By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Positive Psychology places much emphasis on what makes individuals happy and how communities thrive. In order to support an individual in manifesting his or her greatest potential, therapists, counselors, and teachers who utilize the techniques of Positive Psychology focus on the innate talents, gifts, and skills of that particular individual. Positive Psychology focuses on what is going well in your life and why, instead of what is going wrong. In this way, employing the paradigm of Positive Psychology to yourself will bolster your sense of self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth.
As Yoga practitioners, we often have the opportunity to witness the negativity in our own minds as we practice Yoga asanas, pranayama exercises, and meditation techniques. Yoga practices allow us to slow down and give us the time and space to witness our own thoughts. It is often the case that we Yoga practitioners become aware that we are hard on ourselves. We can be negative, critical, and judgmental, when we analyze our own tendencies and perceived limitations. According to the tenets of Positive Psychology, engaging in negative thinking about ourselves only undermines our own sense of well-being and happiness, in addition to the cumulative effect on our self-esteem and self-confidence.
One of the primary recommendations of Positive Psychology is to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude. Cultivating gratitude cuts negative thinking at its roots. For example, if you are having trouble getting into your favorite balancing asana one day, and you are internally berating yourself for being so inept, gently shifting your inner perspective to one of gratitude will immediately halt your negative internal dialogue.
In order to shift your thinking to a more positive frame of mind, you may wish to contemplate all of the things you have to be grateful for today. If you are physically able to practice Yoga, you are blessed. If you have the time to practice Yoga, you are blessed. If you are able to walk into a Yoga studio, you are blessed. In this way, you can cultivate gratitude for the abundance in your life, which will uplift your own heart and free your mind from the cycle of damaging negativity.
If you teach Yoga, you should be a classic example of gratefulness. As a Yoga teacher, there is much to be thankful for. To be able to help others, to witness the accomplishments of our students, and to be a messenger of quality living in the local community, are blessings we cannot afford to take for granted.
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