BY: TRISHA CURLING
When I decided that enough was enough and that I needed to get healthy again, it wasn’t just a need to get healthy in my body. It came from a huge need to get healthy in my mind too. See, I had been suffering and was in such deep pain physically and emotionally from the loss of my brother, that it was very hard for a very long time to see a lot of the goodness that still surrounded me. I had a very good friend at the time that took me to a bookstore and told me all about Louise Hay. If you aren’t familiar with her, then I highly recommend you look her up! She advised me to get her book called You Can Heal Your Life. I was ready and open to anything, or so I thought at the time.
I actually read and enjoyed the book. I was also very open to and believed her ideas about gratitude and affirmations and how incorporating these things worked to change your life, but I didn’t put it into practice, not in the way the Hay advises you to do so. When I was actually ready to make the changes mental and physical, I started with this book. It helped me to understand that once I made a positive impact on my mental health, my physical would change that much easier too. I read the book again, while I was working my physical body through weight training and yoga. This time, I took more action and exercised my mind the way Louise Hay describes in her book.
As I practiced yoga, I also began to see the marriage between the two. Affirmations and yoga, do go hand in hand. Each class as I developed my practice I learned that I had to be positive and tell myself that I was capable, not just capable of “achieving a pose”, but also capable of being more present and content with my current state at all times. I also learned that it did not mean that I would feel like that all of the time, but by exercising my mind to have more thoughts of gratitude and speaking with positivity about myself, that I would definitely feel that way much more often.
In the book, Hay teaches you that it’s not just about being grateful and about “doing your affirmations” but that there are actual ways in which to practice it. One of the key ways is writing your affirmations down. Not only writing them down but writing in them in the present tense. She talks about writing and saying the things that you want in your life as if you already have them. Some examples might be “I am healthy, strong and injury free”, or “I have time and energy to pursue all of my passions.” This can also be part of your yoga practice. Depending on the style you practice or class you take, it is not uncommon to choose an intention at the beginning of your class. Setting an intention like, “I am calm, still, and have peace of mind”, helps you to come back to this at challenging points in the practice, similar to challenging points in life when you draw upon your positive affirmations in order to direct the energy and course of your life the way that you want it to go. It helps to steer away from negativity.
Doing this in your yoga practice simply allows you to “exercise” the muscles of your mind so that it may translate into “exercising” them in other areas of your life too.