By Claire Diab and Dennis Boyle
“Yoga” is a Sanskrit word meaning “union.” Yoga is the union of your body, mind, and spirit. These are three aspects of who you are. We have a body that allows us to enjoy this life and to go from place to place. We have a mind that helps us make decisions and allows us to be creative and open to new ideas and thoughts. And we have a beautiful spirit that shines through our eyes. Through our daily yoga practice, we aim to achieve this union between our body, mind, and spirit, and it is equally important to nourish our minds just as much as bodies.
Through a practice of active visualization, it is possible to create an inner calm and confidence that will help keep the mind less hectic, even when what is on the outside may not be as calm. To create an inner confidence, one positive practice to adopt is reciting daily affirmations. Feeling good about ourselves is achieved not only through the physical activity related to your yoga practice. Of course, the physical activity plays a main role, as it has been proven time and again that exercise releases hormones called endorphins, which help to create overall happiness. It is also important to be able to maintain a positive view of yourself.
Begin by taking a few moments every day–the perfect time may be just after your morning meditation–to list three to five positive things you think about yourself. Planting these positive seeds in your mind at the beginning of the day can easily help you to believe that they are true. What you think you create and what you think, you become. Repeat silently: I am Strong, I am Healthy. Especially taking the time after meditation, when your mind has just been thoroughly cleared, to recite some positive words to yourself can help you visualize your best self and carry yourself tall through the day. Follow up by expressing gratitude for all that you have, like your beautiful body, your heart that beats, and your lungs that breathe. This daily practice of visualizing yourself healthy and happy will make you feel better and build your self-confidence!
Claire Diab is an internationally recognized Yoga therapist. She is the director of the Yoga Program for the Chopra Center founded by Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. David Simon. She is an adjunct professor of Asian Studies at Seton Hall University. She is the author of several books and DVDs on Yoga including “Yoga For Firefighters.”
Dennis Boyle is a retired fire director and acting chief with the West Orange (NJ) Fire Department. He was the recipient of the 1999 New Jersey Deputy Fire Chiefs “Fire Officer of the Year” award.