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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?

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.

Practicing Yoga for Mental hygiene is 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 breathing, concentrate 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 yoga  mental exercises which bring complete relaxation of the nervous system and which develop the powers of concentration and imagination. These are:

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 tranquility.

Mind mirror
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, unchanged.

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.

Protective cocoon
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 strength, serenity and inner peace.

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