Self Confidence – how we get it and how Yoga builds it

Self Confidence – how we get it and how Yoga builds it

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Being Set Up For Success

My parents felt it paramount that they raise me to feel like I can always take care of myself. People tend to say I give off an aura of competence and that’s something I believe everyone can and should develop.  My mother would talk me through something I thought was a sticky wicket – sometimes even role playing with me. This gave me the confidence that I could do it. My parents built up my belief in my own ability to navigate any situation.
You should always feel you have the ability to change or navigate a situation. That doesn’t necessarily mean you know the answers or take charge, it doesn’t mean you know everything or even that you always make the best decisions. It’s about an innate sense of the ability to rely on yourself to see you through and do what’s best for you. It’s about believing in your own abilities.
So often people are brought up to be reliant and they don’t trust themselves. This is the crux of it – it’s that lack of trust in their own ability to look after themselves.
It keeps people – more women than men – in bad situations and impedes them living the life they should. Yet you can build up your self confidence.
Self Confidence

Yoga and Developing Self Confidence

The physical and mental aspects of yoga are just right to help expand self confidence


As your body gains strength you’ll find yourself striding out with more assurance in your body and more general confidence.
As you move through your practice, as you do your pranayama breath work, you’ll ground and feel more centered, calmer. This promotes your ability to trust in yourself.


When you are in a place of more calm, when you feel more grounded – you’ll find the space and quiet to cut through the noise and the mind’s chatter. 

You’ll start to see what has undermined your belief in yourself and where it came from. Maybe you were thrown in at the metaphorical  deep without being taught to swim, rather than being buttressed and coached – and this taught you that you were a failure. 

Yoga helps you see and embrace your competences and not doubt yourself. It will help you learn to size up a situation and know that you can rely on yourself to see it through.

Ready to give it a whirl – here are some journaling prompts – my gift to you.

Interested in going deeper? Find out more info about working with me
or email me

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take me straight to the journaling prompts  pdf

I recommend you get the breath work too and then answer the questions again. What differences do you notice?

Epilogue: What Does Living a Self Confident Live Look Like – take a look at Isabella Bird Bishop

n 1836, when Isabella Bird Bishop was no more than five, she sneaked out of her sick bed where she had been told to stay in no uncertain terms. Isabella was desperate to see the bed of ranunculus that were in glorious bloom.  That’s what was important to her – the flowers
Isabella was born with an adventurous spirit and a quirky one. She marched to her own drum. Isabella travelled extensively all over the world, writing well-received books about her trips. She went on many literal journeys yet like so many of us, the course of the journey of her life was greatly influenced by her childhood. It was a life of high adventure and mundane duty. It was full of highs and lows. It was a life where Isabella was securely at the helm. We may not wish a life like hers – but surely we all wish for a life of such self confidence.
Childhood Shapes You
As a very young child, Isabella would ride in front of her father, encouraged to observe the world in front of her. He would point out what they saw and explain the things they passed. This gave Isabella an interest in observing what was going on in front of her and understanding it. She developed keen and accurate powers of observation and this, along with the way her words painted a picture gave Isabella’s books their lift and led her to be the first woman elected to the Royal Geographical Society.
Isabella’s father was a cleric and Isabella was brought up in an atmosphere of causes and service to the community. Her family was progressive and politically active as well as being very involved in good works for father’s parishes. Isabella was quick witted and spoke her own mind, which, unlike many Victorian parents, her parents did not quash. Six year old Isabella asked the local MP, “did you tell my father my sister was so pretty because you wanted his vote?” She obviously also had a keen understanding of human motivations and how the world worked.
Isabella Becomes an Adventurer – and balances this with home commitments
Isabella began her global explorations when she was in her early Twenties. On the advice of her doctor to take a sea voyage, Isabella set sail for Canada. It was that happenstance which set Isabella on a different road. She knew her own mind and she seized the opportunity, travelling around Canada and the US for ten months before returning to the UK and writing a book about her impressions and experiences. This set a pattern of travelling and writing about her adventures that she repeated throughout her life.
After this trip, Isabella travelled in the UK but it was years before she went abroad again. Isabella had summered in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland since childhood and continued to spend time there. Echoing her upbringing, she threw herself into helping the local crofters who were facing the potato famine and also aided Hebrides Islanders emigrating to Canada with their paperwork and by writing  about them to people she knew to ease their arrival. Isabella even made new wardrobes and eased the emigrating crofters on their way, making sure of a good landing. Being of service was woven into the fabric of Isabella’s life from childhood and it never wavered.
Yet Isabella grew restless, she felt the call of the open sea again. She had set up home with her sister and while busy and engaged she began chafing at the same old round of life. Isabella felt unfulfilled. She would leave the UK again and again.
Isabella wrote during her at the start of her next voyage – a journey to Australia: 
“At last I am in love, and the old sea-god has so stolen my heart and penetrated my soul that I seriously feel that hereafter, though I must be else- where in body, I shall be with him in spirit ! My two friends on board this ship have several times told me that I have imbibed the very spirit of the sea. It is to me like living in a new world, so free, so fresh, so vital, so careless, so unfettered, so full of interest that one grudges being asleep; and, instead of carrying cares and worries and thoughts of the morrow to bed with one to keep one awake, one falls asleep at once to wake to another day in which one knows that there can be nothing to annoy one no door-bells, no “please mems,” no dirt, no bills, no demands of any kind, no vain attempts to overtake all one knows one should do. Above all, no nervousness, and no conventionalities, no dressing. It sounds a hideously selfish life, but in the inevitably intimate association of people in all circumstances for months of almost entire isolation, human relations spring up and human interests and in some instances warm feelings of regard, which have a tendency to keep selfishness in a degree under.
In 1872, Isabella sailed for Australia and then Hawaii and the Continental US, returning to Britain in 1873. This set another pattern of Isabella returning home, writing about her adventures and doing her duty then setting off again to discover a different part of the world to visit and write about – Japan, Korea … . 
In between, Isabella nursed her beloved sister Henrietta as she was dying of Typhoid and later saw her husband through his last illness. She was always actively involved in her local British society, helping people and advocating for change – like she helped the Hebrides Island crofters emigrate.
Adventurousness but not Selfish
Isabella knew who she was and she was confident in her own mind. She stepped forward in life with this self confidence and certitude. Isabella managed this through a mixture of her upbringing and how she journeyed to her own understanding of who she was. This was a lifelong process of leavings and returns, of the familiar as well as the new and far-flung. Isabella had a strong start in being given self confidence, yet this is how Isabella evolved, and she had the self confidence to follow it.
Isabella always worried she was selfish because she was followed her own adventurous spirit. Yet she was always there, reliable, and had a strong sense of the importance of  being unfailing and steadfast.
What a great way to live a life of self confidence! Figuring out who you are and what has influenced you. Looking into what you want to keep and what is undermining – ridiculous expectation or an unreliable voice. Isabella made it look effortless to glide along confident in herself, yet to do this in a way that took into account those she loved.  She shows how it’s possible to be self confident, to follow who you and who you want to while at the same time, give thought for others.

Yoga’s Mind Body Connection – Two Minutes or 40 Days

Yoga’s Mind Body Connection –
Two Minutes or 40 Days

40 Day Kriya or short standing side stretch – it’s all making the magic


Do you sometimes have an aha moment after the fact? That kept happening while I was doing Brett Larkin’s 40 Day Kriya. I chose to do the hour Kirya – and that time every day shifted so many things. It was obviously quite an commitment – but you can find the same yoga mind-body magic yoga  in something as straightforward as a luscious standing side stretch. Yoga’s mind body connection – two minutes or 40 Days.

Surrendering to the 40 Day Kriya

I surrendered myself to the discipline of this Kundalini yoga. You do the same practice every day and if you miss a day, you have to start from the beginning again. The idea is that this builds energy to break negative habits that stop you from expanding and stepping into something new.  That’s why you should start at the beginning again if you miss a day – your energy is building.

Understanding imagery

This journey had lots of twists and turns. During the first week, I had vivid images – the Gordian Knot symbolism that I wrote about here was one of them. I kept reporting amazing things in my journal.  One day, my heart went through the basket ball hoop of my Third Eye. Those of you who know me will understand that sports metaphors are not at all something I’m liable to use. 

 Digging deep into the pose

Day by day I became more and more in tune with the physical aspects of the practice. This asana  part of the hour Kriya took 35 minutes and had long, long holds. There’s a locust variation and baby cobra which are both held for 2.5 minutes – and then glorious rests!

These are active holds – in movement,  in strenth and in alignment. My brain began to quieten and I began to feel the different aspects of the posture more intensely and my focus shifted.  I often felt fully wrung out.

Locust Variation
Baby Cobra

Silent transformation

The Kriya has meditation and silent mantras along with the poses – with a beautifully designed arc. Some days I couldn’t get into it and muttered under my breath, some days I expanded with wonder – and of course, there were the almost psychedelic visions I had during my first week.

The last 15 days of the Kriya is just bells for transitions. There’s no talk, you can watch Brett move though the practice with you – silently. I soaked up the hour of silence and found profound depth in it.

I was in London for the last five days of the 40 Day Kriya. I spent two weeks there clearing mum’s flat – and it made all the difference.  What a huge task – yet I was able to be flexible and approach this very intense task with equanimity, thanks to yoga. I wrote more about this journey here

Yoga’s mind body connection – two minutes or 40 Days.

Whether it’s a 40 day Kriya  or something that just takes a few minutes, yoga’s mind – body connection makes all the difference inside and out. Interested in exploring – I’ve got a luscious free, short side stretch sequence. You’ll be amazed.

Find out more about Brett Larkin here.

Interested in going deeper? Find out more info about working with me
or email me

Comfort with Fluidity

Comfort With Fluidity

I love a plan – a goal. We’re taught that this is the right way to approach life. When there’s only so much planning you can do or when you find you can’t control outcomes it leaves you with many negatives feelings: rudderless, unsuccessful, frightened. That sort of focus can also lead to tunnel vision, so you aren’t open to opportunities. Recently I was in London clearing out mum’s flat after she moved into a care home – I did this in two weeks. Unlike the US, Estate Sales aren’t a thing in UK and often in London charities won’t collect.  I had to have comfort with fluidity.

Everyone thought I was bonkers – even I thought I was bonkers. 

On the one hand, this huge task was overwhelming – the property managers need to do their refurb before we let the flat. On the other hand, I couldn’t wait to get back over. It was four years since I’d been to the UK. That’s the longest I’ve even been away – but looking after mum, I couldn’t leave her for more than a few days. 

Refurb, clearing out, yoga

To remain flexible

Clearing the flat contained so many moving parts and imponderables that having a plan was well nigh impossible. I was incredibly fortunate to get excellent help along the way – both before I arrived and during my trip. 

Let your mind go to an extremely cluttered flat with bursting closets and an overwhelming amount of furniture to understand the extent of this task.  I could only have the barest sketch of a plan and each day I had to step forward with trust and confidence that things would work out.

Several weeks before I headed to London, I began Brett Larkin’s 40 Day Kriya. I surrendered myself to the discipline. You do the same practice every day and if you miss a day, you have to start from the beginning again. The idea is that this builds energy to break negative habits that stop you from expanding and stepping into something new. 

What I really noticed is that I was able to go with the flow.
I trusted that it would all work out. 

Yoga gives the quiet and the space to have comfort with Fluidity 

The main thing that yoga gives me is the space and the quiet to face what the day brings with equanimity. So often we’re running, and in the midst of a cacophony of noise. Our life is a whirl. The quiet can be difficult – but it’s important.

When I was in London, I didn’t get too stressed at the twists and turns of getting the flat cleared.  I didn’t, as it were, ‘borrow trouble’. I still kept my sense of proportion. I hoped that the furniture I put on freecycle would be taken – although I was prepared still to have clearance / to haul away.  At the same time, I knew that no matter how hard I worked, there would still be things for Clearance to take.

I just kept plowing away. I talked to people, kept myself open to ideas and rolled with whatever came my way.  All the time I had faith it would all get done. I made sure I did my yoga!

Interested in going deeper? Find out more info about working with me
or email me

Three Reasons to Use Yoga Straps

Three Reasons to Use Yoga Straps

Why Use Your Yoga Strap?

Straps are the most overlooked prop in yoga – but I’m a great fan. It can be intimidating to see some of the complicated ways yoga straps can be used. Yet are some very straightforward uses for a strap that can be extremely beneficial – and you don’t even have to buy one,  just use the belt from your robe or something similar. Consider these three reasons to use yoga straps.

forward fold, yoga, strap Yoga, forward fold, strap

Alignment – and bad habits

Are you full present during forward folds? When a pose isn’t difficult our mind tends to wander – it’s only human nature.

Next time you do a forward fold – whether standing or seated – a strap can help focus on

  • lengthening your spine rather than reaching.
  • We tend to have the habit of bending our back to get closer to our body  – we’ve all done it – but that’s not as good for our spine. Notice any difference in feeling when you use a strap.

Best of all,  I find using a strap reminds me
to be present and really notice my forward fold.

Extend Your Arms – and feel the pose while gaining flexibility

strap hand to big toe pose yoga
See how cramped I am without a strap – I’m not very flexible


yoga hand to big toe pose strap
See how open and steady I am using my strap. The strap is also building more flexibility.


I’m quite inflexible, and I like to use a strap to help get the benefit of a pose that is ‘outside of my grasp’. This is true of some more complicated poses like Dancer Pose or Hand to Big Toe Pose, but makes a huge difference in some more straightforward poses like supine leg stretches. You can get my guide to using a strap for supine leg stretches.

What happens with a strap is that you can do the pose while keeping good form
and this in turn means you benefit more from the pose while increasing your flexibility.

Tune into your Body That Day – connect your mind and body and prevent injury

Some days it makes sense to dial it back and take it easy. Perhaps you’ve mastered Hand to Big Toe Pose but it doesn’t feel like a day to extend yourself to your fullest. Listen to your body, some days ease into the pose and feel what it’s like with a strap. Another day your body will tell you that it’s ready for a good stretch.

Don’t let your ego interfere with what you’re body’s saying
– that way lies injury.

Interested in going deeper? Find out more info about working with me
or email me