Moving Toward Confidence

I will never forget my first “light bulb moment” that came from practicing Yoga.

I was running late, rushing down a busy Toronto street, trying to catch the subway. Stuck behind a person who was definitely NOT in a hurry, I noticed I was holding my breath, tensing my shoulders and furrowing my brow.

As soon as I noticed how I was carrying myself, I took a deep breath, relaxed my face and rolled my shoulders back and down, opening my chest. The words came out of my mouth as if I hadn’t even chosen them. “Excuse me.” The pokey person moved aside and around I went to the subway.

Seems small, right? For me, it was a big step in learning to use my voice and own my space in the world.

Before I learned to inhabit my body, I wouldn’t have noticed the way I was holding myself physically in that moment. Looking back I can see that my physical state was mirroring my mental/emotional state: holding the breath = trapped. Furrowing the brow = angry and frustrated. Shoulders tensed = stressed.

The earlier me would have also begun rehearsing some comfortable mental tapes: This person is making me late! Why on earth does anyone need to move so slowly? The city is too crowded. It sucks. If I just lived further out I wouldn’t feel so trapped.

That busy morning I unlocked and experienced one of the most powerful offerings of Yoga. My mind shifted considerably when I adjusted the way I was carrying and inhabiting my body.

Suddenly I was not a victim of the person who just happened to have a slower stride on the street. My entire day was not at the mercy of all things out of my control.

With the noticing, the breath, and the physical adjustment, I felt my power and responsibility in that small moment and was able to move into the rest of my day with more ease and less suffering. It was a step closer to building the self-confidence I knew I needed and had wanted for a long time.

This winter, I am offering a 6-week Yoga intensive centering around mind-body cultivation of self-confidence. All information can be found at Heartland Yoga’s site here and on Facebook here. I hope you’ll join me! – Erin

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