than just what it appears to be.
The yoga mat is supposed to be a supportive and un-judgmental space to test ourselves. Discovering and facing difficulties on the carpet can help build self-acceptance. Through regular practice, poses that used to be impossible to us are now possible and eventually effortless. This natural process alters our confidence in ourselves and our capabilities and improves self-acceptance.
Emphasize Progression Over Perfection
Yoga is about progress but not about perfecting everything. The yoga practice is a tool, a journey that is not a destination. Finding the patience and the joy through the process and recognizing our own needs assists us in letting off perfectionist tendencies, which are one of the biggest enemies of self-love and acceptance. Accepting our current position on the mat will increase the approval of our place in our lives.
Release the Issues in the Tissues
We do not come from believing we’re not good enough. This notion comes later on, gets incorporated into specific parts of our bodies, and continues to travel with us until we can let it go. All yoga and bodywork instructors will talk about the emotions that flow when you let go and feel an ease in your body. The people who study fascia, specifically Tom Myers, James Oschmann, and Paul Grilley, suggest memories and trauma are stored within the solid and durable connective tissue. Yoga, particularly yin, helps release the fascia and its negative energy.
The personal breakthrough I experienced during that backbend occurred following years of regular dedicated practice that integrated the seven techniques. I’m still not perfect and get some setbacks now and then, as do all of us, but through consistent training and awareness, I’m becoming more adept at accepting and loving myself. I’m confident that you can achieve the same.