The Power of Positive Thinking - Yoga Edition
By kate_uva on January 17, 2013
"The only thing constant in life is change" -Fançois de La Rouchefoucauld.
People come into your life and people go, you move, change your job, adopt a new healthy or unhealthy habit (come one, let's be honest with ourselves), a major life event or tragedy occurs (for good or bad), and life just expects you to "keep calm and carry on." You must learn to let go of certain things you cannot control. If you have someone or some area of your life that is dragging you down, acknowledge it, grow, and learn from it. There is always something to learn from a bad experience, job, or friendship that is bringing you down. That terrible, awful experience happened for a reason. It happened to make you a stronger and better person. It is more important that you learn how to respond to a situation, learn how to get over it, and MOVE ON. Live your life with the knowledge that when unfortunate situations happen (I can think of so many, Hurricane Sandy, school shootings, bullying) it gives you an opportunity to rise above it and become stronger.
In other more simpler words, turn a negative into a positive.
|Photo Credit: Keep Calm and Carry On via Steve Madden|
The power of positive thinking can easily be applied to the practice of yoga. Positive thinking evokes more happiness, energy, motivation, and ultimately more of makes you feel good about yourself. I don't care if you have to punch a bag to relieve stress, run outside wild and free (arms flying up and down like a bird/crazy person), if it makes you feel good, and you are not hurting yourself and/or others then do it. Who cares what people think? Do it for you.
The phrase "letting go" is extremely powerful in the practice of yoga. In fact, I do not think I have ever been to a yoga class where the teacher did not say "let go." Letting go and living in the moment is not as easy as it sounds. Letting go can be physical or mental. I don't know about you, but when I am stressed my muscles tighten and I do not feel "loose" or at ease. Also, my mind may race with negative thoughts at times. In yoga, I learned to breathe in and breathe out releasing those unwanted thoughts. You know, the ones like "I can't do it" or "I'm too tired." You have to mentally motivate yourself to do something in yoga, and in life in general.
I feel that it is so important for people (yes, men and women) of all ages, athletic abilities, and personalities to challenge themselves with yoga. Reap the benefits yoga will so kindly offer. We must remind ourselves that it is okay to live in the moment without worrying about what's next. Become more like your inner child and laugh out loud at something funny, call a friend or family member and tell them how you really feel, become more aware of yourself, and take the time to appreciate everything you have at this very moment. You will feel so great.
Yoga can help us find the good in every situation. Sometimes we really have to dig deep and move things around to find it! Inhale the good, and exhale the bad. While taking a class at Elevate Yoga, (Hi Jamie!) I learned a very useful way to close your eyes and mentally "let go" of something negative you have been holding onto for too long. You can try this practice at home or work when you have a few minutes. I promise you that you will feel much more productive and self-assured after.
Here is my own version on how to let go: Are you ready? (Say yes!) First, after you read this, you must close your eyes and imagine those negative words, worries, and anxieties that you may have at the moment streaming in front of you. Literally, imagine the words passing by you. Let it pass by and do not occupy your mind with those negative thoughts. Just let your thoughts pass by like a cloud on a summer day. Simply observe them do not travel with it. Now, think of a word that is meaningful to you and something that you hope to achieve within the next few minutes. For example, you may want to feel calm, peaceful, content, aware, strong. All of these words are powerful and uplift and enlighten your sense of self. Whenever you start to worry about your work, current situation, friends, family, etc. bring your mind back to the awareness of your breath and the true meaning of the word you chose. Why is it important to you?
Feel the power that yoga has on your mind and body.
We all know breathing is essential to survival, but we do not really think about it that much in our everyday lives. In my practice I have found that it is important to ignore the negative thoughts and only breathe in the good. Don't be afraid to inhale and exhale deeply and become fully aware of yourself in this moment. Challenge yourself. Feel the calming sensation throughout your nervous system when you inhale and exhale deeply. In yoga, you are truly letting go of stress or something that is troubling you in the current moment when you exhale. I strongly appreciate the phrase "let it go" because it is especially important in yoga and can be applied to many aspects of your life. When you let go you are able to live in the present moment. We cannot dwell on the past or let certain things that do not matter bother us. In summary, we must let go of the "I can't do it" mentality to move on and truly improve in this practice, and every other area of your life. Be patient. Believe me, you will amaze yourself.
"Life begins where fear ends." -Osho
|Photo Credit: Yoga Inspiration|
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