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The 3 step approach to a positive attitude

By Arun Goel

The essence of yoga is to be positive in any situation that we find ourselves in.

When we are positive, we find that our interactions with the world and ourselves become brighter, more productive and perpetuate the ‘feel good’ factor. This in turn makes us healthier and more peaceful.

But how do we develop this positivism. The answer can be found in ‘Attitudinal’ Yoga.

According to this concept of yoga, the path to a positive attitude can be found through a 3-step approach, namely,
 

  • Awareness
  • Acceptance; and
  • Attitude


Let us examine these three components:

Awareness:

The first step is to be aware of what and how we are thinking. We must train ourselves to be aware at all times of how our mind is working – the thoughts, thinking patterns and tendencies. Make this a habit. If it is difficult, the meditation technique of antar mouna and Yoga Nidra are methods which help us do this. These techniques help in the withdrawing of our senses to introspect.

Acceptance:

Awareness, however, brings about a heightened sensitivity to the issues. We tend to become judgemental and critical of ourselves or of others. This has the danger of sending us into a vicious cycle of negativity UNLESS we learn to accept what we see and understand.

Have an attitude that “it is ok” to think how we are. Just be a witness to this fact and believe that God likes us for what we are. This acceptance leads to a genuine love and compassion, which forms the bedrock of positive thinking.

For example, if you are angry with your partner for not doing something as per your wishes, accept that it is natural for you to face such emotions. Accept that it is because of certain archetypes or ‘samskaras’ that lie embedded in your subconscious. Likewise, accept that it is okay for your partner to behave that way, which is based on his perception and the elements embedded in his subconscious.

With practice, you will find that this helps in surmounting negativity to a large extent.

Attitude:

Once we have accepted what lies within our thoughts, we can actually start working upon how we ‘want’ to look at that particular person, situation or thing. Yoga techniques assist us in changing our attitude. The ‘Sankalpa’ or resolve that we set in Yoga Nidra helps in shaping our mind. This resolve in yoga is always in the nature of a positive statement – such as “I am becoming more positive every day”. Such inputs fed into the mind help in shaping our attitude into one of positivism.

Let us look at changing attitude with the following example. Suppose you have a negative attitude toward someone. So much so that he puts you in a bad mood the moment you see him. For a moment, find just one small thing or quality in him that you do like. Now remember that one positive thing whenever you meet or interact with him. Gradually, you will see that your feelings towards him will become more positive and things start looking up.

Following these three guidelines and you will find yourself becoming more positive. Remember that every thought generated in the mind is also experienced by every cell in the body. That is why on a ‘good’ day you feel yourself exercising better with more flexibility, while on a ‘bad’ day you feel stiff and lethargic.

Ultimately, positive thinking affects the body vibrations in a positive manner. This in turn, affects the vibrations around us, which, in turn, affect the situations around us. This helps in relieving our suffering and leading a harmonious life.

 
Related Pages

This article is based on my understanding and interpretation of the works of Swami Yogaratna Saraswati through his article ‘The Three A’s of Yoga’ appearing in Yoga magazine of Sivananda Math, Munger, Bihar, India – Year 2, Issue 1.


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