yoga certificationBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Positive Psychology is a branch of psychology that is gaining in popularity and recognition for its ability to uplift the minds and hearts of people. This may sound simplistic, but it is far from naive. Many of the common mental illnesses that plague thousands of people today develop and are sustained by negative thinking patterns. Negative thinking patterns profoundly lower the levels of serotonin and dopamine in our brains, among other critical “feel good” hormones.

When levels of serotonin and dopamine plummet from a painful event or from perpetual negative thought patterns, depression and anxiety often ensue. Positive psychologists present the theory that in order to truly support an individual in reaching his or her full potential, focusing on the inherent gifts, talents, skills and traits of that individual is paramount. To focus on the shortcomings of the client or Yoga student will only increase the individual’s awareness of his or her limitations and shortcomings.

Self-Confidence – Self-Esteem

One of the primary focuses of positive psychologists is to help a client to develop a sense of him or herself as a competent human being. This sense of competency may come in many different forms. The client may be musically talented, gifted in mathematics or artistically inclined. From the perspective of a Yoga teacher, helping your students to develop self-confidence in their Yoga practice is critical. It is far better to start slowly and build a strong foundation of safety and self-confidence rather than challenge a student far beyond his or her current level of ability.

A mismatch between the level of asana practice and a student’s ability will leave a Yoga student feeling anxious and less confident about the ability to grow and deepen in his or her practice. An overly challenging Yoga asana sequence may also lead to injury. To serve your students well, it is advisable to provide a challenging, but accessible sequence of Yoga asanas. In this way, you will help your students to develop self-confidence and the physical ability to safely practice more challenging Yoga asanas, when they are ready. As a Yoga student, focusing on your strengths and accomplishments will lift your spirits and motivate you to continue growing in your practice.


Self-confidence is a valuable life skill for children and adults. Without self-esteem we are followers, because we do not believe in our ability to find solutions to problems. Luckily, there is no shortage of self-confidence among Yoga teachers. For that reason, our mission is to instill self-confidence in each student. Assist them and help them to become confident and creative thinkers. The survival of our species depends on innovation.

© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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