sunshineThis past weekend I partook in my new Saturday morning yoga ritual at the lovely little yoga studio just down the street from my house. Now I wouldn’t call myself an avid yogi because, to be honest, I often find yoga a little too low key and breathy for my personal preference – I tend to be a mover, a goer, and a doer – which likely means that participating in the slow and steady from time to time is exactly what would be best for me. I digress. Anyway, I have been getting myself to said yoga class quite regularly and have been learning to appreciate and enjoy it more and more.

This past week, though, something pretty profound happened for me. It happened while we were doing this odd little repetitious thumb up, thumb down exercise with our arms straight out to our sides. It sounds quite simple, but man it sure doesn’t take long for said exercise to start a no-kidding-around burn in the upper arms. And I know it wasn’t just me because just as said burning started to kick in, our cheerful and bubbly little yogi guru called out an important reminder for us to breathe. That helped somewhat – as remembering to breathe usually does. But soon thereafter the burning returned. Luckily, our little yogi had a second set of instructions: she told us to start thinking about turning our pain into power. That also worked quite well for a few moments – and even better than just breathing alone. THEN she told us to actually speak the words aloud: I AM POWERFUL. And. Holy. Cow. What happened after that literally blew me away. As soon as I said those words out loud and with the gusto and determination necessary to push through the burning pain power that was starting to feel unbearable, said burning all of a sudden practically stopped, and I became invigorated with a huge surge of thumb turning vigour. In that moment, because of the words I had spoken aloud, my mind and thus my body were literally convinced that I could and would be able to make it to the end. And I did.

The moral of the story: Breathing when we are distressed, in pain, or uncomfortable? Really good. Turning our negative thoughts into constructive ones? Perspective changing and extremely helpful. Actually speaking aloud affirmative words of truth and empowerment? Totally transforming.