Yoga for Self-Confidence: Bending to Breakthrough


Everyone has experienced a sense of insecurity—missing the winning goal; unrequited love; unexpected unemployment…the list goes on and on. It’s human nature after all, to recognize and learn from our experiences…and move forward.

However, when these experiences build-up over time, growing into a lack of self-confidence and paralyzing fear, it can conquer us in a life-altering way. The reality is, we all have experienced and will continue to experience these moments throughout life. The secret to our ability to move through fear and muster the courage to take steps and action that will re-build our confidence is knowing what tools you have on hand when faced with these challenging times.

Developing a strong practice and connection with the postures of yoga is not only a means of physical exercise, but is a holistic tool that has been around for thousands of years helping people move through life challenges that can impact one’s self-confidence, ranging from anxiety, to depression, addiction and fear.

Attending yoga class whether in a studio or a gym can be intimidating. Often times, new or even existing yoga students are afraid of the media images that promote yoga class as hours of sitting still or body postures that look humanely impossible.

When in fact, the practice of yoga is meant to serve as the opposite, time on your mat that is dedicated personal space to move physically and create an opportunity to connect more closely with yourself, ultimately finding comfort in your own presence.

Yoga can boost your self-confidence through:

Stress Relief & Emotional Management

There is a lot more to yoga practice than getting into shape physically—in fact, this isn’t the main objective at all. One of the major causes of mental overload is stress, which can be a trigger for depression in certain serious cases.

Yoga can help you release these stressors through a series of meditative and relaxing breathing exercises, which can increase the circulation of oxygen in the mind and body, thus enabling your overall flow of energy.

This may help you recognize and process your stress more effectively as it arises, which in turn will eliminate your fear and boost your self-confidence.


Body-Positive Community

Yoga helps people of all ages to create a peaceful and inviting space together, outside of society’s expectations. Many body-image issues are related to the need for control, whereas yoga is about fostering the courage to let go. Silencing the mind and focusing on the breath and the body can break the habit of perfectionism, and instead creates a deep appreciation for your body’s positive capabilities.

Attending local yoga classes are a great way to have fun with like-minded friends and to build new relationships that are not rooted in physical appearance.

Release of Negativity

Yoga allows us to pause and silence the mind for long enough to actually reflect on our bad habits and negative thought process — and better understand how these may be driving our actions. We often paint lesser images of ourselves at a young age when insecurity is heightened—especially how we’re portrayed by others —which can trigger self-loathing. Often as we move through adulthood, we’re still carrying those skewed portraits of ourselves, despite their falsity.

Yoga can erase the whiteboard and offer a clean slate for newfound self-acceptance; a chance to bend until you break through all of the bull—negativity, rather, that’s been standing in the way of your hopes and dreams.

What if I Can’t Find Time to Make it to a Yoga Class?

If it seems impossible to carve out time in your schedule to take a yoga class or follow along to a yoga video at home, try taking your focus to your breathing in moments that challenge your peace of mind. Something as simple as focusing your mind on the words, “inhale” and “exhale” as you breathe in and out can help to pull you out of the mental story your mind is weaving about yourself, your abilities or the circumstance triggering the emotions, and bring you mentally, physically and emotionally grounded back in the present moment.

Performing a set of simple breathing exercises, postures and meditation can help you to begin to bend mentally, emotionally and physically to break through self-doubt, fear, sadness…whatever negative energy is holding you back from where you want to go, be, do and experience in this lifetime.

Bend so much that you have a breakthrough.





Dr. Jodi Ashbrook is the owner of Open Doors Yoga Studios in Hingham, Massachusetts, founder & CEO of The BE Brand ® and President of Dr. Jodi Inc. She is passionate about creating experiences where people can grow, reflect and believe in themselves.

Ten Lessons Learned My First Year Teaching Yoga

This past year has been a whirlwind: I quit my bartending job in Florida, my boyfriend and I moved to Puerto Rico, and I started my career teaching yoga. I was always told that the first year as a yoga teacher would be the most challenging year, but that it would also be a pivotal: it was to be a time of coming into your own, a time for learning, growing, and developing your unique style of teaching. As I reflect on this past year’s worth of classes I realize that yes, at times it was definitely challenging, but I also realized how far I’ve come since that very first, slightly awkward, class. After a year of teaching I’ve become more comfortable with the position of “teacher,” I’ve begun to settle into a style of my own, and I’ve gained more than I can retain. With thousands of lessons learned throughout this first year, I managed to whittle them down to the top ten. Here they are:

1. Confidence is key. The second you start doubting yourself it shows, and when you start doubting yourself the whole energy of the class will change. Avoid the awkwardness, please! The second you walk into thesalutepaka classroom own and hold your space as the teacher. Know that YOU know what you are doing.

2. Always be open to feedback. And not just from other teachers, but also from your students. Even if it may be a suggestion you don’t whole-heartedly agree with take it in, with a smile, and move on. Do not look at this feedback as criticism – look at it as an opportunity to learn and as a way to develop and strengthen your own personal style of teaching.

3. Be unmessable! This phrase has stuck with me ever since my 200-hour TT. Sometimes people are going to do their own thing during your class. Sometimes there might be a person that doesn’t like your class. Sometimes no one shows up to your class. Instead of beating yourself up or allowing the negative thoughts to take over, look at it, once again, as a learning experience. Gurus are not made overnight. Be patient and stay positive.

4. If, or when, no one shows up use that time wisely. Practice alone or with another teacher. Meditate. Do some handstands. Get outdoors and play. Don’t let the no-shows get into your head. Don’t let the external situations – that are totally out of our control – dim your light (remember, we are unmessable now!).

5. Teach, teach, and teach some more! Your first year as a teacher you learn A TON! You are like a new sponge waiting to absorb everything you can. But, the only way to learn a ton is to teach a ton. Sub classes whenever you can. Start teaching a free or donation-based Community Class. Get your friends together and practice-teach in your backyard. Like anything – the more you do it the more comfortable you become with it.

6. Don’t let your personal practice slip. Take a lot of yoga classes and establish a strong home-practice as well. I think it’s really important for a teacher to find a balance between practicing by yourself and practicing under different teachers (and practicing different styles of yoga). Take ideas and concepts from your own personal, at-home practice and let that be the guide for your next class. Find little things you like from the teachers you look up to and start to incorporate that into your sequences. Draw inspiration from your journey through yoga to share with your students, but don’t forget that you, too, will ALWAYS be a student.

7. Don’t rely on your plan. As a new teacher you never know who is going to show up to your class. Until you get a solid group of regulars, you can expect almost anyone to walk through the front door. It always seemed like the days I planned to have a kick-butt, high-powered class, an older student with a shoulder injury would be the only person to show. Instead of letting it throw me off, I would look at it as an opportunity to practice teaching a slower flowing, Restorative-style class. I’ve gotten to where now I don’t even plan my classes at all!

8. Know your limits as a new teacher. Don’t try to get students into poses that you don’t feel comfortable teaching or don’t have practice teaching. If there are students with certain injuries or situations that you don’t feel comfortable teaching to, be honest. If you don’t know an answer to a student’s question, be honest. Don’t try to be the teacher that you aren’t (yet!). Admit to being new — it’s totally OK! Not knowing is way better than risking an injury.

9. Stay on top of your game. It’s important to invest in yourself as a teacher: take workshops, online courses, or different teacher trainings. Pick up and read your old TT manuals, anatomy books, and journals to stay sharp. Personally, I’ve committed myself to do at least one new training a year.

10. Have fun with it! Don’t go into teaching expecting to make a lot of money right off the bat, because honestly, that’s not going to happen. And maybe it’ll never happen, but that shouldn’t matter! Realize how lucky you are that you get to share this gift of yoga with others. Set standards for yourself as a teacher and always hold yourself accountable, but never take yourself, your classes, or your teaching too seriously. Be able Headshot-WebRes1to laugh at yourself when you mess up. Stay humble. Always be happy to see your students and always try your hardest to remember their names. Like Maya Angelou said, “… people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Caitlin Lawson is a yoga practicing, wave sliding, positive vibe warrior based out of Rincon, Puerto Rico. Caitlin is a RYT-200, WPA Level 1 Certified, and SUP Yoga Certified. She is the founder of Sunburnt & Salty Yoga Company –