Does Practicing Yoga Make You a Good Person?
Seven tools for becoming magnificent
I know most of you are answering an emphatic, “No! Yoga does not make you a good person.” What is the definition of a good person anyway? If feeling good about taking care of yourself both internally and externally, feeling peaceful and feeling good about the decisions you make for yourself is what helps you feel like a good person, then I say the answer is a resounding, “Yes”!
Keeping the negative ego at bay is part of the challenge of yoga. That’s why we practice. It is most beneficial if yoga is practiced at least once daily. Otherwise the negativity surrounding us, the images that could impact our self-esteem and the pressures of life, can root in us and grow. Just like weeding your garden, if your yoga practice is regularly tended to, those “roots” don’t make a strong hold and grow and spread. Below are helpful practices to help you weed your garden!
Here are 7 things you can do daily to keep your mind clear and your heart open:
1. Recite a Mantra. Find a good one. It should be simple and define your true nature. It should point you in the direction of your dreams like a lantern in the dark. This mantra can be recited anytime to train the mind NOT to go into negativity or despair. (You may have to post it around the house in obvious places at first).
2. Move! The first thing we tend to do when we start feeling low is to withdraw into our shell. The breakdown of energy flow when sitting or slouching can lead do a downward spiral, resulting in pain, depression…even illness. When the body moves, it’s happier! When we breathe deeply, we oxygenate the system, which does more for our health than any other remedy we undertake. When added to movement, its value increases exponentially.
3. Have a Buddy. Have someone to reinforce the work you are doing to change your old pattern(s). Make sure the person you call is supportive but will also be honest and hold you accountable. They will be simultaneously like a lantern--pointing you toward your dream, and a mirror—reflecting your kind nature.
4. Be the Director, Not the Actor. When something happens, instead of saying, “Oh, no, this happened to me and now I am suffering”. Say, “Because this happened, now I am free to explore that and this is what I am going to learn from this experience”. The goal is to change the polarity from negative to positive. Yes, you are the director of the movie! YOU generate the thought that carries the emotion that is projected onto the screen. If the screen before you is a drama or tragedy, YOU as the director need to call “CUT!” Take a moment and redirect the scene in front of you.
5. Practice Hatha Yoga. “Hatha" is the broad umbrella of yoga that encompasses any style of yoga that requires movement. (Make sure to find one that’s right for you). There is more to this practice than merely gaining strength and flexibility. Practicing Hatha Yoga provides a mechanism for Self-discovery. It helps us turn inward and become radically tuned into the body’s messages. Learning to listen to what the body is saying while you are moving and breathing is key. That’s why it is important to be quiet and “tune in” in yoga class. Yes, have fun, but remember, talking takes you outside your Self.
6. Release Judgment. Opinions are easy to express, especially with the onset of social media. Our tendency is to recruit others to our way of thinking. What if, again, you could turn it around and instead of giving your viewpoint, try to understand another’s? You don’t have to buy into it. You don’t have to agree or change your mind. Doing this will help you to release judgment with ease.
7. Support with Nutrition. Give your body what it needs and deserves in order to perform the tasks at hand. Discover what foods are “trigger foods” for negative emotions and can consequently cause pain in the body. (You may have to keep a food journal). Keep studying, talk with a nutritionist, look for clues. Your body is telling you what it needs. At first, you may crave what is not good for you, i.e.; sugar, alcohol, etc. But once you’ve trained your body well, you will only crave what you need. This is how the body communicates to you with your refined listening skills.
These are just 7 of the many ways you can clear your mind and open your heart. For a more personalized practice, set up a one-on-one or group session with Debbie by calling Intuitive Development at (602) 621-4027.