Assessing Self-Talk
Avoiding Try
Understanding Negatives
How can you use these to improve your practise? I've been practising yoga for several years now and perhaps some of the biggest gains I've found have not been in my physical training, but rather in my mental training. By working on training my mind, I've allowed my body to follow. In fact, my personal philosophy is "train the mind, and the body will follow™".

So what does this mean? And how exactly can you improve your yoga practise by assessing self-talk, avoiding 'try' and understanding negatives?

Assessing Self-talk

Have you ever suffered from self-talk? I'm betting yes - as everyone does. In fact, that's often why people turn to disciplines such as meditation and yoga in the first place. But do you also realise just how much your self-talk can affect you and your practice?

We are constantly having an internal dialogue with ourselves and for many people, a large part of the dialogue is destructive. Have you ever tried to get into a pose and thought:

"Darn it, I've been trying this for 6 months now, why can't I do it?"

Well, what would happen if instead of saying something like that, you said something like:

"How can I change what I'm doing to get it better next time?"

They still conclude with the same thing i.e. that you can't do it. The first one though will get your mind off searching for reasons why you can't do it, whereas the second will get you searching for ways to improve.

And how about when it's true, that you can't do it. Here's a little tip for you. Just add the word "yet" to the end of the sentence. Why? Well, because when you add that it presupposes that you will be able to do it in the future. This sends a very different signal to your brain. And there are others ways to also still say that you can't do something but make it more positive and constructive. For example

"I can't do this ______ - yet"
"I'm working towards doing ________"
"I'm in training to be able to do ________ by _______"
"I'm building up my strength to be able to do ______ by next month"

They are all saying the same thing, but in a very different way to before - which would not help with improving your practice.

Avoiding Try

Another habit to get out of when using language - either in your head or out loud, is to eliminate using the word "try". Why? Well, it implies lots of effort with very little reward.

Can you "try" and do anything?

Go ahead and try and pick up your phone. No, don't pick it up. Try and pick it up. No, that's straining and still not picking it up. Think about it. If you're having a party and your friend says that they'll try and make it. Do you think they're going to come?

So when your teacher wants you to do a new posture and you say to them - I'll give it a try. What message will that send to your brain? That it's not expecting to succeed. Sure, you might not be able to do it (yet), but you have a lot more chance of succeeding when you say "Yep, I'm going to do that" rather than I weak "OK, I'll give it a try".

Practise for the next week observing whenever you or anyone else uses the word "try" and make your own mind up about this one.

Understanding Negatives

Here's a little tip for all you teachers out there. A very simple tip is to move towards using positive language in your classes to your students.

Instead of saying things like

"Don't wobble"
"Don't bend your back"
"Don't let your knees touch the ground"

Use phrases such as

"Remain strong"
"Keep your back straight"
"Keep your knees up/in the air"


Well, the brain (or unconscious part of it anyway) - doesn't process negatives. How do you mean, I hear you ask. Well, how about a little experiment. I want you to think of something, anything but whatever you, do not think of a blue elephant. Go on, think of anything but not a blue elephant, whatever you do, DO NOT think of a blue elephant. I said think of something but NOT a blue elephant. Have you done it? Yes? No? Well, in order to not think of a blue elephant, you had to first (even for a micro-split second) get an image/thought of one in the first place. Whereas, had I asked you to think of a red Ferrari, you wouldn't be thinking of a blue elephant.

Even in schools, teachers are now told to tell students to "walk" rather than "don't run" - because where does that put the focus? On the "running" of course. I mentioned this use of positives to my teacher a couple of years ago and he's since become very adept at making the language he uses positive and believes it's made a difference to how the students respond.

So there were just a few simple tips for you to improve your practice and teaching. I could go on for pages on language - and in fact I do, in my book - "The Thought Gym", where I delve deeper into both this subject and many more on how you can "train the mind, so the body will follow™". Give these three tips a go and notice the improvements in your yoga practice.

Author's Bio: 

Harry Master is a professional writer and usually write on trending topics. He has 4 years experienced in this field.