I spend my days, in my office, working with people to shift their thinking from negative to positive. I try to live the positive mind philosophy in my personal life but I can also struggle with it. Here is a great example of how I implement the shift in my personal life.
I have been an active and regular exerciser most of my life. I always avoided yoga because I assumed it wasn’t fast enough for me or wasn’t a hard-enough workout. I had been a runner for years. I tried yoga a couple of times when a friend encouraged me, in Ketchikan Alaska, and found my beliefs about it not being for me to be true.
When I came to St Augustine I became friends with a woman, Karen, who is excellent at yoga. I decided to try it again. This time my assumptions were wrong! I was introduced to Jules, who is a Kick A#! yoga instructor. Throw any beliefs about yoga being too easy or too slow out the window when you attend her class. When I began I could barely hold the Down Dog, which Jules had us do what seemed like 500 times during the hour. By the end of the hour my wrists were aching, I was a sweaty mess, and I was exhausted. However, I was relaxed and calm, something I was not normally so this was a positive. I continued to attend Jules’ class, twice a week, and have been for the last two years.
You may be wondering, “Melissa, you must be really good at Yoga by now”. Actually, I am not…YET…. but I have made a ton of progress. My wrists do not ache at the end of what still seems like 500 Downward Dogs. I am still sweaty but more importantly, I am calm, relaxed, and refocused after each class.
For some reason I always have trouble with balance. Jules does a significant amount of poses which are focused on good balance. (Think Tree Pose with different twists and turns.)
Try as I might but a lot of the time I can’t hold the balance pose until Jules ends it. Previously I would focus on telling myself “You probably won’t be able to hold the pose but try”. Or “My balance sucks”. Sure enough, when telling myself these negative based thoughts I would fall out of the balancing pose quickly. At some point I had a talk with myself, “Melissa, you preach positivity and positive thought to all your clients, all of the time and now you aren’t doing it”. At that point I began to tell myself, when in a balancing pose, “You can do it” over and over. Wow! A shift in my thinking from negative to positive and I was holding the poses longer! I was practicing what I preached and it worked!
There is a plethora of new information on childhood trauma being the root of so many physical and mental issues. Studies show practicing yoga or meditation is a sure way to calm the overactive alarm system in our brains. I recommend it often for my clients. I now know, personally, the benefits of relaxing and quieting the mind and I recommend you all try it.
Two years into yoga I have improved but am still stuck on trying for that consistent Head Stand. With my own and Jules’ positive encouragement I know I will get there soon. What I have learned from Yoga is to not assume my beliefs are true. Ask or try new situations before assuming. Shift your thinking from negative to positive and be your own cheerleader. You may surprise yourself and enlighten your life!