Inspiration for this month’s theme is rooted in the motto of the Special Olympics: “It’s all about attitude!”
Over 50 years ago, a book called The Power of Positive Thinking became an immediate best-seller. The author Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, offered a variety of psychological practices to support the individual in developing a daily optimistic mindset for viewing life’s challenges as opportunities.
Please enjoy the following quotes and excerpts from The Power of Positive Thinking, and perhaps reflect on these principles in your yoga and meditation practice.
1. Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. And hold this picture tenaciously. You can’t ever permit it to fade. Over time your mind will develop this picture, brighten the detail. Never doubt the reality of the mental image, because doing so is dangerous. The mind also tries to complete what it pictures. So always picture “success” no matter how badly things seem to be going at the moment.
2. Whenever a negative thought concerning your personal powers comes into mind, deliberately voice a positive thought to cancel it out.
3. Do not build up obstacles in your imagination. Minimize every so-called obstacle. Difficulties must be studied and efficiently dealt with to be eliminated, but they must be seen only for what they are. They must not be inflated by fear thoughts.
4. Do not be awestruck by other people and try to copy them. Nobody can be you as efficiently as YOU can. Remember also that most people, despite their confident appearance and demeanor, are often as scared as you are and as doubtful of themselves.
5. Gain self-knowledge. Learn the origin of your inferiority and self-doubts, which often begin in childhood. If necessary, get a competent counselor to help you understand why you do what you do.
6. Make a true estimate of your own ability — then raise it 10 percent. Resist becoming egotistical, but develop a wholesome self-respect. Believe in your own powers.
-Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
Suggestions for practicing this theme in Kunga Classes:
1. Work on one suggestion above each week, choosing a different focus weekly.
2. Encourage yourself and other students to try a difficult posture that there may be fears around, strictly for the exercise of watching the mind and testing its ability to turn the challenge into an opportunity.
3. Print small strips of paper with one of the above tips to keep around your home so that you will see it daily.
4. Encourage conversation at the end of your practice: “Would anyone like to share an example of how you have applied this months Kunga Theme of Turning Adversity into Opportunity?”
5. Throughout entire class practice, encourage yourself and other to practice positive self talk with one simple inner phrase such as: “I am strong”, “I am relaxed”, “I am confident”, “I am optimistic!”
6. Share brief readings from books on the power of positivity, such as “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Victor Frankl’s story of surviving the holocaust, or “Left to Tell”, Immaculee Ilibagiza’s story of surviving the Rwandan genocide.
7. Share additional readings from books on optimism written by authors such as Zig Ziglar, Dr. Andrew Weil, Tony Robbins, Norman Vincent Peale, Mark Stevenson