'I love you.'
Not so hard, is it?
When you love and accept yourself, just as you are; life just gets better and better.
Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself.
High self-esteem is having positive beliefs and expectations about self.
Low self-esteem is having negative and low expectations about self.
A student’s self-talk is a strong indicator of self-esteem. For instance, ‘I can’t do this posture,’ usually means; ‘I don’t have faith in myself’. And ‘This is too hard,’ usually means ‘Life is hard and I am afraid to try’.
Other indicators of self-esteem during yoga are pushing into postures because ‘I must achieve’. This means, ‘I will push myself into doing things I don’t want to do even if it hurts me’.
As you notice the struggle, use this as your guide for improvement. Say things like ‘There is no right or wrong; there is no need to push; just relax and allow the posture (and life) to come to you. Let go and trust that you (and the world) will support you’.
Self-esteem can be improved at any age by offering positive acknowledgment of virtues.
Acknowledge peaceful and self-accepting moments to show children that life is easier if you can accept where you are in this moment. Use affirmations like ‘accept yourself right here and now’ and ‘I am where I am, and it’s ok’.
By improving self-talk, self-esteem and communication improve.
Yoga improves self-esteem by mirroring desired virtues. Warrior Poses reflect assertiveness. Child’s Pose reflects acceptance and humility (being humble). Lion Pose improves the ability to ‘speak up’. Dancer’s Pose improves grace and confidence.
Virtues developed through the physical body become a part of the emotional body. All emotional experiences become part of the physical body and evolve its shape and posture. It is all interconnected.
When you are true of purpose, in mind, body and spirit, you move with confidence and joy. When you open your heart to love, you experience freedom and spontaneity.
Yoga improves emotional IQ by offering a space where body language reflects emotional language and by improving the body, the mind follows.
Using yoga as the tool for personal transformation is a loving, healthy, peaceful and honourable way to improve self-esteem in yourself, your family, your community and the world.
Loving the self leads to loving others
From my children's book Yoga for Little Bears
‘Where does inspiration come from anyway?’ I asked.
‘It’s easy’ Shane said. ‘Just put two things together that you like.’
‘Okay’ I answered. ‘I like yoga.’ Looking around the food court I added, ‘I like teddies, but how does that become an idea?’
‘Well, put them together.’
‘Okay. Yoga and teddies. OH I know! I can create a book on teddies doing yoga! What a great idea!’
‘See’ he smiled, sipping his coffee, ‘an idea!’
I went home and created four paintings. But I didn’t know what to do next? So I shelved the paintings and worked on another book; ‘Simply Yoga,’ and my CD ‘Perfect Body.’ After two years they were complete and published. Not knowing what to do with Yoga Bear, I did what all artists do: I started working on another book.
But Yoga Bear kept calling me. In 2012 I decided to complete it. I changed the size of the page to match ‘Simply Yoga’ and created new paintings. I didn’t know what the text would be, so began by describing ‘how to do’ the poses.
On my birthdayI jumped out of a plane with my friends hubby, Mac. I was so thrilled by the experience I painted Mac and I as yoga bears jumping out of a plane, and turned it into ‘parachute pose.’ This inspired an idea to create new poses. I added Koala pose and Fruit Bat pose and thought; ‘why not change the names of some of the poses?’ I changed cobra pose to 'taipan', tree pose for ‘icy pole’ and ‘gum tree’ pose, warrior three for 'seagull' and hand to toe for ‘panda bear’ pose. Just for fun!
At Uni we were studying poetry: this inspired me to write some poems. While I waited for class, I wrote;
‘Banjo couldn’t scream or shout, Lion pose has helped him out.’
And for my parachute jump:
‘Moni and Mac went up in a plane, they tumbled out with a ‘chute.
Moni and Mac sailed back to earth, it really was a hoot.’
Okay it wasn’t Shakespeare, but it was fun!
That semester I had a mid term break and went to Germany to meet my brother. In Berlin I met the Berlin bears of friendship, who were created to bring nations together. I loved the idea, and added them to my book. I created a painting of bears, holding hands across the globe, and called it ‘friendship pose’, and wrote about the importance of friendship.
In Germany I experienced some bullying. Although an adult, I felt like a child, and wondered, how do I cope? In pain, I stayed in my room for a few days and wrote about bullying and how to support the bullied child. It felt so important that I added it to Yoga for little Bears.
After Germany I was depleted (loved meeting my brother, and lots of good times too) but full of triggers from childhood; coupled with some negative accusations, I fell over. I became depressed and exhausted. I worked in the morning teaching yoga, and spent the rest of the day in recovery. I had counselling to help me understand, kinesiology to realign energy, changed my diet and wrote about emotional intelligence. I added this text to Yoga for little Bears to support the bullied child, and help grow the bully to a softer place.
I took 2013 off study to recover my physical and mental health. In the mix my newly found brother passed away, and the promise of our new relationship died too.
2013 became the year of recovery. I researched and wrote about the importance of mental and physical health to include in Yoga Bear.
As the year drew to a close, my book was complete. I was stronger and the world looked brighter again.
It's been four years since that sip of coffee, when Shane said, ‘Idea’s are easy.’
And he was right. Ideas are easy!
It’s executing them that rely on determination and persistence.
A truck pulled into my garage yesterday, and the driver wheeled in 2000 Yoga Bear books. I pulled out the first one and flicked through its pages.
Wow. A book with my name on it.
I imagined those books in homes and schools, and sent an intention to the universe that they would support children everywhere.
It is because of my beautiful friends and family, with my hand in theirs, that I reached this dream. Thank you. I hope I can hold your hand and help you reach your dreams too.
Buy our Book
I am a yoga teacher, author and artist.
Blogs by Monica
Growing Emotional Intelligence