Do you lack confidence and worry what people
think about you? Have you ever stopped yourself doing something
you really wanted to do because you felt nervous or too shy to try something
Do you dream of being an expert in your chosen
Do you dream of being a actor? A professional
baseball player? Owning your own home? Owning youir own business?
Would you like to have the self- confidence to
stand up for your beliefs, to follow your heart and set your own positive path
Whatever your dreams are, there comes a time in
your life when you need the self confidence to turn your dreams into realities.
When this time comes, when the urge inside you
becomes too strong, what can you do, who can you turn to? Who can you rely on to
support and encourage you to improve your confidence so you can achieve your
The ancient practice of yoga may well be the
Yoga offers to us a simple and effective technique of
developing the right attitude that can give us the inner confidence to achieve
what we so desire in life.
Yoga calls them bhavas.
What are bhavas?
translated, the word ‘Bhava' stands for a feeling or attitude. In context of
Yogic studies, Bhava indicates an accompanying attitude for a given technique or
concept. Bhava in yoga refers to any
of a series of ascending moods.
Our experiences and feelings are all part of our bhava.
When we have the right attitude, we accomplish our purpose
First introduced by Dr. Jayadeva, President of The Yoga Institute, Bhavas
play a very important role on the path of Yoga. Regular and repeated practice of
these techniques slowly enhances the accompanying Bhava into one's
The Four Bhavas
Yogic practices can also be classified based on these four Bhavas:
The Right Attitude for Developing Self Esteem
- Vairagya, and
Dharma Bhava. Unlike the commonly
believed connotation of ‘religion', the word Dharma means Duty. At every point
in life, one needs to understand what one's duty is in that given situation,
prioritize the tasks and then
move ahead. It is believed that one who is always on the path of Dharma, is
saved from all sorts of pains and sufferings, etc. In fact, Yoga even outlines a
hierarchy of duties, one's first duty is to self, then family and friends, place
of work, society and finally, humanity in general. Often we tend to neglect this
hierarchy, for example over-working without eating in time or eating wrong food,
not resting sufficiently, or indulging into social work without looking after
the family, etc. Neglecting this hierarchy, leads to several conflicts and
problems at the intra and inter-personal level. All meditative asanas belong
to this Bhava.
- Associate with people of positive character. Avoid
the company of people who are always critical of or reject others. Even people
with a high amount of self confidence cannot withstand the effects of a negative
environment. They eventually will begin to doubt their ability and their
performance will begin to deteriorate. George Washington said "Associate
yourself with people of good quality if you esteem your reputation, for it is
better to be alone than in bad company").
- Don't take undue criticism from self and others.
The first step in improving self esteem is to begin to challenge the
negative messages of the critical inner voice. For example, instead of being
unfairly harsh by saying, "people said they liked my talk, but it was nowhere
near as good as it should have been. I cannot believe no one noticed all the
places I messed up. I am such an imposter." Be reassuring and say, "Wow they
really liked it. Maybe it wasn't perfect but I have worked hard on that talk and
did a good job. I am proud of myself. This is a great success." Instead of
saying, "He is frowning, he didn't say anything but I know it means he doesn't
like me", say "ok, he's frowning but I don't Know why. It could have nothing to
do with me, so maybe I should ask him."
Vairagya Bhava. Commonly understood
as renunciation, this Bhava actually refers to detachment. For a householder,
fulfilling his duties to family is very important and renunciation doesn't
necessarily take one to detachment. Vairagya actually leads a householder to a
state of being ‘in the world but not of the world'. The components of
this Bhava are humility, objectivity, reducing the ego, ‘let-go' attitude,
surrender, etc. All the relaxation asanas, forward bending asanas, head-low
postures and asanas involving twist of the spinal cord have been classified
- Practice self-nurturing through a balanced yogic life
style. Nurture and care for yourself, and in doing so show the world that
you are valuable, competent, deserving and lovable. Take care of your health -
eat well, get enough sleep, regular exercise, practice good hygiene and so
- Set Limits. Set limits for yourself and others,
defining the boundries to what you will tolerate and what you will not in
relationships. Don't always try to please others. It is considerate when you
care about another person's feelings, but you must remember that your needs are
just as important? Give yourself permission to fulfill your own dharma. Practice
assertiveness skills (saying no to sales people are a good place to start!)
- Learn to laugh at past disappointments. Instead of
dwelling on things you can't change, use them as an opportunity for insight and
- Move on. Learning to forgive and forget can help us
immensely when we are trying to move on in life.
Jnana Bhava: In Yoga, Jnana
refers to Awareness and Knowledge. According to ancient Indian philosophy, all
that one needs to know and understand for a meaningful life is actually present
within. However, Maya or illusion keeps pulling us into the external world. We
keep busy in the world outside looking for a purpose, some meaning. This leaves
us confused and frustrated. Jnana in Yoga begins with awareness about self, at
all levels - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The components of
this Bhava are concentration, co-ordination, training of senses, breath awareness and control, balance, etc. Asanas involving upward and sideward
stretches, asanas for extremities of the body and pranayamas belong to Jnana
- Be yourself, not someone else. Trying to be like
someone else leads to a lack of self worth and confidence. You are unique and
cannot be someone else. Strive to be better - YES, but don't criticize yourself
for not being as successful, as beautiful, as slim or as popular as someone
else. You deserve better. Accept the fact that you aren't perfect at everything
and that you don't have to be. Believe me, nobody is perfect.
- Accept compliments with grace and humility. Respond
to every compliment with a simple thank you. When you accept a compliment you
are communicating respect to the person who is giving it to you. For example,
when someone compliments you by saying, "You are looking beautiful today". We
never accept it, most often we respond by saying, "No, not at all, what
rubbish!" Instead we should learn to accept compliments graciously. Don't miss
out on any opportunity to pass along sincere compliments too.
- Determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities,
threats (SWOT Analysis). Determine your personal attributes. Positive things
about your physical, mental and emotional self such as the way you look, your
mind and emotions, skills you have and those you are developing, your potential,
and your personal values.
- Set SMART goals, ones which are Specific, Measurable,
Attainable, Realistic and Timebound. Well defined goals give a person a
sense of direction and a feeling of accomplishment when they are finally
achieved. They are a key building block for developing a higher degree of self
esteem or personal worth. And remember...no one can make you feel inferior without
Aishwarya Bhava: When one is truly
on the path of the first three Bhavas, viz Dharma, Jnana and Vairagya, the
feeling of achievement, satisfaction, the knowledge yet being humble refers to
as the Bhava of Aiswarya. All this adds great of confidence in one's
personality. In fact, the confidence that one may experience without the first
three Bhavas, when analysed carefully, is usually a superficial one which one
puts up only as a show-off for others. This Bhava is difficult to understand
theoretically, but is easier to experience through perseverance and faith. The
components of Aiswarya are confidence, self-reliance, sense of achievement, etc.
The Kriyas and all asanas involving backward bending of the spine belong to this
- Focus on your accomplishments. Congratulate
yourself for your personal achievements, however big or small. Remind yourself
daily of the things you do well and the courage you have shown in the past or
present. For example even a small thing like making that tough phone call can be
an accomplishment if you want it to be.
- Turn Scars into "STARS". Read the life stories of
people who have turned a negative situation into a positive one, adversity into
advantage, stumbling blocks into stepping stones. They refused to let
disappointment and failures pull them down.
Through the daily practice of yoga meditation exercises
and self reflection, one's self esteem can be improved. Of course it's ok to
have ups and downs in your feelings but having low self esteem isn't ok. It is
important to know you are worth a lot, and to learn to feel good about yourself
just for who you are.
Think POSITIVE, act POSITIVE, and be POSITIVE about
everything you do. You will be amazed with the results you can achieve by using
YOGA to boost your self esteem.