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SHYNESS, SOCIAL ANXIETY & LOW SELF-ESTEEM

HIM2010-07-05 08:43:32 +0000 #1
hi, i'm new to this site.

i'm wondering if there's anything you could suggest to boost my self-worth as i'm a very shy person and completely "clam up" when i'm around other people. physically, i'm not tense, but i become very quiet.

i want to be more outgoing and would love to know if there are any asansas or practices you could recommend.

help, please!


Mukunda2010-07-05 08:53:54 +0000 #2
While the simple answer is to do sun or heating practices such as backbending or other stimulating poses; the deeper answers may come from reading Amy Weintraub's excellent book Yoga For Depression. Also finding the right teacher for you will be important in drawing out the wall flower to blossom fully in your own unique way. If you haven't yet found such a teacher then let go of the one you are with and persist at seeking what is beautiful nurturing soil to grow in. blessings. mukunda
dsforce2010-07-05 09:00:26 +0000 #3
I've read book Mukunda mentioned, and found it informative, if a bit overwhelming in detail. It would be something worth reading for an overview and general information. But, as Mukunda hints at, I would strongly caution you, as a beginner, not to depend on books for answers. Books can provide information, but they cannot prescribe the exact practices that you need as an individual.

Instead, seek a live teacher with whom you feel at least some degree of comfortable rapport, and who is qualified. For any practice to truly work and bear results, you must have absolute, unshakable faith/belief in your teacher. The reason for this is is a bit complicated, but in essence it comes down to this: if you habour any doubt, your mind will be split and your energies diffused, and ultimately less able to help you heal yourself.

Finding such a teacher can, admittedly, be quite difficult. Some are just not qualified (although they may claim to be); some are qualified but you just may not connect with them. On the connection part, trust your heart. You don't have to fall in love with your teacher (and you probably shouldn't anyway!), but you should feel that he/she cares about you, listens to you and genuinely seeks your best interest. He/she may be stern at times, when/if you need it, but should generally have compassion and understanding.

As far as qualification goes, that's a bit more complicated. Experience is not always a guarantee, but it may at least demonstrate committment to both teaching and to yoga. I think Mukunda could offer better advice as far as finding a qualified teacher, but in general, here are a few tips.

First , look for at least some proof of basic yoga teaching training. There are many, many organizations out there that cerfity teachers. Some offer cerficates for as little as one weekend of training, while others require 2-3 years of formal study. ISome programs focus almost entirely on the physical fitness aspect of yoga, treating it as just another fitness regime. Other schools and programs represent (or are at least founded upon) traditional yoga lineages dating back thousands of years. These programs usually offer a much wider subject base, and include, in not feature, the spiritual side of yoga.

In the end, its all according to your taste and requirements, but just know what you're getting before you lay out money for a series of lessons. My advice is to try classes at seveal different yoga centers before you choose one. Many centers will offer free (or reduced rate) trial classes. Once you've chosen, please stick with it.

Regarding self-esteem/shyness, etc, I think we've all been tortured by these demons in varying degrees from time-to-time, so you're certainly not alone by any stretch of the imagination. And, part of what we commonly call "low self esteem", or "shyness" can actually be positive, or at least not wholly negative. What I mean is this: I always thought there was something wrong with me because I was what others called shy. It wasn't until I started studying yoga that I saw that my introversion was both my natural disposition and actually a positive trait that helps me to apply focus and deep concentration when I need to. In social settings, this may not be entirely desirable or useful, but then no single quality is appropriate at all times and everywhere.

There's so much in yoga to help you, but I'll start with what I consider to be both the foundation and the pinnacle of the yoga message: what you are, your irreducable essence, is bliss! Not just mundane (therefore ever-changing and variable) happiness, but pure bliss. Realizing this simple bugt profound fact is not a process of adding to or building yourself up. Instead, what the practice of yoga helps us do is to remove the blocks that keep us from realizing this bliss at the very core of what we are. To me, just this knowledge has been a tremendous rock of stability in my life. This knowledge alone has provided an unshakable anchor when life's ups and downs rage around me. Even though I sometimes slip back into thinking that there may be something wrong with me, I can always remember that this idea is merely an illusion, a faulty perception. What I truly am is far beyond and above any perceived lack (of talent, confidence, etc, etc).

Now, for some practical advice in addition to Mukunda's suggestions.

I think just the act of getting up the courage to take a yoga class will help tremendously. If you're shy, taking a class with total strangers will probably seem difficult in the extreme. Note that I said "will seem". Part of overcoming shyness is simply breaking through your perceived walls, the things you think you just "can't" do. Even if you feel you just can't possibly take a class, do it anyway!! Don't worry about the results for now. Just get up and get out. It might feel very uncomfortable for the first few times (who knows exactly how many?), but it will certainlyget better. You have to prove to yourself that you can do it.

Part of what yoga helps us do is to break up and discard old, damaging thougt and behavior patterns, and replace them with more positive ones. For you, the first step is to get going.

I can't stress strongly enough how important it is to just get out there and take a class, any class at this point. Once you find a teacher with whom you feel rapport and trust, then you can personalize your practice to meet your needs. For now, just find a class.

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