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How To Change The Perception Of Your Body With Yoga

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Change Your Perception Of Your Body Image

The sad fact is that about 95 percent of women and 30 percent of men have issues about the way their bodies look. We, modern humans, have a very unstable perception of our bodies: from showing off our over sexual images on social media to absolute body-hate and not wanting to see ourselves in the mirror. We quickly go from one polarity to another, however, both of them have nothing to do with self-love. If your perception of your body is dependent on how much you weigh or if your muscles are toned enough, then you are most likely a prisoner of a delusional self-image made by society norms and standards.

The unhealthy tendency of modern people is that we all struggle with bad body image from time to time. Our relationship with our bodies and ourselves is always changing depending on the situation or circumstance. It takes constant awareness, mindfulness, and willingness to create a balanced and harmonious relationship with our bodies. But, unfortunately, most of us are too busy with self-hate and self-pity that we can’t hear what our bodies are trying to tell us.

Ancient traditions and mindfulness practices offer us practical ways to stabilize our relationship with our bodies. And one of them is yoga. In this article, we want to share with you how yoga practice can change your perception of your body and create a healthy and harmonious relationship with it!

4 Ways Yoga Can Positively Affect Your Body Image

Now let’s take a deeper look at what 4 solutions yoga offers you to change your perception of your body.

#1: Mindfulness through movement

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Yoga helps us create a good relationship with our bodies through movement.

In yoga, we do not try to prove anything to ourselves or to others. Rather, performing each asana is our personal way of cultivating harmony. Every time we face the challenge of new asanas, patiently endure discomfort, and respect all our bodily and emotional experiences, we express gratitude to our body.

When performing asanas, pay attention to how much your body can do – how it allows you to twist, stretch, balance, and bend. Notice all the different parts of the body that make this or that asana possible and thank them. In this way, you can cultivate awareness of the power of your body, and, as a result, change your perception of your body.

#2: Mindfulness through positive self-talk

yoga positive self talk image

One of the best lessons yoga teaches us is to focus on our opportunities instead of limitations.

It’s always so easy to get influenced by our negative self-image, to see that there is always something wrong with us, judge our bodies, and compare them with others’. Such negativity makes us rigid and stifles our natural playfulness.

Yoga can help us let go of the habit of negative self-talk and self-judgment.

Next time you practice yoga, pay attention to how you talk to yourself and to your body. Listen to your inner talk. Are you criticizing yourself for not being flexible enough? Are you comparing your yoga skills to others? Learn to talk to yourself in a caring positive way. Only use positive and compassionate words in your self-talk. Develop the skill of practicing yoga joyfully and cheerfully, and not with judgment and perfectionism. Remember – yoga is not just the asanas but also your inner growth and the self-realization that is happening during your practice.

#3: Mindfulness through observation

yoga mindfulness practice image

It is impossible to establish a good relationship with your body if you do not break out of the vicious circle of judgment and self-criticism. In order to let go of these negative habits yoga suggests us to take an observer’s position.

The observer’s position is neutral. You observe your practice, your life, your body without judging it – whether it’s good or bad. You observe but don’t shape the result of your observation into the form of opinion.

When you practice yoga, just notice everything that you feel – your breathing, the way different parts of your body touch the floor, the sensations in your muscles, the thoughts rushing through your head. Just notice everything without judging. As you get used to practicing this way, you will notice that you have become more aware of your body’s capabilities, as well as its unique qualities. And there is no need of judgement or opinion – whether it’s good or bad, it is rather a neutral state of noticing the results of your observation.

#4: Focus on the present moment

yoga changes body perception image

Yoga is the best practice to cultivate presence.

When we think negatively about our bodies, we are not present in the moment. We are mentally transported to the past or future by comparing ourselves to how we used to look in the past or how we want to look in the future. As a result, we never appreciate and love the bodies we have this very moment. You are taking your focus away from the body that needs to be loved NOW, that needs to be appreciated NOW, and needs to be noticed and accepted NOW! However, it’s never good enough in the present moment.

We have high expectations of how our bodies have to look in order for us to love ourselves. This is how pressure and stress get created. And the most dangerous thing about this mindset is that our bodies can feel what we think of them. They feel our hate, our stress, our high expectations. And often, these negative emotions create such a big pressure in our bodies that they start to get sick.

Moreover, our feelings of shame and guilt lead to a loss of connection with the present moment, and it becomes even more difficult for us to feel confident about our bodies.

Through breathing exercises and yoga asanas, we learn to be “here and now” – and this is an important factor in order to reduce anxiety and negative thoughts.

Our breath connects us to the present moment. So take a little time to just sit and observe it. Observe how your breathing affects your ability to balance and twist. Observe how conscious breathing changes how you talk to yourself and how you perceive your body. With every exhale let go of negative self-image. With every inhale, fill your body in with self-love and positivity.

The Bottom Line

Mindful movement, self-talk, observation, and focusing on the present moment are four keys that you can use to change your perception of your body towards a positive self-image, self-love, self-acceptance, and awareness. If you start using mindfulness during your yoga practice, very soon you will notice that you are becoming more mindful in your everyday life. You will become more mindful in your self-talk which will help you to create a positive self-image and more confidence in life.

Health

Dosha Quiz: What Is Your Ayurvedic Body Type?

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Dosha Quiz Image
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How would you describe your body type?

This includes your height, body build, muscle development, and size. Are you tall, short, thin, stout, or thick? How would you best describe your body frame?

What effect do your eating habits have on your body weight?

eating habits dosha image Pexels.com

Is it easy for you to gain or lose weight?

What is your skin complexion?

skin complexion ayurveda image

What's your hair type?

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What is your sleep pattern?

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Some people are light sleepers while others are deep sleepers. Do you awaken easily in the morning? Or do you struggle to get out of bed?

How would you describe your dreams?

dreams ayurveda image

How do you react to stress?

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Stress is normal in our day-to-day lives. However, we each cope with stress differently.

How would you describe your temperament?

Are you easy-going and accepting or are you lively and enthusiastic by nature?

How would you describe your decision-making process?

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Your ease at decision-making will vary depending on your dosha type. This may also influence how well you handle stress. Are you usually calm and collected or are you tensed at the slightest provocation?

How would you describe your energy type?

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Different doshas exhibit different energies around them. You will observe that some people are more lively, talkative, or active than others.

How would you describe your sexuality?

passion and sexuality ayurveda image

What climate do you feel most comfortable in?

How would you describe your memory?

How would you describe your thought process?

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What do you consider to be your shortcomings?

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Dosha Quiz: What Is Your Ayurvedic Body Type?
Vata Dosha

Vata Dosha Image

Vata dosha consists mostly of two elements: air and ether. You are exceptionally creative, communicative, and brimming with ideas. Generally, Vata is very vibrant and energetic. You have a very inventive and creative mind. You think outside the box but can become easily distracted. What’s more, your mood is highly dependent on the weather, people around you, and the foods you eat. Your mood can actually be quite unpredictable at times. Although you are a quick learner, your long-term memory is not that good. You are easily enthused, but run the risk of spreading yourself too thin and getting distracted by something new after just a short time. You frequently suffer from cold hands and feet. You love the excitement and new experiences. You are quick to anger but also to forgive. You are prone to worry and anxiousness and may often suffer from insomnia. According to Ayurveda, for optimal health, a Vata-dominant person should follow a regular daily routine, manage stress through meditation and other calming practices, and maintain a warm body temperature by avoiding cold weather and consuming warm foods and drinks.
Pitta Dosha

Pitta Dosha

Pitta dosha is based on fire and water elements. You have a powerful intellect, a strong ability to concentrate, and big ambitions. You have a passion for leadership and are not afraid to speak up and take charge. You tend to be quite protective when provoked and are fierce opponents. You can be quite determined and don’t give up easily. Your aim is to win. You have bursts of energy to take on challenges. And you actually love a challenge, whether that's professionally or in sport. You can be a good decision-maker, a teacher, a manager, and a speaker. You have a knack for building connections and make very good friends. You are often honest and straight to the point. Although, sometimes you can be short-tempered, easily irritated, and argumentative. Those with a pitta-dominant dosha should focus on work-life balance and avoid extreme heat (e.g., weather, spicy food).
Kapha Dosha

Kapha Dosha Image

Kapha dosha is based on earth and water elements. You are usually calm, collected, and slow to anger, and therefore, not easily provoked. You are strong, loyal, patient, steady, and supportive. You are loving and caring, and this makes you a good acquaintance. You have an inherent ability to enjoy life and are comfortable with a routine. Private joy in a stable partnership, healthy kids, and loyal friendships are the things you prioritize and that give you inner satisfaction, security, and personal happiness. You learn slowly with a high level of retention. Although you move slowly, you are very purposeful and enterprising. Most of all, you value inner tranquillity, peace, and harmony. You may tend to hold on to things, jobs, and relationships long after they are no longer nourishing or necessary. You may also resist change and be stubborn sometimes. For good health, a Kapha-dominant person should focus on regular exercise, a healthy diet, maintain a warm body temperature (e.g., by eating warm food), and establish a regular sleep routine.

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Yoga

Jnana Mudra: a Powerful Technique For Activating Your Crown Chakra

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Powerful Technique For Activating Your Crown Chakra Image

Jnana mudra is one of the most widely used mudras in meditation practices, in Buddhism, yoga, and even in the martial arts of the East. The Buddha’s hand performing the Jnana mudra at the heart level is a symbol of openness to the whole universe. Being a gesture of openness to new things, this mudra also symbolizes the true knowledge of existence.

In this article, we will share with you what Jnana mudra is, what its benefits are, and how to practice it.

What Is Mudra?

Mudra‘ can be translated as ‘gesture’. Hence mudras are symbolic gestures practiced with the hands and fingers.

Connecting the fingers in certain combinations, we can activate the meridians and direct energy throughout the body. Different positions of the fingers have the ability to close or clear the energy channels. In addition, performing this or that mudra, we affect the biologically active points of the palms and fingers.

Mudras help us to correct the direction of energy in the body, to control prana, and to improve the psycho-emotional state. Also, with their help, we can eliminate problems in the body and in the mind by pressing on particular acupuncture points.

What Is Jnana Mudra?

Jnana Mudra Practice Image

Jnana mudra is a yogic hand gesture that represents wisdom and knowledge. In Sanskrit, jnana means “wisdom” or “knowledge” and mudra means “gesture.” It is a hasta mudra, which means it is performed using the hands.

Connecting the fingers in certain combinations, we can activate the energy meridians and direct energy throughout the body, restore the flow of energy and eliminate “breakdowns” in diseased organs thus improve our health.

Different positions of the fingers have the ability to close or clear the energy channels. In addition, performing mudras, we affect the biologically active points of the palms and fingers.

When practicing Jnana mudra, we connect the thumb and index finger. The thumb symbolizes Brahman, or universal consciousness, whereas the index finger symbolizes Jivatma or the individual self. Therefore, the connection of the thumb and index finger represents the union of the supreme and inner realities. And the three extended fingers represent the three gunas that must be overcome: sattva (middle finger), rajas (ring finger), and tamas (little finger).

Each of the fingers has symbolic significance:

The index finger is associated with knowledge, wisdom, and self-confidence. It is connected to our life force.

The thumb is responsible for our ego, will, and logic. Also, this finger is associated with wisdom, mind, and awareness.

Also, it is important to know that each finger is associated with one of the 5 elements. Thumb represents the Fire element (Agni). The index finger is associated with the energy of the Air element (Vayu). Thus, Jnana mudra can be used to balance the elements of Fire and Air within the body. When we reach the balance between the Fire and Air elements within our bodies, we are able to still our mind, concentrate, and practice deep meditation.

Fingers Corresponding to the 5 Elements image

Also, the connection of the index finger and thumb allows prana to circulate freely inward, rather than dissipating outwards. By directing prana inward, we can sit in meditation for longer periods of time.

Jnana Mudra Benefits

On the subtle plane, the practice of Jnana mudra activates the Crown chakra (Sahasrara), whereas on the physical plan it helps you to harmonize biological rhythm, normalize blood pressure; eliminates anxiety and anxiety. Moreover, the regular practice of this mudra provides the following benefits:

  • helps to cope with depression and fatigue;
  • improves memory;
  • stimulates mental function;
  • helps to relieve insomnia;
  • boosts creativity;
  • develops intuition;
  • restores peace of mind;
  • enhances the connection with the Higher self;
  • lifts dull energy;
  • brightens mood.

How to Perform?

Although this mudra can be practiced in any yoga asana, it is most commonly used in a stable seated position such as easy pose or lotus pose. In Kundalini Yoga, this mudra is usually practiced with the hands resting on the knees and the elbows straight.

what is jnana mudra image
To practice Jnana mudra, follow these simple steps:
  1. Tuck your index finger under the tip of the thumb to form a circle.
  2. Extend the remaining three fingers.
  3. Rest the back of the hands on the thighs or knees, with palms facing upward.

Another variation of this mudra is to touch the tip of the index finger and thumb together, thereby forming a full circle.

When practicing this mudra, make sure your body is alert but relaxed, with little to no strain in the arms or extended fingers.

For maximum benefits, practice this mudra during your meditations for at least 15 minutes, 2-3 times per day.

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Shanmukhi Mudra: a Simple Stress Relief Technique

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Shanmukhi Mudra Image

Shanmukhi Mudra is a simple and effective way to calm your mind, relieve stress, and restore your nervous system.

With regular practice of this beautiful mudra, it is possible even to improve vision and hearing. It also promotes the development of internal concentration and the ability to detach from external stimuli and objects of the surrounding world.

In this article, we will share with you what Shanmukhi mudra is, what its benefits are, and how to properly practice it.

What Is Mudra?

Mudra‘ can be translated as ‘gesture’. Hence mudras are symbolic gestures practiced with the hands and fingers.

Connecting the fingers in certain combinations, we can activate the meridians and direct energy throughout the body. Different positions of the fingers have the ability to close or clear the energy channels. In addition, performing this or that mudra, we affect the biologically active points of the palms and fingers.

Mudras help us to correct the direction of energy in the body, to control prana, and to improve the psycho-emotional state. Also, with their help, we can eliminate problems in the body and in the mind by pressing on particular acupuncture points.

What Is Shanmukhi Mudra?

Shanmukhi mudra is a yogic hand gesture that represents closing the six gates of perception – the two eyes, two ears, nose, and mouth. In Sanskrit, Shan means “six”; Mukhi means “face” or “gate”; and mudra, means “gesture”. Thus, Shanmukhi mudra means the ‘six-gated mudra’.

The purpose of the Shanmukhi Mudra is to symbolically shut the mind from the five senses so the mind can maintain an inward focus and get ready for meditation.

The Shanmukhi mudra practice helps the practitioner look within himself to find the very source of his being.

When all the senses turn inward and the breathing becomes harmonious, the mind calms down. As a result, you feel inner peace and now you are able to hear the voice of the Divine Self within you.

The Shanmukhi mudra practice helps you to free yourself from the domination of the senses and find the strength to take your desires, instincts, and emotions under control.

Shanmukhi Mudra Benefits

There are lots of amazing benefits the practice of Shanmukhi mudra can provide. Here are some of them:

  • Balances internal and external awareness;
  • Enhances focus and introspection;
  • Calms the mind and nervous system;
  • Clears energy blocks, giving room for easy flow of prana;
  • Relaxes and rejuvenates the eyes and facial muscles;
  • Creates a state of pratyahara;
  • Ensures the smooth functioning of the facial nerves;
  • Reduces anxiety;
  • Helps to deepen the meditation practice;
  • Alleviates vertigo problems and brings a calming effect to the head;
  • Helps to remove negative thoughts and worries;
  • Promotes clear thinking;
  • Helps Kundalini awakening.

For maximum benefit, this mudra should be accompanied by pranayama or bandhas (energetic locks). Shanmukhi mudra is commonly practiced with brahmari pranayama, also known as Humming Bee Breath. In this pranayama, the mudra enables the practitioner to focus on the inner vibration created by the humming breath.

How to Perform?

Shanmukhi mudra is usually performed in a stable, seated meditation posture such as padmasana (Lotus Pose) or sukhasana (Easy Pose).

To practice Shanmukhi mudra, follow these simple steps:

  1. Sit in the Lotus Pose or Easy Pose. Straighten the spine and align the position of the head.
  2. Bring your palms up to your face. Raise your elbows to shoulder level and place your thumbs in the ear canal, muffling external sounds.
    If you feel pain, place your fingers on the tragus of the auricle (small protrusions at the base of the auricle) and press them against the ear canal.
  3. Close your eyelids and rise your eyeballs up. Place your index and middle fingers on your eyelids so that the first two phalanges completely cover the eyeball area. Do not press on the cornea. Use your middle fingers to point your eyelids down, and use your index fingers to lift the upper parts of your eyelids up. Gently press on the outer and inner corners of the eyes.
  4. The pressure on the ears and eyes should be equal.
  5. Use your ring fingers to apply pressure evenly to your right and left nostrils. This will narrow the nasal passages, which will promote slow, deep, even, rhythmic, subtle breathing.

Practice the mudra for five to ten minutes.

The Bottom Line

As a result of turning all the senses inwards and concentrating on deep and slow breathing, the mind becomes calm. When performing this mudra, it’s common to experience:

  • a distinct sound in the ears;
  • the appearance of flashes of light and various images on the internal “screen”;
  • vibrations, thrusts, tingling, heat, or other sensations inside the body.

All these feelings are quite normal.

 

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