By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Is it possible to reduce negative thoughts with Yoga? Yes, and here’s how and why it works. Tranquility of the mind is one of the main objectives within all forms of Yoga training. It is amazing how many students, from physically challenging forms of Yoga, have not yet learned this. To practice Hatha Yoga as an exercise is a “small piece of the pie.” Exercise is a wonderful thing, and it can help reduce negative thoughts with the help of Yoga poses. However, Yogic methodology gives us a variety of ways to cultivate positive energy, including meditation, pranayama, relaxation, mantra, relaxation, and more.
All forms of Yoga training help us attain our best emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical state. No exercise alone can help us attain optimum holistic health in this way. Some martial arts are close, but Yoga is the mother of all health maintenance systems, and Yogic methodology has many more healing aspects.
The next time you dwell on a negative thought, try to be a realist, and consider the real problem. The real problem is we worry ourselves sick about the unknown. Sometimes, change causes us to worry. We anticipate the worst, and most of the time, it never happens. Here is a strategy for the next time you fear the unknown. Make it a point to plan and prepare for the unfamiliar surroundings, which cause you anxiety. Mentally see yourself solving the problem. If you are going to spend time on a problem, you must transcend worry, and work on a viable solution. Visualization is another method to help you reduce negative thoughts with Yoga practice.
Here is an example: If you have fear of public speaking, you must practice your speech. You could also go to the stage ahead of time. Most auditoriums are open well ahead of time and most maintenance crews do not mind. This same principle is used in competitive sports. How often do you see professional players practicing hours before game time? Why do you think they are on the field so early?
“Practice makes perfect” is a very wise saying. Practice builds confidence, as well. The visiting team cannot wait to go practice on the opposing team’s home field before game time. Visiting teams are not familiar with the turf, and they will also face hostile sports fans. Even professionals have to “get the bugs out.” If you do not have a stage or a field to practice on, you still have your mind. In Yogic meditation, you are taught to visualize. Therefore, you should visualize success. Do not approach a negative thought as a victim. Instead, look at your problems as a victor would. Forget the worries and focus on the solutions. Some of my Yoga students have said, “But what if I fail?” In truth, no adventure in this life is a failure, unless you quit. If you never give up, you are still working on a positive outcome.
Once you finish Yoga teacher training, you should have mastered the art of focusing your mind to create solutions. When a solution does not come to you, it is time to look into advice from a book, online source, mentor or Guru. The search for a solution is just another quest for knowledge on this journey, which gives us purpose in this life. To wake up each day and help others find viable solutions to their problems makes a Yoga teacher’s life worth living.
Counter Point for Worry
Yes, you have the right to worry. Some people argue passionately for pessimism and worry. They are comfortable with negative thoughts and carry their personal cloud of doom everywhere they go. Their mantra is: “That will never work!” They chant negativity at home, work and any public place. If you believe something won’t work, it probably won’t work, and it’s amazing how powerful the mind is when considering negativity. If you focus on not thinking about your worry, that is all you will think about.
Some will say, “You can’t stop thinking about what worries you” and this is true; but you can start thinking positive thoughts. This is one reason why meditation, mantra, and japa exist. You could also add prayer, affirmation, and mentally consuming positive information. Truthfully, we have thousands of thoughts per day, but we can control the flow of positive thoughts. In effect, Yoga practitioners are adding positive energy to the mind just by practicing.
Consider this: You have a pond and it has some toxic material, but you don’t have the power or tools to remove all of the toxic material. However, you have the ability to add pure water, which dilutes the amount of toxic waste in the pond. Over time, the pond starts to show significant signs of life and continues to prosper. As you realize. this pond is much like the mind.
I have seen rivers that were polluted and filled with garbage. The community rose up and took positive action to improve the environment in and around the rivers. Within one generation, trout live in these rivers, which requires clean water. There is a restocking program going on as due to anglers, but these trout now exist all year round. As an observer of nature, one sees the survival of native trout as an indicator of environmental improvement. They are sensitive to acid levels, while they require clean and clear water. When people refer to the “canary in the coal mine,” trout are similar, but they exist in water.
My point is: A plan to clean up the mind takes time and it is much like an environmental program. It takes action and time to gain a positive result. There will always be negative influences or temptations within the journey of life. Yoga is a tool that helps all of us “stay the course.” We just want to be aware of bellwethers in life and nature. Our early reactions to anything that we can do to improve the quality of life depend on our development of awareness.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
Are you interested in more information about Yoga?
by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews
52 Essential Principles of Yoga Philosophy to Deepen your Practice
by Rina Jakubowicz.
A Relaxing Way to De-stress, Re-energize, and Find Balance
by: Gail Boorstein Grossman.
by B.K.S. Iyengar
By Mark Stephens
Anderson J.W., Liu C., Kryscio R.J. Blood pressure response to transcendental meditation: a meta-analysis. Am J Hypertens. 2008;21:310–316.
Herrick C.M., Ainswort A.D. Invest in yourself. Yoga as a self-care strategy. Nurs Forum. 2000;35:32–36.
Innes K.E., Bourguignon C., Taylor A.G. Risk indices associated with the insulin resistance syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and possible protection with yoga: a systematic review. J Am Board Fam Pract. 2005;18:491–519.
Ornish D., Brown S.E., Scherwitz L.W. Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease? The lifestyle heart trial. Lancet. 1990;336:129–133.
La Forge R. Mind–body fitness: encouraging prospects for primary and secondary prevention. J Cardiovasc Nurs. 1997;11:53–65.
Mahajan A., Reddy K., Sachdeva U. Lipid profile of coronary risk subjects following yogic lifestyle intervention. Indian Heart J. 1999;51:37–40.
See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about our selection of distance learning yoga teacher certification programs.