Delicious Sources of Vegan Protein

10 Delicious Sources of Vegan Protein

Proteins are the building blocks of the body. If you’re focused on building lean muscle mass, or even maintaining it, then making sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet is absolutely crucial.

According to WebMD, a minimum of about 46 grams of protein per day is recommended for women and 56 grams of protein per day is recommended for men. A higher amount would be necessary for those who are moderately active, eating at a caloric deficit to lose weight, or eating at a caloric surplus to gain muscle.

For vegans, however, getting a higher amount of protein can be tricky since most plant-based sources come with their fair share of carbohydrates or fat too. But never fear — these protein-packed, plant-based foods may be just what you need!

Hemp protein

This powdered form of protein comes from seeds that grow on the hemp plant, containing all the essential amino acids required by your body. You get about 5 grams of protein from two tablespoons depending on the brand. It’s best used in smoothies, oatmeal, and even baked goods.

Walnuts

All nuts are pretty powerful, but walnuts are among the highest in protein at 3 grams per 1/4 cup. Also high in healthy fats, antioxidants, plus a variety of vitamins and minerals, you can add these to your diet for a satiating snack between meals.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds pack a powerful punch with nearly 5 grams of protein per 1-ounce serving and more omega-3 fatty acids than flax seeds. Sprinkle them over your breakfast in the morning or make pudding with them by turning them into a gel-like substance when mixed with liquid.

Lentils

One cup of lentils has a whopping 18 grams of protein and an incredible 16 grams of fiber. Although it’s a starchy legume with 40 grams of carbs, you probably won’t need an entire cup of the stuff to fill you up.

Quinoa

Frequently referred to as a grain, quinoa is actually a seed from the goosefoot plant, containing 8 grams of protein per cup (cooked). It’s one of the best alternatives to rice and is incredibly nutritious too.

Sprouted grains

Sprouted grain products (like breads, buns, and wraps) are not only high in nutrients but also high in protein too, with anywhere from 7 to 10 grams per serving. Prepare them with your favorite veggies for a seriously nutritious and filling meal or snack.

Wild rice

One cup of cooked wild rice has 7 grams of protein plus lots of valuable nutrients including many from vitamin B complex. It’s best when cooked with other grains like brown rice or even quinoa!

Broccoli

Don’t forget your cruciferous veggies! Although not quite as protein-dense as most other foods on this list, filling up on green veggies like broccoli keeps your calories low and your nutrition high. Broccoli has about 2.6 grams of protein per cup.

Spinach

Speaking of green veggies, you can’t go wrong with leafy greens. With just about 1 gram of protein per cup (raw), it’s easy enough to throw a couple handfuls into a smoothie or add several bunches to a salad, wrap, or sandwich at every meal.

Spirulina

Spirulina is a highly nutritious, protein-packed type of algae that’s typically consumed in powder or tablet form. It’s 60 to 70 percent protein, so you can bet that you can get a hefty portion by supplementing with it. Just be sure to speak to your doctor before doing so.

Pretty great list, right? If you incorporated some or all of the above foods into every one of your daily meals and snacks, you’d probably have no problem at all getting enough protein into your diet at all.

Photo (edited) via VegaTeam


5 Great Ways to Practice Selflessness

5 Great Ways to Practice Selflessness

Selflessness is something most people recognize as a good attribute to have, yet in this day and age where society tends to encourage them to succeed on a totally individual level and one-up each other whenever they can, it sure can be difficult to see through the fog of selfishness.

Although there’s nothing really wrong with wanting money, power, beauty, strength, intelligence or any other typically desirable and extravagant quality, there is something wrong with it if you’re wanting it just to feed your ego. There are lots of people in this world who have these things, yet they really only have them (and keep them) because they're so focused on working hard to serve others.

So how do we become less selfish and more selfless? Well, a good way to start is by focusing on some of the big tips below that absolutely anyone can do.

1. Work on becoming aware of just how much you think of yourself in certain situations.

Noticing how you look upon the world and judge everything based on your own beliefs and personal desires is the first step toward adopting a more selfless attitude. Take something as simple as looking at photos that a friend uploaded on Facebook of an event you attended. Who’s the first person you’d typically look for in those photos? That’s right — yourself!

Of course, something as simple as looking for yourself first in photos of a group may seem harmless, but it demonstrates just how automatically programmed our minds are to think of ourselves first.

2. Ask questions to better empathize with people.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share others’ feelings, and it’s the key to developing selfless compassion. Unfortunately, many of us are too quick to judge others without fully stepping in their shoes first, or we simply fall short of  doing the necessary investigative work that's needed to empathize with them better.

Instead of judging someone from your point of view or jumping to conclusions with limited information, seek to understand them better by digging deeper into their experiences. Open your mind, be curious, and ask about what you don’t quite understand.

3. Acknowledge and thank people for sharing their opinions when you don’t agree with them.

When you’re very identified with the self, it’s all too easy to feel hurt, offended, embarrassed, ashamed, or angered by someone who shares an opinion that’s not in line with yours. The ego might automatically view it as an attack, which often triggers people to get defensive or act cowardly.

But you can eliminate all of those negative reactions by expanding your awareness and acknowledging that a person's opinion is based entirely on that person’s perspective of the world, including all the beliefs and experiences they've developed over their lifetime. This makes it easier to refuse to let one person's opinion affect you so you can stay positive and thank them for sharing anyway.

4. Aim to perform one simple act of selfless giving a day.

Selflessness is all about giving and knowing how to receive back with gratitude. You don’t have to donate all of your time and money to charities and volunteer organizations, but it’s worth making a small goal to give back to other people and the environment in some intentionally generous way.

Something as simple as holding the door open for a stranger or planting a new tree outside definitely counts. Here are a few other simple ideas for how to give more.

5. Keep practicing self-love.

Quite paradoxically, the practice of self-love — when done right — is completely selfless in nature. This is because learning to love yourself unconditionally helps to down-regulate your ego and reveal your interconnectedness with everyone and everything in the Universe.

Being you is really the greatest gift you can give to the world. By giving more love to yourself, you fill yourself up so you can give more love to others.

 


How to Do a Body Scan Meditation

How to Do a Body Scan Meditation

Yoga is the practice of unifying the mind, body, and spirit through breath work, posture, and awareness. Unfortunately, if you’re starting from a state where you're pretty out of touch with your physical body, getting anywhere close to this state of oneness can seem a lot more difficult than it probably should be.

One of the best ways you can become more aware of your body is by doing a body scan meditation. The whole goal of this type of meditation is to focus on one part of the body at a time and tune into how it feels without trying to change it.

Doing a body scan can help you identify any physical pain or sensations you may be feeling and any links between those physical feelings and your emotions. It may serve as a valuable regular practice that can help you discover ways to work through any stress, anxiety, tension or other physical pain in the body.

The Step-By-Step Process

Like all forms of meditation, doing a body scan is meant to be simple. Here are the steps you need to take to successfully complete a full body scan meditation.

  1. Lie down or sit comfortably in a place where you won’t be interrupted.
  2. Start by bringing your awareness to your breathing. Take three deep breaths as you mindfully tune into your thoughts and emotions, observing them as they flow freely.
  3. Choose to start your body scan either at the top of your head or the tip of your toes. You'll work down or up from there.
  4. As you place your awareness on that body part, tune into what you feel there. You may feel pain, aching, itchiness, tingling, firmness, lightness, heaviness, warmth, coldness, or possibly even nothing.
  5. Once you’re aware of what you physically feel in that area, expand your awareness to see if it also triggers your emotional state (a positive feeling, a negative feeling, or a neutral feeling).
  6. Now bring your awareness back your breath and feel it reach down through your entire body as you breathe in, then exhale as you let go of any tension in the body part you just focused on.
  7. Remember not to try and control anything — just let those physical and emotional feelings be as they are.
  8. Move up or down to the next body part. If you started from your toes, you’d move to the soles of your feet. If you started from the top of your head, you’d move to your ears or your forehead.
  9. Repeat steps 4 to 7 as you move through each individual body part.
  10. Take as little as five minutes or as long as 45 minutes to go through each part of your body.
  11. When finished, take a minute or so to just be aware and feel your entire body as whole, relaxed, and loved — even if you still feel any discomfort in some areas.

This is the perfect meditation practice when you’re just waking up in the morning or lying down at night to go to bed. A morning body scan will help you feel more present and in tune with your body throughout the day while a nighttime body scan will help you relax more effectively so you can drift off to sleep.

Try it for yourself! You might be surprised just how healing such a simple practice can truly be.

Photo (edited) via Amy


3 Steps You Can Take to Restart a Bad Day

3 Steps You Can Take to Restart a Bad Day

We can build great habits, take the time to plan ahead, practice yoga and take good care of ourselves — but bad days will still always come and go. Even the happiest, most optimistic people have bad days every now and then.

Of course, a bad day can seem a lot worse when the timing is unfavorable. When you’ve got things to do and goals to accomplish for the day, getting your mojo back can feel nearly impossible.

Throwing in the towel for the rest of the day may seem like the only option, but believe it or not, you can still close out the day with victory. When it’s already mid-afternoon and you find yourself wishing you could hit the reset button on your day so you can get everything else done, follow these three simple steps.

1. Gather Yourself

In other words, take a break so you can reboot. This means getting out of your current environment, ideally outside in a natural setting, so you can go for a brief 20-minute walk. Scientific research has proven that this is one of the fastest and most effective ways to soothe the mind and regulate emotions.

If you can’t do that, walking around your home, your building, or just down the street is better than nothing, and it’s still very beneficial get the blood pumping just through simple movement. Grab a pair of headphones and your mobile device to listen to some calming music while you’re walking.

Be sure to extend your walk if you think you need it, or even meditate afterward. Remember that if you can clear all the cruddy thoughts, emotions, and tension flowing through your mind and body, you’ll be in a much better state to tackle everything you have left to do for the day.

2. Reestablish Intention

Once you’ve taken the time to refresh your mind and body, you can go back to your previous environment and prepare yourself to tackle the rest of the day’s tasks. But rather than just starting where you left off, take a few minutes to get clear about your intentions by journaling a bit.

While journaling, focus on these three things:

  • What you’re truly grateful for today
  • 1 to 3 of the most important things that must be accomplished today
  • How you’ll reward yourself at the end of the day for accomplishing those 1 to 3 things

Setting a simple reward like a relaxing bubble bath or a couple squares of dark chocolate will help motivate you to get through the rest of your tasks before you call it a day.

3. Maintain Presence

Even after gathering yourself and getting back in touch with your intentions for the day, old thoughts and feelings from earlier may pop up again and threaten to throw you back off track. Aim to focus on just one thing at a time, and if you feel yourself getting derailed, try doing the following:

  • Remove or disconnect from any distractions
  • Take a few long, deep breaths while relaxing your muscles
  • Engage in some positive self-talk by telling yourself what matters right now

When a bad day hits, the idea is to simplify everything as much as possible so you don’t end up aggregating your thoughts and emotions more. These three steps can be done in as little as a few minutes practically anywhere, but it’s up to you to make them happen.


3 Tips for Learning to Embrace Your Mistakes

3 Tips for Learning to Embrace Your Mistakes

Nobody likes to admit it when they’ve made a mistake — especially when it’s a significant one. People who identify themselves as perfectionists may even find that they're completely paralyzed by fear of making a mistake before they even try to take action on something.

Mistakes, however, really just exist in our minds as perceptions. No matter how hard we try, completely riding our lives of mistakes can’t be done by trying to make ourselves perfect, or by trying to gain control over everything. The only way to truly eliminate mistakes is by changing how we perceive them.

Seek Growth

The word “mistake” is defined as “an action or judgment that is misguided or wrong.” No wonder we all hate making them! But have you ever noticed how some of the happiest and most successful people are the ones who really aren’t fazed by making mistakes?

It all comes down to a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset, which is a helpful model in psychology developed by Stanford professor Carol Dweck that we can use to look at how people think. People with fixed mindsets believe that they were simply born with the abilities, talents, and level of intelligence that they currently have, and that there’s no real hope in changing them. People with growth mindsets, on the other hand, believe that their abilities, talents, and intelligence can be developed and improved upon by putting in the time and effort.

When you adopt a growth mindset, mistakes essentially fade away and turn into stepping stones as they become an essential part of the developmental learning process. When you seek growth, every challenge you learn to overcome serves as something that you can use to improve yourself.

Laugh

Why do we laugh? There’s no easy answer to that question, but in general, we can assume that laughter is a form of communication that helps us relieve tension and spark positive feelings in both ourselves and in other people.

Of course, a mistake may not seem funny at all in the moment or soon afterward, and that’s okay. But learning to look at every mistake eventually at some point with a great sense of humor helps free you from the emotional distress that comes with dwelling on it and transforms it into something completely different.

Despite what your ego may lead you to believe, laughing about your own embarrassments and disappointments doesn’t show that you’re weak at all. In fact, it shows the very opposite. If you can learn to laugh at your own mistakes, other people (and more importantly, you) will see that you’re not trying to hide or avoid the messy, imperfect reality of living life.

Forgive

Mistakes are really just a reflection of our desire for control. We often think we’re in control of life, but we’re not. When things don’t go the way we expect them to go, we call them mistakes, and then of course we have a hard time accepting our inability to effectively control reality.

Letting go of any anger, resentment, shame or guilt helps make room in your mind so you can work on consciously activating your compassionate side. If laughter doesn’t fully dissolve what you perceive to be a mistake, then whole-hearted compassion and forgiveness certainly will help finish it off.

All of these tips — seeking growth, learning to laugh, and being able to forgive — are all acts of surrender to the vulnerable nature of living a human life. And when you find that you’re able to surrender, you're also able to discover that there really are no so-called “mistakes” the way we typically tend to perceive them.

 


5 Essential Truths About Inner Peace

5 Essential Truths About Inner Peace

What does inner peace mean to you? Does it mean meditation practice? Does it have a feeling, like deep satisfaction or contentment? Or does it have more of a physical symbolism to it, like a tropical beach setting or the faces of your closest family members?

We all have different ideas of what inner peace means to each of us, but in general, it can be described as a state of mind where we feel completely whole, accepting everything in the present moment and radiating love outward to the world around us. With enough practice and discipline in maintaining a higher level of awareness, inner peace can be kept even through some of the most stressful times.

Here are just six truths that we all must live if we want to cultivate inner peace both on and off the mat, no matter what’s happening out there in the real world.

We must be in touch with our bodies. It’s impossible to experience inner peace when we're disconnected from our physical bodies and unaware of how our minds are running. Needless to say, this of course doesn’t mean we need to be experts in human anatomy or psychology. It just means that we should continue to work on bringing our physical and mental resources together through our yoga practice and meditation with the goal of harmonizing the body, breath, and mind.

We must practice compassion. Many of us grow up to believe that we’re competing against each other, which naturally causes us to compare ourselves to other people, judge them, gossip about them, and sometimes even do harm to them. But judging and belittling other people offers no path to inner peace, and the same goes for when we do it ourselves. Instead, practice compassion by seeking to reduce the suffering of people around you, yourself, and all living things.

We must be aware of ego. We’re more selfish than we think, and sometimes, even an act of kindness or generosity can be wrapped up in selfish intention. Likewise, other people have their own self agendas and see the world through their own eyes, which can sometimes be interpreted as an attack on our own egos. If we can remain aware enough of other people’s personal perspectives and opinions (including our own), we’ll have a better chance of escaping the ego trap and maintaining a peaceful state of mind.

We must accept that we’re vulnerable. It’s not always pretty or fun, but embracing vulnerability opens us up to being truthful and honest. Everyone knows how tempting it is to lie, to manipulate, or to withhold information in order to get what we want or help our self images out. Awareness of ego is the first step, and practicing authenticity is the next. Being vulnerable is an essential part of being authentic, which helps us shed the guilt, shame, and worry that comes with trying to protect ourselves all the time.

We must embrace minimalism. Yoga teaches us to detach from material items and mental turmoil. Physical stuff and unproductive thought processes often distract us from what really matters and give us a false sense of security. While giving up everything you own and simplifying your day so you hardly ever have to think at all certainly isn’t necessary, taking a deeper look at your materialistic tendencies and thinking habits will definitely help you identify what needs to go. Once you learn to let go of what’s holding you back, you’ll feel much more free and at ease.

Inner peace is very simple, but it’s not easy to reach or maintain. With the above truths in mind, consider journaling a bit every day on how you experience each of them to help bring you more peace of mind.


5 Yoga Poses to Relieve Anxiety

Anxiety can strike any time, any day. When it does, do you know what to do to help minimize it?

For starters, laying off the caffeine and sugar is a good idea since these stimulating substances often make anxiety worse. Other than that, breathing deeply and engaging in some type of calming activity can help soothe your nerves, get rid of that tight feeling in your chest, and get your mind right again.

If you can get away from your hectic everyday life for a few minutes, consider taking the time to go through a quick yoga sequence of anxiety-relieving poses. Here are just five that can help.

Cat-Cow (Marjaryasana Bitilasana)

Cat-Cow (Marjaryasana Bitilasana)
Photo via Amy

Getting on your hands and knees to alternate between arching and rounding your back helps to gently massage your entire back and core while eliminating any tension or discomfort in this area, making it a powerful stress reliever. Exhale as you round your back as much as possible into cat pose and inhale into cow pose to synchronize the breath with the flow of movement.

Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
Photo via kellinahandbasket

Lying down flat on your back with your legs straight up in the air as close to a 90-degree angle as your flexibility allows helps to calm the nervous system and regulate blood circulation throughout the body. You don’t necessarily need to have a wall around to place your legs up against, but it helps. Maintain this pose while you complete 5 to 10 deep breaths (or as many as you like) to rid your mind of anxious thoughts.

Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
Photo via kellinahandbasket

Sitting with your legs straight out in front of you while bending your upper body to stretch your arms toward your toes does wonders for the lower back, hamstrings, hips, abdomen and pelvic area. It’s an ideal pose for cultivating inner peace and for self-reflection. Remember to keep your feet flexed and your knees soft as you reach as far forward as you can while pointing your forehead down toward your legs. As you exhale, lean forward a bit more into the pose.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Photo via Amy

If you’re a yogi, then you must already know that child’s pose is one of the main resting poses — making it a perfect pose for reducing anxiety and promoting calmness. You can stretch your arms out in front of you or alternatively lengthen them out in the opposite direction toward your feet as you sit on your knees and bend forward. It’s also just a great pose overall for beginners and those who still have a lot of work to do on their flexibility.

Corpse (Savasana)

Corpse (Savasana)
Photo via AJ

Often integrated into many yoga sequences as the last pose of the practice, corpse pose is meant to get you totally relaxed and present. Although it looks as simple as lying down on your back with your palms facing upward and feet naturally fallen outward, corpse is sometimes described to be one of the most challenging poses because of how active the mind tends to be. Focus on relaxing each muscle and each thought at a time, and use it as a starting point for meditation if you wish.

All or any individual one of these poses can help next time you start to feel stress or anxiety set in. Take a few minutes for yourself and you’ll be on your way back to a much calmer state of mind and body in practically no time at all.


6 Powerful Ways to Strengthen Self-Love

6 Powerful Ways to Strengthen Self-Love

Self-love is central to yoga and meditation, but it’s not always easy to maintain, day in and day out — especially when things get tough! While establishing a regular practice is the first step we can all take to become more loving and compassionate towards ourselves, there are a few other little rituals we can work in our practice both on and off the mat to help give ourselves a little boost.

In fact, maybe you already do some of these already. Try picking one that you can turn toward when you're not feeling so good about yourself.

Protect your space

Choose a space in your home — ideally where you like to spend time — that you can use to practice self-love. This could be the place where you roll your yoga mat out for your practice, your favorite chair where you read, your bed, or even a private space outside if you can find one. Declare this a clutter-free and negativity-free zone by keeping it clean, decorating it with things that inspire you, and imagining it being filled with cleansing and loving white light when you spend time there.

Use aromatherapy

Did you know that there are certain essential oils that actually stimulate feelings of love and joy? Rose essential oil is considered to have the highest frequency of all oils, promoting a feeling of unconditional love. Ylang ylang essential oil can be used to help restore confidence while spruce essential oil helps with the release of emotional blocks to bring back a sense of balance. You may even want to choose a couple favorites that you can diffuse in your protected space.

Listen to music

Just like aromatherapy heals through scent, music does the same through sound. When practicing yoga, meditating, reading, or even just relaxing, try listening to classical or ambient music without any lyrics at a moderate volume. This will naturally help calm your mind and lift your spirit. Music that’s already familiar to you is also known to promote feelings of love and joy, so go ahead and press play on any of your favorite songs or albums in your music library.

Use mantras & affirmations

The words you say to yourself — even just in your head — are far more powerful than you might think. Having a few go-to mantras and affirmations like “I am strong,” or “the love of the Universe surrounds me,” can be enough to get your positive thoughts flowing again. Don't just do it once — keep repeating it as often as it takes to start feeling a difference. Tell yourself what you want to feel as if you’re feeling it already, and the Universe will make it happen.

Step into nature

Making a habit out of regularly going for a walk in a nearby park or on a trail is hugely beneficial for both your physical and mental health. A Stanford study found that people who walked in a natural area for 90 minutes experienced decreased activity in a part of the brain associated with depression when compared to people who walked for 90 minutes in an urban area. Getting out in any green space will help you naturally expand your awareness and feel the connection you have with Mother Nature.

Neutralize negativity

Self-love is an ongoing practice, and dealing with negative thoughts and emotions is just part of the journey. When those thoughts and emotions do pop up and make it harder to feel loving toward yourself, make sure you become mindful of them. You can neutralize those negative thoughts by using explorative self-talk that seeks to understand whether they’re true by questioning them. If you question yourself enough, you’ll likely realize that the negative thought you’re thinking or emotion you’re feeling isn’t actually true in nature — it only feels true in your head. This opens you up to begin making the shift toward more positive and loving self-talk.


Simple Ways to Give More

Simple Ways to Give More

Those who’ve grown up in the Western world know just how important it is in today's modern society to nurture and grow themselves in every aspect of their lives as an individual. It’s this very individualistic lifestyle trend that has led a lot of people down a path of becoming socially conditioned to mostly just wanting and taking what they think they deserve, without giving much of anything first at all.

We must consider our actions and how they relate to the law of exchange, where both giving and receiving feed off of each other. Karma Yoga in particular is the practice of giving back selflessly in a way that will benefit others, without any expectation of something in return.

The more selflessly you give out of love, the more loving energy you will receive back. This doesn’t necessarily mean we have to give physical items or money to others in order to put ourselves in line with what the universe can deliver to us. All it takes is a simple giving gesture or action that comes straight from the heart.

Here are four ideas that are simple enough to do any time, any day.

Listen

Our attention spans aren’t what they used to be. Now that so many of us have busy, hectic lives where huge chunks of our time are spent staring at computers/televisions/smartphones, one of the most generous things you can ever offer to someone is your full, undivided attention. Next time you’re having a conversation with somebody, place your awareness on them and what they’re saying rather than getting distracted by your own thoughts and surroundings.

Smile

Smiling is contagious. In one particular study, participants who were shown a photo of somebody smiling and then asked to frown had difficulty doing it, instinctively imitating the facial expression they were staring at instead. Just the act of smiling is known to benefit our health and happiness, so you could brighten up somebody else’s day just by smiling at them.

Create

True creatives are deeply and authentically moved to produce something that’s bigger than themselves and their ego-driven desires. Whether you enjoy doing something artistic like drawing or something more systematic like marketing, try tapping into that creative energy by experimenting with what you like to do. You may start off with just doing something you love for the sake of doing it, but it may end up being the gift the world needs from you.

Pray

Lastly, you can start giving more back to others in a super quick way by simply saying a silent prayer or wish to every person you meet and part with during the day. Of course, the most important part of this act is the intention behind it. Making sure that you genuinely and unconditionally wish good and kindness upon others is far more important than the words you use to say the prayer or wish in your head.

Pick one of the above to start getting into the habit of giving more every day. As you notice yourself beginning to receive more loving energy back in exchange from others, make sure you receive it with gratitude to keep the flow of energy going and encourage yourself to keep on giving.


How Yoga Helps You Build Confidence

How Yoga Helps You Build Self-Confidence

People who are truly confident in themselves know how to trust in their abilities to do what they need to do. They don't question the qualities that make them unique, and they feel secure about their sense of judgment.

Self-confidence is something that anyone can learn to develop. Starting out as a shy or self-conscious child doesn't mean you're stuck like that for life, and we know this is true from all the inspiring stories that celebrities, business people, and other high-profile individuals have shared about their journeys toward personal success.

The great thing about yoga is that it's actually a natural confidence booster. You may find that after a few weeks or months of practice, you'll actually feel better about your appearance, act more assertive in social situations, be less indecisive, and experience enhanced confidence in all sorts of other areas of your life.

Here are some of the major ways yoga helps you become your most confident version.

It increases your awareness so you can reach self-acceptance. Building confidence always starts with accepting yourself just as you are. And because yoga is all about increasing awareness to dissolve the ego, you naturally begin to recognize and accept what you're capable of and what your limits are.

It encourages you to treat yourself right so you can develop self-respect. It's nearly impossible to feel confident when you're constantly using negative self-talk. As you continue to work on your awareness and discover more about who you really are, you'll develop more compassion toward yourself, which will help turn that negative inner voice into the type of self-talk that's much more forgiving and nurturing.

It helps you grow yourself to inspire more self-love. Yoga is a never ending journey that involves constant self-improvement. Whether you're working to improve your physical strength, your peace of mind, your connection with others, your understanding of the world around you, or anything else — recognizing your growth in those areas will take you beyond self-acceptance to a place where liking yourself and even fully loving yourself is easier than ever before.

It detoxifies your state of being through mindfulness meditation. Thoughts are flowing through your mind and influencing your behavior all the time, whether you're aware of it or not. Since low self-confidence is often exasperated by thoughts that have been left to run wild, it helps to quiet the mind by detaching from it completely through meditative practices.

It promotes gratitude to attract more abundance. When you feel like you're missing something that you think you should already have, you might find yourself feeling worried and incapable of getting it. But you when flip that over by instead looking at everything you have right now and how grateful you are for all those things, you automatically start generating the confidence you need to attract so much more.

Confidence is basically a synonym for inner peace and happiness. When you're at peace, you're happy — and when you're truly happy, your self-confidence will be unshakeable.

Photo (edited) via Stephan Bartels