On what does healthy self-esteem depend? What factors have an impact? I believe that we come into this world with certain inherent differences that may make it easier or harder to attain healthy self-esteem — differences pertaining to resilience, energy, our nature, and disposition to enjoy life. Adding to these inherent differences, are the effects of our environment, our upbringing, pressures from society and the media. Low self esteem is a disease. It is an epidemic in our society today. It is now associated with virtually every ill that afflicts society. This disease causes us to steal from others to feel more whole or complete. We are not beautiful enough, not articulate enough, not educated enough, not strong enough, and not worthy enough. We look to others to complete us. Yoga is about needing nothing. You already contain everything. You are whole. Yogic philosophy is simple and uplifting. It is a celebration of the heart and spirit of oneness. By perceiving the tantric philosophy of oneness, we can look for the goodness in all people and in all things, starting with ourselves. Students of all levels of ability and experience are honored for their unique differences, limitations and their talents.

The value of discovering one’s self and of enjoying one’s self as is, inspires a journey into being rather than doing. When you achieve this yogic spirit of being, you can begin knowing yourself at peace. Knowing the self at peace, as being rather than merely as an agent or doer, is a gift far too often overlooked. It is our self, which usually gets lost in the rush of activities and push of desires. Yogic theory and practice lead to increasing self-knowledge and awareness. It is a profound experience to realize, I am complete. I am not lacking anything. I am worthy. I have something important to say and experiences to share. I have a voice. The first time I realized I was worthy, tears started pouring down my face, my throat tightened and it felt like a thousand things I had held back, over years that I had never said, were bottled up in my throat and were ready to explode. It was both a joyous moment of realization and one of sadness that for so long I had overlooked my “self”. How could I not be worthy? I was created to be unique. I was given so many gifts. I was perfectly imperfect. I like many, had compared myself to others. I have since learned that comparing yourself to others only brings you sorrow. There will always be someone smarter, more articulate, more beautiful, etcetera. What is needed is more compassion to our self. Try being less judgmental and critical of yourself. Embrace your true nature and natural beauty. When you embrace and begin to love everything about you, you will find peace. Your outlook on life begins to change, and perceptions shift to what is really important in this world.

When you move your body in yoga practice, feel a connection to your heart. Flow with grace, following your heart and spirit. You can use your yoga practice to see the intrinsic goodness in yourself and in those all around you. Having a life affirming vision that we are uniquely beautiful, we are worthy, transcends and uplifts us from within to overcome this disease of society, this low self esteem. Yoga allows us to celebrate and embrace our authentic and beautiful self, with all its imperfections. It allows us to nurture our gifts, our creativity and our individuality. This self-awareness, this greater connection plays a key role in the successful flow of your practice, in your participation in relationships, your participation at work, in the community, and in your life. May you inspire the awakening of the most authentic and beautiful self.