Tag Archives: attitude

Develop a Positive Attitude with Yoga

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…

1.    Awareness:

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.

2.    Acceptance:

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.

3.    Attitude:

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

The Importance of Attitude & Yoga Practice

Attitude applies to the way we express or “carry” ourselves. How interesting that it is derived from the Latin word for ‘fit’, and from the French word “attitudine” which means “position” or “posture”. How ‘fitting’ this word is for Yoga practice, because in yoga (as in life), much of a person’s attitude is carried in their posture.

A good teacher can easily encourage students to adapt a positive attitude. From a Yoga perspective, proper attitude is established by observing the yamas (the do-nots) and the niyamas (the dos) from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras’ “Eight-Fold Path”. These observances lead students towards a non-harming, non-grasping, focused Yoga practice and harmonious lifestyle. One of the main things that yoga students need to be reminded of is that a posture (asana) is not about perfect results but about total effort. Remaining in touch with your body while putting in the right amount of effort so that each asana challenges you, while at the same time, respects your needs and avoids the risk of injury is the key attitude to developing a balanced practice.

Equally importantly in a Yoga class is the teacher’s attitude, because this sets the tone and the pace for the entire session.  When teachers realize that the way they carry themselves is the first thing students will notice as they come into the studio, then their body language can be a simple yet powerful tool that will create an atmosphere of trust and confidence for their students.

A teacher’s attitude is mostly a reflection of their history and personal approach to Yoga; is their attitude serious or playful, strict or accommodating, or is it somewhere in between? Quite possibly, the most important thing for a teacher to consider is whether or not they are acting according to the basic principles of Yoga. Beware of teachers that are teaching from their ego; ask yourself, are they seeking acclaim or admiration from their students? The best, most effective and respected teachers instruct in a way that knowledge can be channeled through you, without insisting you imitate them.

The Importance of Attitude & Yoga PracticeDevelop “Yogatude”, a yoga attitude…

One of the most important factors in your practice of yoga is not about your physical alignment but your mental alignment…your “yogatude”. A well aligned yogatude demands a high degree of acceptance and humility. These are traits that can be difficult to cultivate in the social setting of a class. For many students it’s easy to be hard on themselves if they’re the only one who can’t do a pose properly, or to beat themselves up if they’re the one needing the most props to do it. It’s also easy to be tempted into indulging feelings of superiority when you’re able to go deeper into a pose than anyone else.

A useful approach is to be nonjudgmental about yourself and/or others and to nurture one of the best attitudes you can possibly cultivate: a “beginner’s mind.” Engage every pose as if it were for your first time, exploring new ways to stand, breathe, and move about. Adapting a beginner’s attitude is an awesome way to “connect” with any asana and keep your yoga practice fresh and exciting, regardless of how many times you have done the same pose.

Final thought… “Suppose somebody looks at you and says, ‘Hey, how come you seem to be super happy today?’ What does that person see? Does the person see your mind? How does he or she know that you are happy? It shows in your body. That means the happiness of the mind immediately is reflected in the body. That is the proof. The same way, if you are unhappy you may be asked, ‘What’s wrong with you? You don’t seem to be happy today.’ So that means every mood immediately gets reflected in the body. Every thought has a say over every molecule of the body. Even though we see the change more visibly in the face, that doesn’t mean other parts of the body are not changed. From head to foot you change. There’s no doubt about it. That is the power of mind.” ~Sri Swami Satchidananda