I write a lot about yoga as a lifestyle…so much more than a series of physical postures, yoga, when practiced consistently, will open your mind up to a belief system that is not limited by social norms and thoughts of “not enough”.
At the heart of the yogic paradigm is self-realization, a process that involves uniting the whole person by breaking through barriers in the body and mind. While the body accumulates tension and blockages, the mind accumulates limiting beliefs and ideas of separateness that inhibit the person from realizing their human potential. Yoga helps us break through these barriers.
Yoga teaches us that we must be intentional with our thinking; we must create the beliefs that we want to dictate our life. The practice of yoga instills in the practitioner a deep awareness of the self. The teachings of yoga remind us that the mind and ego are only one part of the self, but not the whole self. Thus, we should be aware of our thinking and should not always rely on it to dictate our beliefs and actions, especially when our thinking is limited. This awareness of the mind—and the thoughts that become beliefs and actions— allows the individual to intentionally uncover barriers to development and progress that are constructed when our belief system is limited or self-deprecating.
Top 4 Limiting Beliefs that I’ve Observed…
1. I don’t have enough time.
2. I don’t know enough.
3. I have no willpower. (I am weak.)
4. I’m not [fill in the blank] enough.
The moral of the story: you are not your thoughts, but you are your beliefs. If you believe yourself to be weak, then the next time you need to cultivate the strength to do that thing you know will make you feel better (like going to the gym or choosing the salad instead of the fries), then weak you will be. Even so much as the statement “I am weak” has the potential to uncover a whole string of decisions and actions that reflect weakness and thus make us feel farther and farther from our true self.
What if instead you said, “I am strong”? Sure, you may still be thinking I am weak, as is the case especially when we first begin the process of shifting limiting beliefs, but eventually “I am strong”, which may start as a simple thought, will ring louder than the former and become your belief. This can be done for any and all limiting beliefs.
So, what’s the point of all this? Well, I think about this a lot. And the answer I think lies in the very definition of true health: integrity. True health is a state of integrity, of wholeness, where we are not left seeking, craving, and wanting more: A state where our values, thoughts, actions and beliefs are all in alignment. How do we achieve this? We achieve this, every day, in every moment, by cultivating thoughts and beliefs that are in alignment, rather than at odds, with what we value, who we want to be, and what we want to create. Thus, our ability to achieve true health in any moment relies on our ability to fuel thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that reflect our whole self, our integrity. Put more simply, we cannot expect to change self-deprecating habits until we first change self-limiting beliefs. We must believe we have the strength to change, to become…
Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned from yoga is that I am allowed to love myself. I am allowed to believe in myself. I can effort to cultivate belief in myself even when my limiting thoughts are screaming at me, and it is at these times when I have the most to learn about softening and self-acceptance.
Soften, Soften, Soften, Breathe, All is Well. Namaste.
About the Author
Allie Andrews is the Founder and Program Director at OmBody Health. She is a Certified Health Coach, author, and is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Education with a focus in Corporate Wellness. Allie and her team have been transforming employee wellbeing since 2014. Learn more.