Yoga For Life plank pose

Smiling can be a great way to trick the body in elevating your mood due to the triggering of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Once you are smiling, open your eyes, forward bend from the waist and lengthen both legs to the back, bending the toes, lengthening the arms and lifting the buttocks. Hold this “Plank Pose” as long as you can without compromising form. When the arms become too tired to hold the pose, hold it for 10 more counts to achieve the goal.

Do we sometimes find our expectations and anticipations of life are not the way “it was supposed to have been?” As we practice yoga, we awaken our reality in the present moment and flow with it. We stay focused on the positive energy we are generating from the mind into the body and keep moving forward, doing what we can at the present moment.

What is rewarding, in real time, is experiencing gradual accomplishments of small goals as our body conforms to new ways of thinking and moving. “You don’t lie down under shackles and pity yourself. You go to work to remove them,” (“Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali,” Vedanta Press, 1981). This is the essence of our yoga practice.

The most important factor that makes a difference is not only practicing yoga, but experiencing the positive life force that makes us feel happier. Nothing is ever “perfect” in life but we can work on a belief system and practice that initializes this energy.

Let’s get started today by generating a positive life force, first in the mind and initiating it through yoga postures. We do not have to be perfect in every move, just feeling better about ourselves by taking positive steps forward. As we initialize these goals in our mind and body, we realize this principle of “positivity” works! Today is a day of positive change! Let’s begin it simply and feel the rewards.

Downward Dog: This is a basic yoga posture where we can immediately see and feel results. Just follow your own path of achievement each step of the way. First, stand in Atlassian, tall like a statue, then close the eyes and breathe. The goal of deep breathing is to release tension in the mind and body. We know tension is gradually releasing when the body feels almost buoyant, relaxed standing tall. Follow the breath and soften the mind with positive thoughts and, most importantly, with a smile!

“Smiling can trick the body into helping you elevate your mood because the physical act of smiling, actually activates neural messaging in your brain. A simple smile can trigger the release of neural communication, boosting neuropeptides as well as mood-boosting neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin,” (verywellmind.com/top-reasons-to-smile-every-day-222375).

Once you are smiling, open your eyes, forward bend from the waist and lengthen both legs to the back, bending the toes, lengthening the arms and lifting the buttocks. Hold this “Plank Pose” as long as you can without compromising form. You set the goal on how long you can hold this posture. When the arms become too tired to hold the pose, hold it for 10 more counts with determination to achieve the goal. Come down and rest flat on the floor for a few minutes.

Then, slowly rise back up into Downward Dog. From Plank Pose, raise one leg up in the back with toe pointed down. Hold this pose for a count of ten and slowly lower the leg. Slowly raise the other one and hold it for a count of 10. Do the best you can. Then, you can lower the upper body nice and straight with buttocks lifted into a V form. Even if you are an experienced yoga practitioner, it is good to awaken the body slowly and intentionally every day with this pose.

Before you begin to initiate each posture, review and visualize the pose in your mind to make small corrections. Start slowly in your daily yoga practice and make corrections to constantly re-align the body for visible results. Your mind and body are the guides. You can look at professional poses in books as a guideline, but the best guideline is our own standard of excellence.

Flowing with positive energy in the mind will reduce anxiety, tension and thoughts that are distracting to your goals. Take these thoughts and practices with you, especially the smile, into each day. It is time to “reform” mind and body with goals that create harmony. Do a housecleaning and shut of negative thoughts. Our goal is to keep moving forward in a positive light. Your light will uplift others and in doing so, you will make a contribution to everyone. Now, stand up in Tadassana and walk tall!