Self-affirmation

by Leonie Taylor

“What you need is an acceptance of yourself as you are. You are like a seed ….
If seeds had goals, there wouldn’t be very many flowers.”

Al Huang

To practice yoga with genuine ‘ahimsa’, or non-violence, we must feel loving, nurturing and supportive towards ourselves. But many of us carry around a great deal of negativism about ourselves.

Caught in negativity
Typical negative self-beliefs we have are:

  • Negative feedback, past or present, that effects our self-esteem and become part of our self belief system
  • Negative self image that we have about our looks, our bodies, our characteristics
  • Negative assessment, by ourselves or others, of our own abilities
  • Feelings of inferiority compared to others
  • These feelings, however deeply entrenched in our subconscious, can lead us to have low self-esteem, self pity, pessimism, varying levels of depression and often anger and resentment.


Freeing ourselves

By taking responsibility for our emotional health and stability, we can begin to free ourselves of these negative assumptions about who we are. Through our yoga practice, by showing our bodies and minds due respect, by treating ourselves with ahimsa, we are setting ourselves on the right path to self worth.

By letting go of our past emotional bodies, in the same way that we let go of our physical shapes in asana practice, we can liberate ourselves from habitual negativity we feel towards ourselves.
By honouring both our physical and spiritual bodies with regular yoga practice, we give ourselves permission to be ourselves, and place value on being who we are.

Self-affirmation practice:

  1. Each morning, spend at least five minutes, calmly seated with crossed legs, eyes closed, in a place where you will be undisturbed.
  2. List at least five of each of the following kind of positive statements about yourself: “I am…”, “I can…” and “I will…”, such as “I am open”, “I am a good person”, “I am capable”; “I can trust my own judgement”, “I can grow”, “I can change”; “I will respect my own beliefs and decisions”, “I will feel positively about myself today”, “I will challenge myself to change today”.

Using these statements daily has been proven to result in a more positive outlook, optimism and increased feelings of self worth. Remind yourself regularly, especially in moments of self-doubt, of your positive self-affirmations.

Be true to who you are and treat yourself with the respect you deserve, just as you treat your body with the respect it deserves during asana practice.

Regularly assess and reassess how you feel emotionally and physically beyond your asana practice. Use the same techniques of subtle self-examination to honour the changes you feel in yourself from minute to minute, day to day.

Accept and rejoice in who you are.

“It is rewarding to find someone you like, but it is essential to like yourself. It is quickening to recognize that someone is a good and decent human being, but it is indispensable to view yourself as acceptable. It is a delight to discover people who are worthy of respect and admiration and love, but it is vital to believe yourself deserving of these things.”

Jo Coudert

Quotes

“In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.”

— Buddha