Have you ever had a day when you just didn’t feel motivated to work out? Well, a tool I have found to be very effective in just those moments comes from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (sutra 2.33), pratipaksha bhavanam. Simply translated, transformation of negative thoughts in to positive ones. The first key is awareness that the negative thoughts are happening, and the sounds we make are a dead give away. I was working with a long time training client when we came up with the “battle cry”. She was having one of those days we all have from time to time where every movement seems to take a great deal of effort. I began to notice a sound that accompanied just about every other exercise we did. We’ve all heard ourselves making these sounds... Awe (sigh)... Oh no (sigh… Oh man not that exercise!)
Many times it is a bit of a battle to get ourselves to do the things we know will make our days and lives more vital and energized especially when it comes to working with our own bodies. Imagine an instance where it is completely essential to have not only encouraging but supercharged excitement about something we are about to do.
I have a very vivid picture in my mind that helps.
Remember the trailer for movie Brave Heart?
I’ve never actually seen the movie, but I specifically remember the commercial for it. All of the fierce painted faced warriors on the ridge the moment before going in to battle, one they know is going to be the battle of their lives.
I see Mel Gibson standing in front of them, rallying them up
Are you ready??? Let’s do this thing!!! Come on!!!!!! Yeah!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
Now imagine a few of these warriors on the ridge not really tuning in to Mel, but instead speaking amongst themselves. “Awe (sigh)... these aren’t my best fighting tools.”… ”Oh man ... I left my good club at home.” ... “Oh no (sigh)... my shield has this funny crack in it” ... “I really didn’t get enough sleep last night, I wonder when this battle will be over”
How are these warriors going to do in their battle???
Not very good at all!
This example makes it seem ridiculously obvious that these thoughts are not going to be helpful at all.
At the same time, we do it to ourselves time after time after time.
And it keeps us from getting to the goals that are so important for our health and wellbeing. Remember, awareness is the key, so lets catch ourselves when we do the complaining sounds and the excuses and choose a battle cry instead! The mind can only think one thought at a time so let’s make it a positive one. Let’s go!!!
Here is a link to the Mayo Clinic’s ten tips for staying motivated
The mind can think only one thought at a time. Make it a positive one.
Yoga sutra 2.33 pratipaksha bhavanam you have a mental movie depicting each and every next move as being grueling and unpleasant. Is this thought pattern going to be helpful in your efforts? What do you do now? Start a movie where you are carrying out each task courageously and confidently and the chain of negativity will be broken and a stream of positive thoughts will follow.
Lets BE the inspiration we need!!!
DO what’s necessary to get the job done!!!
and we will soon HAVE the results we wish for!!!
Just read an extensive article on super effective cardio on the Dr. Mercola newsletter comparing techniques for working slow twitch, fast twitch and super fast twitch muscle fibers.(endurance versus short burst exercises)
my favorite epiphany came from this quote:
“Children and most animals in the wild do not run marathons or lift weights, they move at high speeds for very short periods of time and then rest. This is natural and what optimizes the production of growth hormone.
The higher your levels of growth hormone, the healthier and stronger you are going to be. And the longer you can keep your body producing higher levels of HGH, the longer you will experience robust health and strength.”
new guidelines recommend 20 minutes three times a week.
A little while ago my good friend Ann shared this story and I thought it was a poignant introduction to the Zen principle of mindful speech. The story gives a great visual aid that shows the profound effect that our words can have on other people and specifically addresses bullying. For both kids and adults, it really made sense to explain bullying this way. Here's the story:
A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stamp on it and really mess it up but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty is was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bully’s another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home. Pass it on or better yet, if you're a parent or a teacher, do it with your child/children.
The thought of maintaining a strong focus on mindful speech as adults came to mind as I read this. It inspired me to suggest a simple experiment. For the next week, slow down a bit in your replies and ask yourself these three questions about your words before you speak them.
1) Is this true?2) Is this kind?3) Is this necessary?
Let us know how it goes!
“Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way we like to dream about. The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don’t get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit. It’s a very tender, non aggressive, open-ended state of affairs.” ~Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
If you have been coming to my yoga classes lately you may have realized that I have been reading this quote from Pema Chodron a little more often as the end of class inspirational reading. It is one of my favorite quotes and I find Pema Chodron so inspiring especially in her point of view during times of transition. You can find a copy of “The Pocket Pema Chodron” that I read from in class here. With the change of our Studio model things have really been in flux and I have drawn much comfort in her words of wisdom.
Frances loves to share her point of view on many topics including: healthy recipes, anatomy studies, any kind of movement practice and fun stories about life in general.