By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Embedding the essential components of positive psychology principles, into your Yoga practice, will greatly enhance the beneficial aspects of both disciplines. One of the primary components of positive psychology is self-knowledge. Knowing one’s self sounds easy on the surface, but how many people invest their time in looking within? Self-knowledge is a major component in Jnana Yoga.
Self-Knowledge is one of the beginning points for identifying the core life values of an individual. As you engage in this process, you may want to ask yourself, what do I truly hold dear to my heart and why? What is my natural code of ethics? Given the opportunity, what would I like to contribute to my family, friends, and community?
These are some of the questions you may ask yourself, as you begin a process of self-inquiry, in order to gain self-knowledge about your own unique talents and skills. You may also want to consider what really makes your heart sing. What makes you truly happy and fulfilled? You may love to write, draw, dance, or teach Yoga. You may also love to spend time in nature, or you may be the happiest, when you are volunteering to help those who are less fortunate.
One of the keys to uplifting your heart and mind, through the practice of positive psychology, is to focus on your strengths and not on your weaknesses. In other words, instead of mentally dwelling on the fact that you may love to draw beautiful pictures, but you really do not want to volunteer at the local food bank, focus on the gift of your artistic ability, and how you can offer to donate some drawings to a local school or community center.
In the context of the physical practice of Yoga asanas, continue to build on your current level of strength and flexibility, in a compassionate and patient manner. While practicing Yoga, also witness your thoughts. When you find that you are engaging in negative and anxious thinking, stop and refocus your attention on the rich blessings that surround you. Remember to honor your successes, and your successes will continue to grow and blossom.
A Yogic lifestyle and positive psychology is a powerful combination, which enables a practitioner to channel energy in a positive way. Many people prevent their own happiness by investing too much time in states of self-criticism for past mistakes.
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