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I Think I Can, I Think I Can, I Think I Can
by Ally Hamilton

 

 

 

 

Editor's Note from Brooke Nisbet: There is more to yoga than asana (poses). Many believe it's just a physical workout that's good for your body. Yoga is so much more. There are 8 Limbs of yoga and the ultimate goal of enlightenment. To work towards this goal, one needs to learn to unite the mind, body and spirit. Part of this is done by learnig to control the mind. Control the "chitta vritti" (non-stop mind chatter). Have you ever noticed yours? What are you actually saying to yourself? This can have a huge impact on your life.

 

Do you remember the story about The Little Engine That Could? Because in retrospect I think it’s kind of brilliant. You will be alone with your thoughts for most of your life. The quality of your internal dialogue will be the greatest influence on the experience you have as you move through your days. You know the Henry Ford quote? “Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right”. And I mention that with the full understanding that the playing field is not level, that some people will come in to this world with advantages, and some people will have to fight for every single break they get. Nonetheless, a person’s way of thinking has a huge impact upon the way life will feel, regardless of advantages and obstacles.

If you are full of fear and doubt and negativity and judgment, you are probably not going to experience a lot of joy. Because you’re going to walk through the world in a defensive manner, in a hopeless manner, in an angry and resentful way. If you fill your caboose with stories about every way you’ve been hurt and disappointed, you’re just not gonna make it up that hill. Because your caboose will be too heavy. We are energetic beings. Wherever we go, we spread energy, and we take it in, as well. If you’re feeling down and dark and depressed, it will affect the way you carry yourself, and the energy you’re spreading as you go about your day. If you are in a frame of mind that says, “Everyone is out to get me”, or, “I never get any breaks”, or “People suck”, believe me, it will be something people can feel. They may not know exactly what they’re feeling, but chances are, they’re going to move away from you, not toward you. Thus strengthening your idea that people suck.

On the other hand, if you’re on a track that says, “You know, things aren’t perfect but I have my health. I have a place to call home. I have food in my refrigerator. I have people in my life who love me, and people I love with my whole heart. There are damaged people in the world, but there are also so many good people. And life can be devastating, but it can also be devastatingly beautiful. I’m going to do whatever I can with whatever I’ve got to try to make this world a little brighter”, I guarantee you that will also affect the way you move through your day. The more you can pick your mind up and bring it back to all the amazing things you do have, the more thankful you will feel. And the more you focus on all the things you don’t have yet, that aren’t going well, that haven’t unfolded the way you’d like, that other people have and you don’t, the more miserable you will be.

Yes, life will bring circumstances, and some of them will break your heart wide open. You can let those experiences close you and harden you. You can decide life is something to get through. You can say things like, “I’m killing time”. Or you can let those experiences open you and soften you. You can keep picking the mind up and bringing it back to love. I’m not saying everything in your life will be magically perfect if you do that. I’m simply saying that being in a state of gratitude feels so much better than being angry and shut down.

And being kind to yourself is a huge part of the equation. Because if your inner voice is harsh, unforgiving and merciless, wow are you going to suffer. You can beat yourself down into a state of loneliness and confusion and shame if you’re not careful. You can come to believe you are totally alone and no one cares. Thats a lie, of course, but you can convince yourself of that if the mind is dark enough. And you can wear your despair and disappointment on your sleeve. Or you can work on feeding a loving voice. A kind, compassionate, caring voice. Because whatever you feed will grow and strengthen. Feed love. Feed it with everything you’ve got. Be vigilant about it. Because what you think absolutely affects how you feel, and how you feel influences what you say and do, the level of compassion you extend to yourself and others, your ability to forgive your own mistakes and those of all the other humans around you, your likelihood of finding your purpose, of moving in the direction of that inner, burning Yes… ALL these things require love.

If all that sounds good to you, you’ve got to put your train on the Love track. And don’t just think you can, know you can. I know you can. Sending you love and a little Toot, Toot! Ally

 

 

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About the Author

 

Ally Hamilton began practicing yoga during her senior year at Columbia University. During the course of her 22 years of practice and 17 years of teaching, she has studied with Dharma Mittra, Bryan Kest (at whose studio she taught for over five years), Jorgen Christiansson, with whom she began practicing Ashtanga in 2001 and later assisted, Baron Baptiste, Max Strom, and Saul David Raye. In September 2009, with the help of her husband, she opened her own yoga studio in Santa Monica, Yogis Anonymous, and has built a vibrant community around some of the best teaching talent in Southern California. She has also pioneered the use of technology in yoga with a first-of-its-kind online yoga video website which provides live-streaming and on-demand yoga videos featuring top yoga instructors from around the world. Off the mat, you'll most likely find Ally chasing after her five year old son and two year old daughter.

Learn more: yogisanonymous.com/live

 

 

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