Friday, September 30, 2011


 I recently participated in a Mindful Movement Yoga Retreat under the tutelage of my dear friend Jen.  The objective of the retreat was re-establishment of roots, grounding, and realization of self.  One component of this empowering experience that struck a deep somber chord within me was Affirmation.  I've briefly touched upon it before but I don't think I realized how important it really is.  Let's break it down - according to several dictionaries, Affirmation is :
  •  to declare as a fact
  • to make a declaration with solemn resolve
  • to maintain as true; to tell with confidence.....
        solemn - deeply earnest sobriety
        resolve - get, consume, receive, own, ingest

Thus, an affirmation is ownership of your path.  It is true acknowledgement of what, when, why, and how you are, it is declaration of who you are.

Self -Fulfilling Prophecy

We must recognize that affirmation is a serious matter.  We must remember to be careful to how we use our words for the things we say, we believe.  Things we believe, we affirm, even in jest.  How many times have you said or heard someone say, "Oh, this will be the death of me", "You make me sick", "For the life of me I can't...". Oh, I'm such a failure, idiot, klutz, fool, etc"?  We need to choose our words and thoughts wisely for what we think and say will surely become our truths, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

"Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care..." ~Buddha

In a previous post, I wrote about looking into self acceptance, about how your actions change when you realize you will not fail. Affirmation allows you to do anything you set out to do, to look into your mirror to speak your truth with confidence.  I realize now that is only a part of the equation.  The other, crucial piece is thinking.  What and how we think is just as important as what we say and do,  for our thoughts become our words, our words become our actions. We must therefore remove those seemingly innocent negative sayings from our thoughts.  For example, why should you be upset when you fail a tough exam when all you said while studying was "Oh, I'll never understand this"?  In this example, you have fulfilled your prophecy and managed to block the flow of positive energy.

Being Mindful

During the retreat, I began to focus on the title "Mindful Movement".  For me it meant small, intimate practice.  While this was true, I've come to the realization that it was also about thought processes and true connections.  Yogini Jen led us in an exercise of self love by giving us an elementary introduction of foot reflexology.  We learned about the different points of the feet and how each point corresponds to a particular organ within the body.  As we practiced techniques massaging the "soles" of our feet, we were learning to be mindful of them, the base of our rooting, the base of our "souls".  We meditated, flowing into affirmation with the focus shifting to being mindful and moving in our thoughts.  The asana and vegan lunch taught us to be mindful of our bodies. Thus, we practiced Yoga, uniting of body, mind, and soul.

As I returned home, I thought, what does is mean to be mindful in thought? It is different for each of us.  Although it's personal and germane to our individuality, regardless of our different acclimation, one thing rings true for each of us, to take heed to choose powerful, action words for they shall become our destiny.   In any high school or university writing course, you are penalized for writing passively.  Use of phrases from the verb pattern "to be" confuses the reader about the subject of the sentence. You are taught and rewarded when you use action words or are more specific.  Therefore, be specific in your affirmation. Do not be afraid to state exactly who you are and what you want.  Let the affirmation examples posted on this page be examples of the  beginning of the sentence you complete for yourself.  Think and affirm in the same manner with positive intention even if you are yet to accomplish a feat.   For example:

"I climb mountains"

Whether you've scaled Mt. Fuji or made it to the top of the small dirt hill in the backyard, is not the action the same once you take that first step, lifting your foot upon the soil?  The person in each instance started at the same point with the same objective.  Think about the statement, 
"Begin with the end in mind" 
(The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People).  

What does it mean to you?  
Try this yogic exercise:

Stop, be still and sit quietly in meditation.  Close your eyes, visualize yourself positively successful in the place or state of  existence you wish.  Realize the influence your thoughts have over your actions and the effect your actions have on your mind, body, and soul.  With this in mind, speak your affirmation out loud, with truth. Absorb and feel good about it...your success awaits you.

Sat Nam
 (Truth is thy name)

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