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!!!
“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.