Confidence and courage may not come naturally to you; in fact, you may have to dig deep to find a game face just for stepping out the door each day. If this is the case, practice yoga -- especially poses that will help you throw your shoulders back, hold your head high and live more confidently.
Just the name alone may give you a little shiver of anticipation: Warrior pose. That’s not to say you will be ready to throw on a copper breastplate like Xena after practicing the three poses in this series, but you will learn how to hold yourself like her. Warrior II is always a crowd favorite because you get to tinker with your arm and hand positions more than Warriors I and III; but all three of these standing poses are prized for building tremendous strength in your legs and for inculcating the mindset of a champion.
Falling out of Tree pose a half dozen times or so in a row will teach you a thing or two about conquering your fears -- of looking silly, of failing or perhaps of never getting something right. Balancing on one leg in Tree pose is illustrative of how life can throw you off kilter and fill you with doubt about your capabilities. But if you persist and manage to stay grounded in this pose for even 30 seconds, you will feel a sense of triumph that will follow you off the mat and into your world.
Lord of the Dance Pose
Like Tree pose, the Lord of the Dance requires you to balance on one leg. But how it differs is how it makes you feel. It’s a pretty pose, and no matter your level of yoga skill, you’ll look, and more importantly, feel attractive performing it. And when you feel attractive, your confidence level shoots up dramatically. Make Lord of the Dance one of your go-to poses for building your mettle.
Bow is classified as a back bend in yoga. But what makes it really effective as a courage- and confidence-builder is that it forces you to broaden or open your chest. If you have lived with self-doubt, you’ll probably have noticed that you tend to shrink into yourself. You squeeze your shoulders forward, which collapses your chest and gives you the overall appearance of someone fearful. Bow pose, along with other chest-openers, like Cobra, Camel, Bridge and Fish, teaches you to deal with your vulnerabilities.
It is unlikely that you will wake up one day and leap out of bed wrapped in a superhero’s cloak of invincibility by practicing yoga. But, by attempting poses that take you outside your comfort zone, you add layers of confidence that can’t be stripped away once they are part of your makeup. That’s not to say you should attempt something dangerous to test your mettle; only poses that help you to build your confidence and courage step by step.
Linda Kaban is a certified yoga teacher and professional life coach who specializes in helping people achieve their fitness goals. With a bachelor's degree in the humanities, Kaban has been writing since 1998 and has been published in YOGALife magazine along with other healthy living publications.