Yoga for Mental Hygiene
Stop being negative and make up your mind to help yourself.
No matter what efforts a woman makes with her
physical appearance they
will be wasted if her mental
attitude is not right.
Beauty of figure, complexion and dress all lose their appeal if a woman is
bored, tense or disagreeable; while plain and dowdy women often hold attention
and admiration through magnetism, vitality or sweetness of expression.
If, for example, you are eaten up by jealousy you are miserable; you become
possessive, demanding, angry, suspicious; you want to hurt people, you never
feel secure. You lie awake at night worrying; you nag and complain; you picture
absurd things that may never happen and you end up by alienating everyone, not
only those you hate but those you love. These emotions not only destroy your
rest and age your face but also carve upon it an unmistakable expression that
repels people even before you speak.
How do you overcome these negative things that spoil your life? How can you
stop worrying, fearing, suspecting and hating?
In the first place by improving your physical condition, and particularly the
state of the glands which have so much influence on your outlook;
Secondly, by learning how to relax; and
Finally by persistent mental exercises.
When the glands are working properly and the nerves are relaxed you will
automatically become more optimistic and philosophical. You give up worrying and
take life as it comes. But these benefits, excellent though they are, are only
half the solution. To really triumph over yourself you must turn them into
positive assets through the development of the mind.
Mental exercises are not easy and there is no point in pretending they are.
They may be a long and discouraging struggle before any kind of results are
achieved and it is easy to slip back and give up halfway. To the women who
dismiss these exercises as useless or ridiculous, to those materialists who can
believe in nothing that cannot be touched or seen with the physical eye, the
only reply is 'Why not try and see what happens?' There is nothing to lose, and
everything to gain.
The first thing to do is to get command of your mind, to discipline it to
complete obedience. Many people never really have control of their mind at all;
it flits about from one thing to another like a butterfly, and when they try to
concentrate they find thoughts rushing through it like trains through a railway
station; but if you are prepared to work at it you can control both mind and
thoughts, for mental powers, like the
muscles of the body, can be developed and strengthened by exercise.
Some mental exercises and
meditation themes are
given below. They are all practiced in the cross-legged position, with eyes
closed, steady breathing established and mind calm and receptive.
Gathering of the light
This is the preliminary to meditation. Everyone knows the meaning of inner
enlightenment; in this exercise, by the uses of will-power, you are bringing
about this illumination. Having established your rhythmical
upon attaining stillness of mind. Let the thoughts come and go, trying to
disregard them. Eventually, if you persevere, they will come less and less and
one day you will find you have actually reached your goal, and the complete
stillness that precedes enlightenment will be yours.
Inversion of the mind's eye
This could be your first exercise in meditation. It is a typical essay at
self-analysis, an honest attempt to know yourself. Turn your thoughts in upon
yourself, reviewing all your faults and weaknesses, admitting them and assessing
them. From inversion of the mind's eye, and acknowledgement of your failings,
you proceed to the next exercise, in which positive action is taken against the
negative qualities you have revealed.
I am stronger than fear
List all your fears........mental and physical...... loss of material
possessions, loss of friends, of health, of worldly position, etc. Try to think
about them constructively, overcoming and rising above them........For example,
'Even if I did lose my money or property it would not really be such a
catastrophe; I would still retain my inner self, which no one can take from me.'
And on the subject of physical fear......'I know that fear in time of emergency
is destructive. It robs nine out of ten people of physical and mental faculties
most needed at such a moment. I will not let this happen to me. It may never
happen to me but I am preparing myself now in case it does.
I am master of myself
Trying to exclude all other thoughts, take one by one the weaknesses or failings
revealed by your self-analysis and systematically try to overcome them. even for
the best of us this could be a fairly long job, but persevere,
concentrating on one at a
time. Hesitation, procrastination, envy, jealousy, greed, inability to resist
temptation, all should be rooted out, even if it takes you the rest of your
life. Try to turn all these negative qualities into such positive ones as
courage, strength and self-control and consequently you will achieve serenity.
There are four other mental exercises which bring complete relaxation of the
nervous system and which develop the powers of concentration and imagination.
Creating of a flower.
Choose your favorite flower and try to visualize it as clearly as you can. The
mental image should be so strong that you feel you are actually creating it with
the power of the imagination. Try to not only see it vividly but, as you breath
in and out, to smell its scent. If successful you will find that the exercise
leads to complete relaxation of mind.
Yoga believes that concentration on beautiful things helps to attain inner
In this exercise, instead of choosing an external object, try to visualize your
own self, as clearly as possible, seeing every detail as though in a
looking-glass. Then try to project this image of yourself into the future,
Floating on a cloud
Lying flat on the back, or sitting cross-legged, try to lose the sensation of
your physical body, concentrating on the thought that with each exhalation you
are growing lighter and lighter, as though really defying gravity forces.
Sitting cross-legged, inhale and exhale, directing
prana through the millions of
hair pores of the body and imagining that you are actually forming a kind of
protective cocoon enclosing yourself from head to foot. Intense concentration is
necessary, but if successfully practiced the exercise leads to the subduing of
all external influences, such as sound, light, heat or cold, leaving the
practitioner entirely and completely alone with himself.
Try to cultivate an optimistic but wise attitude to life and try to believe
that everything is going to improve, not get worse. Try to give up fretting for
what you cannot have and regretting what you did not do. Stop being negative and
make up your mind to help yourself. It is not easy but the end is worth while
working for. Patient practice of mental techniques, combined with toning-up
asanas and regular
relaxation, will help unhappy, restless women to achieve
serenity and inner peace.
Dated 07 September 2012