Change your mind

I was sifting through a stack of articles when I rediscovered one from Yoga Journal, called  Begin Again by Mirka Scalco Kraftsow. It covers several strategies to help guide one to new beginnings.

One section of the article brings a yoga perspective to cognitive reframing. This is a tool that can help us change unhealthy behaviors or thoughts to a different, more positive path. The exercise is based on a practice mentioned in the Yoga Sutras called Pratipaksha Bhavana.

Sutra 2.33 is a translated here by Nischala Joy Devi:”When presented with disquieting thoughts or feelings, cultivate an opposite, elevated attitude. This is Pratipaksha Bhavana.”

Here is a summary of the four steps from the article:

“1. Take a deep breath. Name the problem … Only when you are aware of your unconscious patterns can you choose a different thought or course of action.

2. Remind yourself that it’s OK to make mistakes. … [Adopt] an attitude of loving-kindness toward yourself.

3. Express gratitude toward yourself for noticing the behavior and for being aware of its unpleasant effect … Be grateful that you want to make a positive change and that you are choosing to be more caring toward yourself and others.

4. Finally, let your desire to create better habits direct your vital force toward thoughts and actions that truly serve you—and choose your next steps consciously.”

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