yoga instructor certificationBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Positive psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on what makes us happy, vital, and thrive as human beings. This paradigm focuses on each individual’s strengths, aptitudes, and talents. Positive psychology shifts the focus to what is working, rather than what is not working. Positive psychologists seek to increase an individual’s well-being and sense of thriving by focusing and developing the unique strengths and talent that a particular individual naturally has, instead of honing in on his or her weaknesses. Mindful awareness and enhancing a sense of “flow” are two of the main techniques that positive psychologists use to uplift and inspire their clients. Positive psychologists also seek to increase a sense of well-being and thriving, through engaging in positive group affiliations, and a sense of purpose.

In the context of a Yoga practice, focusing on developing and enhancing your sense of capability and accomplishment, will lay the foundation for having a strong sense of confidence in your abilities, as you begin to engage in a more challenging Yoga practice. Active participation in a vibrant Yoga community will also give you a strong sense of positive affiliation. Additionally, many Yoga shalas today also offer selfless service to the community at large, whether it be donating money to a local food bank or planting flowers in a community garden. Offering selfless service will also increase your happiness level, according to positive psychologists, because it will increase your internal sense of worthiness, responsibility, and connection to the community around you.

On a physical and emotional level, incorporating the positive psychological techniques of mindful awareness and flow into your Yoga practice, will take your practice to the next level and greatly enhance the benefits you receive from your practice. One simple way to incorporate “flow” into your practice is to engage in deep Ujjayi breathing throughout your Yoga session. As you link your breath to the postures, you will find that you are able to ride the wave of your own breath from asana to asana. This will greatly enhance a sense of flowing through your practice, and will leave you feeling both centered and energized.

To incorporate mindfulness into your Yoga practice, simply witness the state of your body and mind as they are today. Sometimes, this awareness can lead to frustration, if you find that you are not able to go as deeply into a posture as you could yesterday or last week. Practicing non-violence towards yourself, in this context, means to simply witness “what is” and to practice appropriately. You may be pleasantly surprised, as you easily go up into Upward Facing Bow, a pose that may have previously eluded you. Whatever the case may be, simply being aware of the current state of your body and mind will relieve tension and stress, leading to a greater sense of ease and well-being.

© Copyright 2015 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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