The healing art of Pratipaksha Bhavana
When disturbed by negative thoughts . Opposite (positive ) ones should be thought of. This is Pratipaksha Bhavana.
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali II-33.
When I studied in India, we were fortunate enough to have the most amazing Swami, Swami Atma. He would come everyday to teach us yoga philosophy. We were like a group of small children having a bed time story red to us, hanging on to his every word.
This is where I fell in love with the Yoga Sutras.
As you may or may not know there are many translations of Patanjali Yoga Sutras. The one that works for me is the translation by Sri swami Satchidananda.
It is important to me to weave these ancient teachings into my sequences, and share these beautiful translations through our physical practice.
So what is Pratipaksha Bhavana teaching us?
We all know how easy it is by having disturbing thoughts, especially those one that we love to spiral out of control. And before we know it, we are telling ourselves a story that has even happened ........ sound familiar? It does to me....
Our thoughts are so powerful , and of course they are linked to the breath and with the emotional body.
Have you ever noticed this within yourself and within your daily life.
You start tell yourself all this negative bullshit, then before you know it, it begins to effect our breathing pattern . the breath become short, rapid, shallow breaths, your heart begins to pump a whole lot faster the bloody pressure rises and what do you know the stress response kicks in.
But here we are being given this simple technique that can stop all of that from taking place.
So here Patanjali is giving us a great tool to use.
Instead of falling down deeply in to the rabbit hole, yes, just like Alice In Wonderland did . We are able to intercept them at that very first step.
As humans we need to understand that we it is within our human nature to have these negative thoughts and so when this does occur, I feel it is also important to give that thought some space, rather than judging ourselves harshly adding more fuel to the fire. So we give this negative thought the space it needs , recognising it, and then coming up with a positive thought.
In this translation of Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Swami Satchidananda says.
Another way to control a negative thought even before the thought over powers us is to think of the after effect . Stop and consider. "What will happen if I allow this thought to continue"
So by inviting in the opposite thought ......
If we are thinking hatred, let us try to invite in love.
If we are fearful let us try to feel courage.
If we are experiencing jealousy let us invite in Compersion
Know that the practice of Pratipaksa Bhavanam is a life long practice.
Like everything is requires patience, discipline, and a whole load of effort on your behalf.
But why not moving forward into 2019 give it a try.
I gave up on New Years resolutions some time ago.....but what i do like to do is try to find these new tools that will help me live my life with more ease and joy.
Let us move forward into 2019 with ease, peace, clarity, love, balance and strength.
From my heart space to yours.