'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
Most successful people set goals. Goals give you direction. Without direction, you forget where you are going.
Goals are like a GPS
4-Move towards your goal.
5- Continue to visualise - take action - and move towards your goal until it is achieved.
Creating a vision board is an excellent way to stay focused on your goals.
If you've never created a vision board, make one with me now.
Cut out images, words or affirmations that symbolise or represent your goals and what you'd like to achieve.
Paste them onto your board. You can use your intuition, imagination, or even Feng Shui to place your images and words.
Jazz up your board with glitter, pictures, and whatever makes you feel good.
Hang your vision board in a prominent place so that you can remind your subconscious that 'this is what I want' and allow the universe, and the law of attraction to show you how it can be achieved.
If you notice you feel 'I could never do this.' You may have low self-belief or low self-esteem.
When you have high self-esteem you believe you are worthy of a good life, and wonderful experiences.
When you have low self-esteem you might believe you are not worthy of a good life, or good experiences.
Low self-esteem will make it harder to achieve your goals, because your beliefs won't match your desires.
You must change your beliefs to achieve your goals. You must believe you are worthy and deserving, and give your self permission to shine.
There are lots of ways to build self-esteem. You can build your self-esteem with counselling, books, affirmations, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), and a network of support to remind you that you are loved, worthy and brilliant. If self-esteem is a major block, you could do your first vision board on how you want to feel about yourself.
It must be YOU that gives yourself permission to have, do, or be, whatever you want.
Daily actions for success
Best of luck and please let me know about your journey with your vision board.
I was driving to work doing 100 on the freeway and took the turn off at 80.
Police pulled me over.
‘You’re speeding,’ he said.
I was so annoyed! I was fined $130 and would earn about $30 that day.
As a single mum with small girls I asked if there was another way to pay.
‘You can do community service’ said SPER.
‘Great. Can I do meals on wheels? I’ve always wanted to help those people.’
The corrections officer looked at his list. ‘No, not accepting community service.’
‘What about a hospital?’
‘Nope. Not that either. How about a kindergarten?’
‘Oh yes that sounds good.’
I arrived all dressed up, with my portfolio. The director barely glanced at me as she waved me to the kitchen to wash pots and pans all day.
The following week I worked hard to get those pots done so I could go back to the director with a request, but they sent me into the laundry with the other inmates.
We could hear the children behind the wall that separated us.
The pots were endless.
I went back to the director.
‘Please' I said - I’m an artist. I’ve done all my chores. Wouldn’t you like something painted for the kids?’
‘Well,’ she said, and led me to an abandoned room. ‘Can you paint something for the Christmas play?’
They gave me some sacks and some paint.
Two hours later one of the teachers came in and his eyes widened. ‘Wow’ he said. He ran out of the room and came back with two more teachers. ‘Wow’ they said. The next day the director asked if I could paint their building with ‘Noah’s ark and animals and stuff.’
‘Sure’ I said. ‘I will need some money for paint.’
I painted the top half of the building blue and the lower half green. I drew the ark, a rainbow, a bunch of animals on the front, and Australian animals by the entrance in a forest. I added vines growing around the architraves.
I finished my community service and was put on the payroll to complete the mural.
I worked there for 8 months. On weekends my daughters helped me paint.
The teachers and children were so grateful they put on a special morning tea, sang me a song and gave me a present.
I almost thanked the Department of Main Roads for this wonderful experience.
I drove past that kindergarten for about a decade before we moved to another town. I heard my mural was painted over when the building changed hands. It’s now a pristine white. But I know the mural is under there, somewhere.
Arna Baartz from ‘The I AM program’ talked to our Simply Yoga group on Saturday about believing in magic and creating a fabulous life for yourself by not letting go of self-belief.
Arna, also an artist, creates arts connected emotional intelligence programs for children in schools and is making a difference.
It got me thinking about Art in schools and why it’s a luxury rather than a necessity. Why is ‘art’ something we have to encourage in the curriculum. Why isn’t it revered with maths, science and all of the other 'important' subjects?
Is art really just for starving hippies?
I believe we can’t live successfully without art. Life without Art is life without beauty. Creativity is the seat of invention, change, divergent thinking and excitement. It is creativity that produces paintings, drawings, stories, books, music, songs, poetry, dance, resolutions, revolutions, new ideas, changes in governments and better ways of doing things.
We cannot move forward in society without our divergent and creative thinking.
Art and creative thinking needs to be encouraged.
When I was 16, I just wanted to paint. But dad said I had to get a real job. ‘I know,’ I said. ‘I can become an art teacher, then I’ll be able to paint all day’ (optimism at its best).
‘That’s the best idea you’ve ever had’ said Dad. ‘Cause artists don’t make any money.’
Art college was not what I expected. ‘No realism’ said the teacher. ‘That’s old school. We want you to paint what you don’t see.’
‘That’s too real’ said the teacher, taking my brush and dipping it in orange. ‘Why don’t you do this?’
I struggled with trying to please my teachers without giving up myself.
One of my teachers said ‘you should never sell your art’ and I responded with ‘but one day I want to have a family and support them through my art’ he pointed at me with his authoritative finger and said ‘then you are a prostitute.’
To say I wanted to die was an understatement.
I developed beliefs from these experiences like;
· I wasn’t a real artist.
· I wasn’t allowed to paint what I loved.
· I wasn’t allowed to sell my art.
· Art is not important.
· I wasn’t good enough.
I was lost.
So I took on another career and created art ‘just for fun, just for friends.’
Most of the people around me echoed what society believed ‘artists don’t make money’ and ‘it’s too difficult.’
I never stopped drawing or painting but I did stop imagining I could do something wonderful.
As my children grew I found myself standing at a cross-road.
I wanted to write books and paint pictures and with growing self esteem decided: ‘why not? Why not me? Why can’t I be the one who does it?’
Although I had the ‘not good enough’s’ tapping on my shoulder, I decided to take the plunge.
And I jumped.
I quit my job. I took up my paint-brush, went to uni, and wrote stories.
At least two friends believed in me. The rest said I was wasting my time. Aren’t I too old? Isn’t it too late? Shouldn’t you be focusing on your grandchildren? Are you even good enough?’
The criticism begun from my childhood had eaten away at my artistic self-esteem and it took a long time to return.
Art was like an old friend that had been cast aside. I invited her back.
I’m not the best artist in the world and I’m not the best writer. But I’m the only one that has my story to tell. I’m the only one with my characters in my stories that do the things I ask them to do.
I have un-squashed my dreams and given them some air.
I’m going to believe there is a place for me exactly as I am.
I believe creativity can unlock potential and let people shine.
It isn’t easy being who you want to be. But it’s harder than living someone else’s idea of what your life should look like.
So today, do something towards the dream you’ve never revealed. Imagine it. Do it. Be it. Feel it. Take one step towards it.
And never look back.
Monica Batiste is a full time yoga teacher, author and artist. She lives on the beautiful bays of Brisbane with her husband Andreas. Between them they have four daughters, six grandchildren, two dogs and two chooks.
I couldn't figure out how come I knew the answer in the classroom, but at home... nothing!
Turned out I was tapping into the smartness of everyone else.
When I studied aromatherapy, I seemed to have an affinity for the oils. The teacher would ask 'What oil would we use for adrenal fatigue?' and I would pipe up 'lemon.' Later he'd ask 'What if I had a gall bladder attack?' and I’d say 'peppermint.' This happened every class and I got 90% for that subject.
I would think, 'gee I’m smart, but how did I know that?'
When I went to Griffith uni, it was the end of year and I was exhausted. The student next to me asked 'ready for the exam?'
She showed me the book; I’d never seen it before.
About ten minutes into the exam, I had a brainwave of the answer, it was something that happened in America in the 40s. 'Wow’ I thought. 'I’m so smart.'
Half the students (over 100) failed that test. I passed with a credit.
'How did I do that?' I wondered.
Another time I was in a seminar and the presenter asked 'what does teeth and heart attacks have in common?'
'They share plaque,' I answered. 'Yes’ he said. I must have read that somewhere?
One day I realised I was picking up the answers from the people around me with my intuition...I wasn’t smart at all… the people around me were smart!
So when I went back to Uni to do an English Literature and creative writing degree, I had to do all my work from home.
It was hard! I struggled, I cried, ‘I don't get it’ I said.
‘How about I make it more simple.’ Teacher said.
I pretended to understand.
‘Sorry to make it so easy,’ she said, ‘I don’t want to insult you.’
Insult me! I thought, please! What happened to my brains?
The creative writing was easy; making up a story? No problem. Explaining something? Reading something through a feminist lens? Huh? Or a Marxist lens, Marxist who?
How can I be so dumb and so smart at the same time?
I was complaining to my friend Arna, ‘I’m sure I have a learning difficulty,’ I said. ‘Every semester I feel so stupid, I want to quit.’
She said, ‘light your brain up with a brilliant violet light and let every part be smart.’
Well that sounded easier than knocking my head on a wall. ‘Okay’ I said.
So I went to uni with a purple light on my head (don’t knock it till you try it) and
the ANSWER came to me!!! I could tap into the professor’s brain and get the answers!!!
I picked a Thursday night to begin the assignment due on Monday (why do I wait so long?)
I visualised myself visiting Professor. She was in her kitchen making dinner for her family
‘May I borrow your brain?’ I asked like Dr. Frankenstein. What if she starts laughing at stupid jokes and painting pictures? And I start talking eloquently?
I hesitate with my hands around her brain- I do have compassion. look, she has a daughter. Mm, spaghetti for dinner… I don’t want to deprive her of all she’s worked for…. I know, another brain wave. I’ll copy and paste, that way, she gets to keep her brain and I just get smarter. ‘Thanks Professor,’ I say as I clicked the ‘copy’ button in the ether.
I carried that big brain into my office and put it on. Paste!
The world looked sharper. I was hungry.
I re-read the assignment.
You know, this text has many undertones! Hey? Where did that voice come from? I’m thinking it’s a post-modern colonialism text. No, wait, it’s a post modern feminist Marxist text. Now you’re being ridiculous. Look at the subtext, read it again.
I did my assignment over the weekend and it was kind of fun.
I handed it in and thought ‘well, let’s see what professor thinks of her own work.’
She gave me a credit. My FIRST for a critical piece.
Hurray!! I said.
I passed by her the other day and wanted to thank her for loaning me her brain. ‘But she might think I’m a bit weird,’ I thought. ‘Better not.’ So I just smiled and said hello. She smiled.
‘Thanks for the spaghetti recipe,’ I whispered. ‘It was delicious.’
Studies have shown that if you can create a picture in your mind of what you want, you are more likely to achieve it. This is because your mind is a powerful magnet and will remind you to notice the opportunities and situations that are in the direction of what you are wanting.
Have you ever noticed that when you buy a car, you suddenly notice it everywhere? This is because your brain has been programmed to notice the new car. It’s the same with goals and intentions. By programming your mind to what you wish to achieve, you will attract it. You will notice opportunities that you didn't notice before, people that can support you will suddenly appear, and you will become more motivated to take action towards it.
How to visualise your goals
Take some time every day to go to a quiet place and take deep breaths. Relax your mind and body. Breathe in and out, let go of thoughts and focus on your breath. After a minute or so, bring to your mind a picture or movie of what you wanting, or wanting to experience. At first it may not have much detail, don’t worry, that will improve as you start moving towards it. It is important to feel good as you are doing this, as this means your mind is accepting the vision. If you start to feel anxious, then you might be ‘thinking’ about how this could never happen or seeing obstacles. Take a deep breath, let go of the details and go back to the desire of what you want.
The more you see yourself living having what you want and living your ideal life, the more likely you are to achieve it. The mind is a powerful tool. You can change your life one thought at a time, one day at a time, and visualisation will help you get there.
Illustration from Yoga Bear by Monica Batiste
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
March 24th 2012. Monica Batiste.
Skydiving was not one of things I dreamt of, but I’d been watching them sail onto our Suttons beach whilst we did yoga, and it looked so joyful.
‘I have an idea,’ I said to my class one day. ‘I’m going to parachute to class.’
‘Great idea’ said Peggy, ‘and you can tandem with my hubby, he’s one of the sky divers here.’
And so it was set for my birthday in 2012. For the rest of that year I watched them glide and heard the ‘woohoo’s whilst we did meditation and Namaste.
The year rolled into 2012. At midnight I sat up in bed and gasped, ‘This year I’m jumping out of a plane,’ and went back to sleep.
February came. ‘Have you booked it yet?’ asked Peggy.
I swallowed. ‘No’
March arrived. ‘Better get to it,’ she said. ‘They get booked out you know.’
I dialled the number. ‘Can we land on Sutton’s beach?’ I asked. ‘Cause that’s where my class is, they’ll be waiting for me.’ I added dreamily; ‘I’m going to parachute to class.’
The receptionist held back a yawn. ‘We can’t predict the landing beach’ she said. ‘We will let you know on the day.’
I visualised landing at Suttons. I told everyone about it. The days ticked by until it arrived. I woke up and reminded myself to breathe.
I wore the boots and jeans that took me safely through Europe. I wore a shirt of happiness. We got to the office.
‘We’re not landing at Suttons’ she said as she pushed paper work towards me. My dream crashed to the earth. ‘We will be landing at Bells. Sign here please.’
But my yoga class is at Suttons? I can’t land on the other side of the peninsula.
‘Come back to the counter please, you forgot to fill out this part.’
The tears knocked on my eyes. But my friends will be at Suttons.
‘Do you want insurance? No we can’t cater to individual preferences. You wouldn’t want anyone to crash just because you want to land there would you?’ She smiled with her teeth. The room laughed as my knees trembled. I will be landing to no one. I have no friends. The room became a giant parachute zooming to earth.
‘And which package would you prefer?’
‘I don’t know,’ I answered weakly. I want to go home.
‘Do you want photos or the DVD?’
My voice wouldn’t work. My hubby took over. ‘We’ll take this one.’
The receptionist looked at me and took my paper work, ‘I think we might put you on a later flight.’ She said. ‘Go away and come back in an hour.’
My husband took me out of the room of eyes and to a coffee shop. ‘But no one will be there’ I sobbed. ‘That wasn’t the dream.’
‘It will be all right’ Andy said. ‘Sometimes dreams take a curve but they still turn out all right. Your friends will go to Bells, they will. I’ll be there too.’
‘Are you sure?’
I texted my friends. I drank two and half cups of tea with too much sugar and breathed. ‘We will come’ they promised. ‘We will even leave yoga early to be there.’
I smiled and swallowed my tears. ‘Ok, let’s go back.’
When I arrived the group was being dressed for their tandem. A beautiful blonde Theresa asked if she was my partner. I smiled, ‘my best friends name is Teresa. But I’m not your partner. I’m friends with Peggy, I’m with her husband, Corey?’ my heart banged. ‘Is he here?’
She frowned and looked at the board ‘oh you mean Mac.’
A huge American with camouflage pants and a happy bandana came past ‘Are you Corey?’
‘Gidday’ said a smiley face. ‘You must be Monica?’
‘Corey!’ I smiled with relief and hugged him. on came the belts.
‘They’re loose’ I said. ‘I’m going to fall into the sky.’ I’ve seen a thousand movies where someone falls out of a plane and the skydivers turn into the shape of a bullet, shoot straight for them, grab hold, open their parachute and land safely to ground. ‘Will you do that?’ I asked.
‘Do what?’ Corey asked.
‘Never mind.’ But I knew he would.
We climbed into the tiny plane and sat hip to hip. There was no room for cups of tea or biscuits. ‘Where’s the door?’ I gulped as my voice rose. ‘There isn’t a door?’
‘It’s up there?’ said one of the other victims. Pointing to a plastic roller door like one that might hold out the breeze on a cool day. ‘See, it rolls down like this.’
It rattled as we took off.
We reached 2000 feet. ‘I’m going to attach some belts to you now,’ said Corey.
‘Are you sure you got me?’ I asked. ‘You sure?’
‘We’re going to practice’ he said. ‘When we jump out, you gotta lean back like this, like a banana or the cobra pose, you got it? Lean your head back, kick her legs back and away we go.’
Banana? Cobra? Oh god. Breathe. The planes voice deepened as we climbed another 2000 feet.
‘Now I’m gonna put the rest of the belts on, okay? You gotta sit on my hips like this’ I looked around and all the passengers were climbing onto their tandems. The plane got smaller and the air thinner.
It felt tight. I wriggled. ‘You got me?’
‘I got you.’ Corey switched on his wrist cam. ‘Now Monica, do you wanna sky dive with me?’
‘Yes’ I said.
We climbed to 14000 feet.
The roller door flew up and a raging wind entered the cabin.
I was pushed forward. The couple in front of me rolled off the bench and sat on the edge of the plane with their feet dangling into the sky. I pressed back into Corey.
‘Let go of my arms Monica. I need them to steer. Remember? Banana.’
The first couple fell out of the plane.
My heart sped.
I pressed deeper into Corey as he wriggled us to the edge of the bench.
We fell to the floor
I cringed to the edge.
There was no banana.
We plunged into the atmosphere.
The shock of a hundred tons of air slapped me in the face and body.
Air sucked into my body.
My chest squeezed
My skin flapped like a blanket in a tunnel wind.
Sam the photographer was in front of me taking photos. He looked like a scuba diver with the camera cord in his mouth. I felt like a fish in the ocean. I could see him, but I couldn’t respond. We fluttered as we faced each other. I was nothing but a whoosh of air.
Corey pulled the cord.
We catapulted upright.
‘Take off your glasses Monica’
I took off my glasses and wiped my eyes. Breath moved into my lungs. It was beautiful. The clear ocean beneath us, a parcel of sand and spaces of green earth.
I could see my friends, I laughed and waved. ‘Hello, it’s me, can you see?’
We floated to earth and landed perfectly. I lay on the ground, smiling. Bliss. Alive. Breathing.
‘You can get up now Monica’
‘Come on,’ said Corey, giving me a gentle push. ‘Up you get.’
I staggered up and my friends cheered. I curved towards them, I had faced mortality.
‘Champagne?’ offered Jacki. I took a sip.
‘Food?’ asked my husband. I shook my head. My stomach was as tight as a nut.
We cheered and hugged. Life was sweet.
Corey came over and we had a group hug.
‘I fell out of a plane and survived.’
I am a yoga teacher, author and artist.
Blogs by Monica
Growing Emotional Intelligence