Can Yoga practice boost self-acceptance? Some people live a lifetime of guilt. For one reason or another they believe that they are not worthy of one good windfall in life. Some of them blame society, oil companies, politicians, lawyers, their parents, their kids, the rich, the poor, or the middle class, for their lot in life. Some people say it’s fate to be born with a dark cloud over your head for life. Rather than point the finger, I’m going to point to a path of healing and self-acceptance.
Yoga for Self-Esteem
Self-acceptance is the act of embracing our shadows as well as our positive qualities, and it’s usually our negative thinking that makes it so difficult for us to do. Whether we strive to keep up with our neighbors or beat ourselves up for our shortcomings, most of us have endless loops of self-criticism going on inside our heads. What if researchers offered us a program guaranteed to help us understand, like, and accept ourselves? That’s what Yoga does, and it has 5,000 years of evidence to back it up.
Accepting Ourselves with Yoga
One of the blessings and curses of 21st century living is our endless accessibility to information and our tendency to over analyze every decision until we overwhelm ourselves. Based on the advice from the 14th century author of “Hatha Yoga Pradipika,” we aren’t the only civilization to think too much. In his teachings, he says: “Abandon all thoughts, then don’t think of anything.”
If you’ve tried to meditate, you know how hard it is to clear your mind. That’s why we need special breathing techniques and postures to prepare us. When we concentrate on our inhalations and our exhalations, we allow our conscious and subconscious minds to connect, revealing information we can’t otherwise access in our busy lives. Breathing connects us to the present moment and takes us away from the negativity and chaos of our chattering brains.
When we practice Yogic exercise for self-acceptance, our muscles relax, our blood pressure slows down, and our body releases hormones that create feelings of well-being and contentment. Poses also massage our organs, remove toxins, strengthen our immune system, and increase the flow of fresh oxygenated blood to the heart and brain.
When our minds and bodies slow down, we gain insight into the problems and habits of our daily lives. Our ability to access our intuitive wisdom gives us information about our health, our emotions, and our spiritual needs. We understand ourselves and the world around us more clearly, and we become more compassionate and loving.
With Yoga comes wisdom. With wisdom comes self-acceptance.
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