Confidence. It’s something we all want but often don’t have, something that grows with time and experience but can easily be knocked out of shape. It’s one of life’s most valuable possessions. Confidence is defined as ‘the belief in yourself and your powers and abilities, and the feeling that you can do something well to succeed.’ Confidence is what makes you good at something, but ironically, it’s also what gives you the ability to try in the first place.
A child can have low confidence for any number of reasons. Perhaps they are feeling forgotten or overlooked by busy caregivers or stressed out by conflict in the home. Maybe they are feeling overly criticised or inadequately encouraged, or perhaps they are suffering from bullying or the pressures of school and homework. They can also lack self-esteem simply from having a particularly introverted personality.
All these issues make it difficult for a child to try new things due to a lack of self-believe and a fear of failure.
Now, put simply, a lack of confidence is fear. Fear of the things we cannot do and fear of trying something and failing at it. Confidence is the opposite; it is the courage to do things we cannot yet do, and the bravery to let ourselves fail and to try again regardless.
Yoga can help a child’s confidence levels immensely because yoga is all about progression, not success or failure. It is a physical workout founded on values that have been tried and tested and proven to be effective and reliable since ancient times. A steady yoga practice provides all the health and wellness of a sport but none of the rivalry. As a result, yoga ensures a child is under no pressure to perform or ‘win’ because there is no finish line, no ‘better’ or ‘worse’. There is only determination, persistent practice, encouragement, and development. Yoga is a gentle personal journey, not a race, and so all the confidence-boosting benefits come from a child’s own personal achievements. Yoga teaches a child that they have the power within themselves to accomplish something special and to feel good about it without having to win or lose to other people.
So, how does yoga help a child’s confidence?
- Through the physical ability to work through difficulties and achieve something, they didn’t think they could. Being able to achieve a yoga pose you previously couldn’t is exhilarating!
- Through developing the mental ability to work through problems and obstacles
- Through the knowledge that they can achieve something if they try hard and persevere
- Through the awareness of what their bodies are capable of
- Through the realisation that limitations are not downfalls
- Through becoming stronger and healthier, and more flexible
- Through ridding a child of the fear of failure, because only through practice does one achieve something in yoga, never through being the ‘best’
- Through the stress-busting, calming nature of the yoga practice