During one of my YogaFit trainings, the instructor (Renee!) gave us an opportunity to do something most of already do. We try to say something positive to ourselves. The problem often encountered here is that we say the positive, the positive does not get reinforced, and then the positive turns and compounds the negative. It is a very scary cycle.
So before one of our Master Class sessions, we were asked to think about a negative thought. It was open to anything that might have crept up, been stuck in, or been embedded in our minds. We were given the opportunity to re-frame that thought into a positive statement. Oh the many uses of PostIt Notes :). So you’ve probably all done that part before. Where the change came, was that we left that note at the top of our mat throughout the entire practice. Every time we found ourselves going down to the mat, each person saw a beautiful note written by a beautiful person. As we’d lower from our plank during Sun A, the note would be there. As we’d move from upward facing dog to downward facing dog, the would be there.
Just as the movie Inception thoroughly discusses how the body perceives thoughts and dreams, the body needs to feel that it is a part of the process. A thought is easily dismissed when it is not reinforced in some capacity. Each student was given the opportunity to take their thought and connect it to their pranayama (breath), asanas (movement), and soul. It was beautiful to watch.
Accentuate the Positive
“When bound by negative thoughts, opposite ones should be cultivated.”
When we feel emotionally wounded, affirmations, along with postures, pranayamas, and visualizations, can speed the healing process. “Emotions are patterns of energy. When energy patterns get reinforced, over time they become very strong and difficult to dislodge or even recognize.”
“Tension is a result of blockages in our energy flow caused by emotional reactions to life.” If suffering is obstructed space, then it makes sense that when you begin to relax and dissolve those obstructions, you are more in the flow of life.
We may be able to temporarily manipulate our mood with our affirmations to create a happy, even blissed-out state of mind, but it is likely to be a premature transcendence. “Positive thinking can even be a source of depression. The more you try to force that positive thought, the negative thought goes deep somewhere inside you.”
Poet and Essayist Lucy Grealy could not confront the belief that she was ugly by telling herself she was beautiful. When she was nine, she had a virulent form of cancer that destroyed her jaw and severely disfigured her face. Despite numerous operations, the structure of her face was never returned to her. Lucy believed she had an ugly face. You could not tell her she was beautiful, because she wasn’t. Her mind was elegant, her wit was wry, and the beauty of her spirit soared on the written page. Lucy was only thirty-nine when she died at the end of 2002 of a drug overdose.
“I can’t say whether Yoga might have made a difference in Lucy’s life. Perhaps it’s some form of hubris on my part to wish that she had been in my class. I wish I had had the opportunity to ask Lucky to close her eyes and dive beneath her physical body, her emotional body, home to the ground of her being, where she was whole and beautiful. It might not have saved her life, but I wish I had told her how beautiful she was beneath her ravaged face. She might have dismissed my compliment if I’d said it in a classroom or over lunch, or even on the dance floor. But if she were in the flow, mind absorbed, body relaxed, awake to her energy in a Yoga pose, for that moment, on her Yoga mat, she might have believed me.”
BOOK – “Yoga for Depression” by Amy Weintrab