Harness the power of self-talk in your yoga practice and life
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right” Henry Ford.
Everyday within the world of biology, psychology and quantum physics; more and more evidence is discovered around the power of self-talk. Experiments dealing with plants and human cells are unearthing evidence that each of our cells has its own consciousness and that consciousness is heavily influenced by our thoughts and emotions.
The power to achieve or succeed then is directly related to the way we think and perceive challenges. We witness the power of this self-talk in yoga classes all the time. Often before a yoga instructor gives the entire posture instructions someone (or even a few students) will say out loud ¨Ahh, I can’t do that¨. Self-messages like this interrupt the flow of potential energy. If our cells (and classmates) are listening at some level we freeze, lock down, and prepare for disaster. Our human machine and bio-chemical systems are set up to ensure our survival. Even the smallest hint of danger kicks our nervous system into protective gear and our systems do whatever they can to keep us safe. This can mean buying into the self-defeating messages you are sending your body, mind, and spirit. On top of that those around you are developing their perception of you based on your words and actions. With every phrase you mutter you etch your imprint upon reality. Practicing mindfulness of thoughts increases our awareness of this self-talk.
The personal transformation work in yoga goes beyond the mat. The ancient scriptures or sutras that surround the physical practice of yoga speak of disintegrating the ego and living courageously from the heart. For it is the negative manipulations of the ego that can prohibit our spiritual growth. Yoga is a personal and experiential journey toward self-realization. Teachers and gurus provide light in order to see the path, but only the student can take the steps.
Our thoughts influence our speech, action and character. They are the stars by which we navigate this mysterious journey of life. Think wisely, be full of care when you create new markers within the heavens of your consciousness. Watch the messages you send your cells and influence your surroundings. For many of the messages we send our ‘self’ we would never tolerate if they came from friend, lover or family.
So, start again. As if you could meet yourself again for the first time… talk and treat yourself as if you are a well deserving friend. Like, another awkward human upon this earth trying to make it through another day.
Then increase your curiosity. Rather than assume you can’t and trigger a negative message, prepare to surprise yourself and wonder “IF”. Whether in yoga or facing any other challenges wonder “WHAT” you may experience or learn from trying. And finally, redefine success as a journey not a fixed point destination. Success comes in many packages of all sizes and has an unmistakable sensation that leaves you feeling triumphant and wanting more….
Practice yoga, challenge yourself and experience the rewards of a journey with no end. The following practice invites challenge and inspires growth.
Previous experience with downward facing dog and crane/crow is recommended. Begin this practice warmed up; either through rounds of sun salutation or several breaths in down dog and crow.
Start with your yoga mat perpendicular to the wall. Sit with your back against the wall, legs out straight in front of you. Wiggle your heels into the mat to create a heel mark. Then rise from your seated position and place the ‘heel’ of your hand where the ‘heel’ of your foot use to be. Press up and back into a compressed version downward facing dog. From here, raise one leg at a time, forming a 90 degree angle at the hips. Work shoulders over wrists and heart towards wall. Once the mind is steady in this posture work to raise one leg at a time to 180 degree or full inverted handstand. Keep one leg at the wall until you are able to hold yourself and focus your breath easily. You might need to practice this regularly for a week, month or a year – listen to your body, and harness the positive power of your self-talk. The practice of handstands increase immunity, circulation and enhances self-confidence.
The mental and physical preparation for this position are just as important as the actual inversion. Spend time cultivating the necessary strength of body and mind by including dolphin push-ups in your daily practice. Dolphin push-ups (see the photo) start in fore-arm plank pose. Interlace hands together keeping pinky fingers extended. Then move from downward facing dog to low plank pose, from core center, move the heart to over your hands then back to facing your thighs. Repeat until your arms feel tired or sore.
Read more about our yoga retreats in Spain here.
To end this practice, spend time in child’s pose, with your forehead on the earth listening to the mumblings of your heart. For through yoga we glimpse with awe and wonder the miraculous-ness of our ‘self’.
May you experience a brilliant, rewarding, nourishing life, Namaste.
About the author
- Loves all types of yoga, including Hatha, partner yoga and laughter! Passionate about natural approaches to health