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The Power of Positive Thinking

Updated: Nov 12, 2022

One of my favorite of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is, “Vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam” which translates to, “when disturbed by negative thoughts, opposite ones should be thought of.” [Sutra 2.33-34]

First, it’s just really fun to say (you can learn how to pronounce it HERE), but more importantly, it is a very effective tool to use when you find yourself in the midst of mental or emotional turbulence. We all experience times when negative thoughts and feelings continually play on a loop. These harmful patterns can disrupt our sense of peace, calm and ease. When in this turbulent place, Patanjali advises us to cultivate an opposite thought or emotion. It is, quite simply, the practice of shifting one’s perspective from negative to positive.

This may seem a bit basic, however, it is the simplicity of the practice that allows it to be so effective, especially when practiced on a regular basis. As simple as this seems, it can be challenging to cultivate an opposite or positive thought when we feel stuck in a negative place.

Having a favorite mantra at the ready can be really useful. When you notice the negative pattern, but find yourself unable to shift your attitude or perspective, take a few deep breaths and repeat your favorite mantra to yourself. Below are a few of my favorites.

• I am enough

• I choose calm and ease

• I am blessed

• I let go of anything not for my highest good

When we train ourselves to notice and acknowledge painful and destructive patterns, we can then pause and instead choose to move our thoughts to a place that is peaceful, calm and loving. This habit of cultivating the opposite is ultimately about changing our attitude towards a thought or situation that makes us unhappy or brings discomfort and finding a way to be at peace in the midst of this discomfort.

Pratipaksha Bhavanam is a powerful tool that reminds us that we are ultimately in control of our thoughts and our attitude. Give it a try and see if it helps you to cultivate more calm and ease in your life.

Shared by Jenn Cheatle. Jenn is a beloved teacher at The Space. You can experience her kind and loving nature in Healing Flow, Healing Hatha, Healing Yin and Private Yoga.

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