A newcomer to Yoga may find it odd to read that yoga poses develop positive willpower. However, in the large field of Yoga, yogic practices aim at harmonizing the body, and the mind. Hatha Yoga is one of the branches of Yoga that specifically deal with yoga poses or asanas. And within Hatha Yoga, there are categories of asanas that deal directly or indirectly with developing positive willpower.
Abdominal yoga poses develop positive willpower
The category of poses that directly help develop willpower are abdominal poses. Yes you read right! Most of you shy away from them, and how’s your positive willpower going?
All abdominal poses are extremely useful and I’m going to share two of my favorites: Ana Forrest’s Elbow to Knee and Satyananda’s Bicycling.
Why are abdominal poses such powerful tools to build positive willpower? From the point of view of Yoga philosophy, our abdominal cavity, including abdominal muscles and organs, is directly related to Swadhisthana chakra.
In Yoga philosophy, chakras form a psycho-physiological framework, meaning, they relate to both our mind and our body.
What aspects of your mind Swadhisthana chakra relates to? It is the storehouse of mental impressions, and inherited unconscious thinking patterns. Therefore, all the thoughts that drive you to judge yourself, and beat yourself up lie within Swadhisthana.
When you awaken these muscles in the sensory and motor part of the brain, by consciously using them in yoga poses, you also bring up the unconscious thinking patterns. As a result, you then have an opportunity to create new patterns of thoughts that positively impact you.
Watch this short instructional video on Forrest Yoga Beginner’s Elbow to Knee
Watch this short instructional video on Satyananda Yoga Bicycling Stage 1
Back bends develop connection to the heart and knowledge of your true potential
Asanas like back bend yoga poses develop positive willpower by connecting you to your heart and your potential.
Back bends open the chest cavity and in Yoga philosophy, the chest cavity is related to Anahata chakra. In Anahata chakra both love, compassion and their opposites anger, fear, guilt and anxiety reside. So, when you open your chest instead of closing it down, you make a conscious decision to be loving and compassionate instead of fearful and guilty. Most of all, you make the decision to be vulnerable to the world, others and particularly yourself.
It’s in this state of vulnerability and openness that we taste our true potential. Up until that moment, we’re just dreaming, and wishfully thinking.
the first preparation with regards to awakening Anahata is to change your entire way of thinking. You must become extremely optimistic and positive, always full of hope. You must never dwell in the negativity of the mind. Physically, mentally and spiritually you must be completely at peace with yourself, others and the whole community at large. Though the world is full of conflicts, contradictions and deep animosities, you have to always feel deep peace throughout your being. Never be negative about any situation. It makes no difference whether you are amidst poverty, suffering, disease, conflict, divorce, emotional crisis and discord. Swami Satyananda, Kundalini Tantra pp168-169
Hence, back bends are a way of beginning this process of opening up to the beauty of who you are.
Here are a couple of back bends you can begin to practice at home:
Snake pose also known as Boat pose
Inversions change mental states
The definition of insanity, they say, is to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Therefore, in order to change your habits around food, you need to change your mental state around food. Recognize that whole foods are gifts of nature. Whole foods take nature’s intelligence and turn it into your bodies and minds!
Inversions are the best to change your mental state and along with the above mentioned yoga poses develop positive willpower.
From the moment your head is below your knees, wonderful things happen. Inversions are cleansing and nourishing at the deepest levels. Furthermore, the entire physical system, under control of the brain, is energized and nourished as the brain is washed clean and flooded with rich new nutrients. The mind clears. Thinking improves. And understanding ensues.
Just laying down on the floor or on your bed with your legs up the wall is beneficial. By elevating the legs, you improve circulation, venous return, and lymph drainage. All of which nourish cells in the face, muscles, and skin, as well as relieve strain and fatigue in the legs and feet. In addition, they stimulate intestinal sluggishness, improving digestion and elimination.
Headstand particular activates the pineal and pituitary glands, the master glands of the endocrine system that controls the chemical balance of the body.
In Yoga philosophy, the pineal and pituitary glands are related to Ajna chakra. And Ajna chakra is the domain of perception. from a yogic point of view how you perceive things is connected to your mental state. If you want to have a different life experience, then you have to change your mental perception.
For more information on how yoga poses and practices can help you achieve your desires, schedule a personalized yoga- meditation session with me!