How to Overcome Self-Doubt with Yoga

guest author mindset Dec 06, 2022

Self-doubt sits on our shoulders like a heavy weight.

Some shrug it off easily and continue moving forwards at an inspirational and awe-inspiring pace, while others find that they have to make friends with self-doubt in order to achieve anything. It’s a mindset and whichever camp you identify with, there is always room for working on your mindset.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine’s 5-element theory, we are all influenced by the passage of time as it moves through the seasons, with each season being associated with an element, a pair of meridians/organs, and an emotion.

These aspects come together to offer a glimpse into areas of potential imbalance within our body and most importantly, when coupled with yoga, can offer some methods to redress the balance.

Self-doubt is viewed as an imbalance within the metal element.

This element is associated with autumn, the lungs & large intestine and a feeling of grief. When we step onto our yoga mats this can show up in a variety of ways: 

  • Frustration at not making progress
  • Difficulty getting started with our practice
  • Shallow breathing, which can cause panic or anxiety
  • Self-doubt and loss of connection to ourselves

When it comes to working on skills such as inversions and arm balances, we all know that mindset plays a massive role in our success (or lack thereof). So, taking some time to use the metal element can help us to create the inner balance we need in order to achieve the external balance in our practice. 

The meridians for the lungs & large intestines run along the arms, upper chest and towards the nostrils. By working with these areas, according to 5-Element theory, we are encouraging the free flow of chi (energy or prana.) This will then create a better balance, resulting in less self-doubt, frustration and a deeper connection to our practice – which means more enjoyment out of our time on the mat.

So, here’s some yoga postures you can incorporate into your home practice to release self-doubt and create more balance inside and out.

  1. Eagle arms – add them in throughout your practice. Warrior 1 with eagle arms, low/high lunge, Warrior 3 – anything that gets the arms involved will help.
  2. Downward dog – lift the hips high and press them backwards to lengthen the back and move the stretch into the arms/shoulders. Bonus points if you use the wall for your downward dog to really get into the upper arms.
  3. Cow face arms – again add this arm variation into Warrior 1, high/low lunge or Warrior. (Use a belt or strap to bridge the gap if you can’t clasp your hands.)
  4. Breathing – start your practice with some focused breathwork to help balance out the mind. Alternate Nostril Breath is a great way to work with the meridians of the metal element because the meridian line for the large intestine ends at each nostril.

By adding a few variations of familiar postures into your home yoga flow, you can begin to restore the flow of chi within the meridians of the metal element.

This will help you to return to a state of balance, moving forwards from self-doubt and into a place where you can cultivate more confidence.



Guest Blogger Gillian Davies is a yoga teacher with the following credentials:
- 200 hours Seasonal Yoga
- 200 hours Yin Yoga
- 150 hours Medi Yin Yoga

Through all of her trainings she has learned about Traditional Chinese Medicine and the 5-element theory, which she has incorporated in her teaching for the last 6 years.

Connect with Gillian:


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