Yoga is renowned for its ability to grow our confidence. Unraveling the muscles of the chest and opening the solar plexus can have a delicious effect on this aspect of the practice. Yin Yoga is a great way to take this even deeper. The long heavy holds release emotional tension and restore self confidence by nourishing our self-trust. It becomes a layer cake of heart opening warmth.
Grooming self trust
Confidence is mostly born from self- trust. Trust is often thought to be held in the heart space, or solar plexus and in large part grows based on our capacity to listen to our body and apply what we need to support ourselves. When we actively support ourselves in this way we grow a deep trust in our self. As a result the heart and solar plexus region become more calm and open, and we can cultivate our ability to listen and support ourselves.
So what are we listening for?
When a stressful event happens we feel it physically in our bodies, usually in the form of contraction, whether it is tension in the chest, neck and shoulders, a back ache, or heart palpitations. That sensation is your body’s way of sending you a “NO” message, it doesn’t like that stressor. If we keep repeating the stressor then that body part may seize up from the contraction, causing injuries, illness or general pain. All born from not listening to our bodies saying “NO.” This happens with emotional events as well as physical ones.
If we pay more attention to these “NO” messages we can not only prevent those injuries but we can grow our ability to support ourselves. This helps us trust ourselves, which in turn procures more confidence and self esteem.
Try these Yin Yoga shapes to balance the solar plexus by opening the heart and hips, and as you rest in them consider the assigned exercise in each.
Soft Butterfly, 3 Minutes
Sit on the edge of a blanket with feet touching and knees bent to the sides resting on blocks. Bow forward over your legs until you can rest your head on a propped up bolster.
When you want to exit any shape early, distinguish between the fidgeting mind saying “Na, I dont feel like it,” and the body saying “Your knee needs you to stop twisting in that way before an injury occurs.” Listen to your body and back out, but if it’s your mind talking you out of doing something then take a deep breath see if you can stay put, overriding the chattering mind. This will create assurance that you will be capable of doing what’s right for you both on and off the mat,, even if it’s uncomfortable.
Fish Pose, 4 Minutes
Lay down with a block between your shoulder blades and another at a lower height under your head. Imagine yourself like a piece of silk draped over the blocks. To release this shape roll to one side and pause a while before moving on.
If you feel an emotion surfacing- allow it to come up and out. It may be a laugh, a yelp, a massive amount of tears or a simple grin. Emotions change rapidly – but only if they are allowed to be experienced. Letting these bubble out without questioning them will help release something your body has been holding onto. This balances out the solar plexus enormously and calms your emotional heart space.
Twisted Roots, 3 Minutes Each Side
From reclined bend your knees into your chest and allow them to fall over to one side on a block or blanket. Open your arms and let your gaze fall to the opposite side.
Differentiate between the word “PAIN” and the idea of levels of sensation. If it’s a sharp, hot, stabbing sensation or a numb tingling sensation- that is the body saying “NO” – listen to it and back out. If you’re feeling a dull ache or stretching sensation, that’s usually a good place to sit for a bit. Holding yourself accountable in this way creates a beautiful layer of self trust.
Child’s Pose on Blocks, 4 Minutes
Take Child’s Pose either with your arms by your side or with your upper arms resting on a block and your forehead on a thickly folded blanket.
Consider anything that came up in the previous shapes and send some love and compassion into your heart space. Let this be an intimate and reflective few moments.
Seated Meditation, 5 Minutes
Sit in a comfortable seat on a block or blanket with one hand on your heart and the other on your belly.
Breath smoothly in and out feeling your breath fill you up. Gradually visit every single body part one at a time. Get very detailed. Listen to any messages being sent from your body to your brain without judging or questioning.
The first time you try this you might fidget and squirm, or even fall asleep. Have patience with yourself. Growing self trust and confidence is a practice, and every day will be different.