Yoga is more than just an activity you can do to tone up and lose weight. Yogic techniques are used by many across the globe to change the way they act and think. Negative thoughts are banished and positive thoughts are generated. You calm yourself with your own breathing and connect with your body by engaging every muscle. Yogic techniques can help to shape your life. We’re here to show you how to put them to use and truly put mind over matter.
The first step to mastering yogic techniques is to practice breathing and meditation. You would be surprised at how many types of breathing expert yogis use, from alternate nostril breathing to rhythmic breathing. For a beginner, we recommend a simple deep breath in, followed by a deep breath out.
Sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Straighten your spine and put your hands on your knees. Close your eyes and start breathing deeply. Try to focus on your breathing, feeling the air as it rushes into your body then out again. Let it soothe you. Make every breath count. Once you have settled your mind and body, you can turn your thoughts to your life and your experiences.
The next step in harnessing yogic techniques is to get rid of the negativity in your life. Think about the areas in your life which bring you unhappiness and try to take a step back from them. Most negative aspects of our lives are only made worse because we worry, or then get angry or sad about them. We get stuck in certain thought patterns, focusing on the same negative thoughts, turning them over and over in our minds. Our unhappiness only makes us unhappier. It’s time to cast these negative thoughts aside.
Many people find mental aides useful, such as imagining putting this negativity in a box. This isn’t a matter of ignoring your problems, but simply taking the time to catch negative thoughts as they arrive. Address them. Examine them. Ask yourself whether holding onto your negativity will benefit your life in any way. Choose to let it go. As you are sitting and breathing, try to shift your thoughts away from negativity and towards positivity.
Being mindful is about living in the moment. Take a step back and appreciate your life. In moments of yogic meditation settle yourself into contentment. Think about the aspects of your life that bring you joy and be grateful for them. Think about your family and friends and why you love them. Think about yourself and what you have done recently to make yourself proud. Think about what you have seen and experienced recently and take the time to go over the good and beautiful, committing it to memory.
For the aspects of your life you are less grateful, try and find good things about them. For example, if you didn’t get a job you interviewed for, rather than thinking you weren’t good enough, try to think that the role wasn’t the one for you, and not getting this job leaves you open to a better one. Rather than being envious of your friends possessions or lives, be grateful that they are finding joy. Use your feelings of discontent to try and figure out how to change your own life.
Many people find it useful to have a mantra that they repeat to themselves when negative thoughts arise. Self-doubt and self-depreciation can be our biggest flaws – when you start thinking in this way, instead repeat to yourself ‘I am smart. I am important. I am worth it.’ Feel free to make up your own mantra to counteract your own self-doubts.
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It may be a helpful exercise to sit down for a session of yogic breathing at the end of each day, helping to unpack your thoughts, calm you and find contentment. Use it to help you remember good times. Alleviate your mood with yogic techniques.
You can even turn your life around with yogic techniques. If you find that life isn’t going your way, it can help you to ask yourself both ‘why’ and ‘what can I do to change it’. Instead of envying your friends, ask yourself how you can get what they have too. A lot of people will find that their negativity comes from dwelling on the past – change this by looking to the future instead.
When you are finished meditating and breathing, use your reprogrammed mind to make your life better for yourself. Keep casting out negativity and bringing in positivity. Learn to see beauty in everything. Make a list of goals and ambitions, and start thinking about what you can do to actually make them happen.
If you want to take on further yogic techniques, there are plenty of breathing exercises you can practice. The aim of doing these breathing exercises is to relieve tension. By forcing your mind to focus on your breath, it can help to quieten your brain and help you cast away negative thoughts. For example the ‘breath of fire’ involves you taking a gentle breath in then letting it out through your nose in short, powerful bursts.
Three-part breathing has you place one hand on your tummy, the other on your chest, and practicing breathing all the way through your abdomen. While inhaling, first fill your upper chest, then your lower ribs, then your belly. Feel how the air expands your body. Exhale in the opposite direction, first deflating your tummy, then your ribs, then your upper chest. This method is great for relaxation.
Adopting a yogic lifestyle can change your life. It can help you to be more mindful and become a more positive person. Connect your mind and body in order to take control over your negative thoughts. Banish them and you will have the power to shape your life. Yogic techniques can be a springboard for you to create goals for yourself, changing your future and letting go of your past. Try it for yourself and see what you can achieve.
EHI Primary Care is run by Cathy, a 20-something fitness guru and yoga enthusiast. This is my blog, where I cover all sorts of topics around my healthy lifestyle.