The essence of all yoga practice is to remain positive in any situation that we find ourselves in. By remaining positive, our interactions with ourselves, others and the world at large become brighter, more productive and perpetuate a feeling of self-satisfaction, often referred to as the “feel good factor.” As a result we become healthier and more peaceful.
So how can yoga practice be used to develop this positive disposition? Simple, there’s a 3-step approach:
1 – Awareness
2 – Acceptance
3 – Attitude
Well now, let’s consider these three factors…
We can begin by becoming aware of what we’re thinking and how our thinking process actually works. We systematically train ourselves to be aware at all times of how our mind is working; our thoughts, thinking patterns and tendencies. Practice making this a habit and if it seems difficult, there are two meditation techniques which can be of great help – Antar Mouna and Yoga Nidra. Both these techniques help in the withdrawal of our senses into introspection or silent witnessing.
*Antar Mouna (inner silence meditation) is a pratyahara technique, pratyahara being the first of the four inner limbs of Raja Yoga and deals with the activities of the conscious mind. Antar Mouna is the development of conscious awareness of all thoughts and mental activity. The technique involves creating, transforming and finally gaining control of the entire thought process.
*Yoga Nidra, generally referred to as “Yogic Sleep” is a 4000 year old guided meditation technique that leads to a deep and exquisite state of supreme stillness and insight where the body and mind can restore and rejuvenate. It can enable you to experience unshakeable peace, even during some of the most difficult times.
Ironically, increased awareness brings about a heightened sensitivity to the issues at hand, where we are at risk of becoming too judgmental and critical of both ourselves or of others. This can set the stage for sending us into a vicious cycle of negativity unless we learn to first accept things as they are.
Develop a stance of “it is okay” to simply observe things the way they are, without being obsessively driven to try to change or control them. Just by being a witness of all that arises establishes an attitude of acceptance that leads to genuine love and real compassion, establishing the “bedrock” of positive thinking.
After we have fully accepted what lies within (or behind) our thoughts, we can then start working on how we “choose” to look at any particular situation, person or thing. These yoga techniques are essential in helping us to change our attitude. The Sankalpa (or resolve) that we establish through Antar Mouna and Yoga Nidra assists us in shaping our mind. This resolve in yoga is always takes the form of a positive statement e.g.; “I am becoming more positive every day”. Such positive conditioning when regularly used to fuel the mind will help greatly in shaping a positive attitude.
By regularly practicing these three (awareness, acceptance and attitude), you