The quality of your life depends directly on the state of your mind. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if when life throws you curve balls, instead of getting bogged down with uncertainties and questions, you could bounce back fighting stronger than ever? Most of us do manage to do this, in varying degrees, almost every day, but sometimes, it seems like our minds are infested with those annoying “can’ts” and “won’ts” and “maybe not”s . So how can we learn to spend more of our time thinking, “Yes, we can!”?
Yoga has a unique approach to the state of doubt. Doubt is just a lack of prana – the vital life force or energy. We gain prana from four sources – food, sleep, breath and meditation. So yogis, who are very smart doubt-busters, include plenty of these sources in their lives. When you start to sense a slight negative attitude in your thoughts, just get up and do something to increase your prana!
It takes some practice to catch oneself before a negative train of thought goes past a couple of stations, but this simple plan works!
Here’s my anti doubt regimen:
- Yoga stretches: Yoga is very relaxing, and it takes away my attention from my thoughts and focuses it on my breath. Some standing and sitting stretches bring me to my present sensations and feelings, and my anxieties about the future drop.
- Suryanamaskar (Sun salutations): This series of asanas (postures) is yoga’s invocation to the Sun, which fills our lives with light and warmth, and dispels any ignorance.
- Padmasadhana: This potent yoga technique I learnt in the YES!+ course gets rid of my restlessness and two rounds of it are equivalent to a day at the spa. Padmasadhana is accompanied by Ujjayi breath, which in Sanskrit translates to ‘the victory breath’. A few minutes of ujjayi breathing always gives me a sense of valor and triumph.
- Go to sleep. If you get enough sleep at night, there is no wrong side of the bed to get up on.
- Eat a fresh, juicy apple! You really are what you eat. Personally I find that pizza, ice cream and cookies leave me feeling lethargic, and salads and soups are energizing.
- Doubt is always about something that is positive. We seldom question our weaknesses. We rarely say to our enemies, “Are you sure you hate me?” So when I catch myself in a state of doubt, I recognize that there is something positive in my life, and am grateful for it.
Soon enough, you will see a difference and will be able to maintain a high level of prana. Incorporate yoga and pranayama and cut down on prana-decreasing activities such as spending hours watching television. The choice is yours! Have a high prana day!