Inner Reflections
September 4, 2022


Gratitude is the attitude,’ is one of my life mottos. I was recently asked on the Highly Optimized Podcast by Ryan Sprague, “How is it that you are able to maintain this ‘glass half full’ kind of mentality, and what inspired you along the way?” I immediately felt warmth within my heart, firstly for the recognition and acknowledgment, and secondly for the momentary flashback of reflections along the path to where I am currently at.

The sanskrit term, ‘pratipaksha bhavana,’ translates to ‘opposite cultivation.’ “Pratipaksha bhavana is a yogic practice outlined in the Yoga Sutras in which yogis discontinue negative ways of thinking through the discipline of cultivating the opposite.” 

When I was first made aware of this term during my teacher training it struck a chord within my spine. Though I had heard the term for the first time in training, it felt like I was hearing something long-lost that I had practiced my whole life, forgotten about, and was suddenly reminded of once again. It made such an impact on me that I ended up getting the term tattooed in sanskrit on my lower leg (sorry, not sorry, mom!), pratipaksha bhavana.

Being a human yourself, I am almost certain that you too have had negative thoughts throughout your lifetime, maybe as recent as today, and possibly even later today. We cannot run away from our own thoughts, and the more we try, the louder they can become. Instead of turning the other way or ignoring (which I have found through experience does not work well and I would not recommend), what if we paused to examine without judgment, and instead of getting down on ourselves, we transformed that negative thought into something that was more uplifting, encouraging, and positive? 

That momentary pause to examine without judgment is an important piece. Why? Because we don’t want to bypass and pretend that feeling or thought is not there or not real. It is real, and that is OK. Acknowledge and then transform. Afterall, the First Law of Thermodynamics (Law of Conservation of Energy) states that energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. Take a moment to let that sink in.

So how is it that I am able to, for the most part, maintain an overall positive outlook on things, even when it might seem painful, sad, or not the outcome I had hoped for? The diversity of coaches that I had growing up throughout my many years of playing sports is the answer. I am going to avoid using the terms ‘good’ or ‘bad’ because I truly do not believe those words apply here, because if it were not for those coaches who unmotivated me, put me down to try to lift me up, cursed at me, kicked a helmet at me in front of my whole team then lied about it to the school, faculty, and even a judge in a courtroom (true story for a future blog) then I would not be exactly where I am at today in regards to my peace of mind. 

Though those might seem like negative experiences or ‘bad’ coaches, it was experiences and people like that who ultimately motivated me to become the ‘opposite’. How so? Well, I soon realized, once I was done playing competitive sports, that I no longer had an external coach, but that I was my own coach now, the internal coach from within. The voice in my head that was either lifting me up with encouragement and positivity even when I felt like I had messed up, or that was putting me down, calling me names and shaming me. 

The choice was so clear and so simple. I am going to be the best coach that I can be for myself, which ultimately helps me be at my best for others, clients, friends, and family. My hope for those of you who are reading this that you too can clearly see, you have the choice, every day and in every moment, and that is the integration.

Thank goodness for the amazing coaches and teachers that I have had and currently have. Every single one of them has inspired me and continues to inspire me to be the best version of myself every day. Oftentimes I feel like I am doing a great job, but I, like you, am human, and there are times when I struggle. In those times of struggle I pause, acknowledge what is there, and transform the energy. We all have the superpower to do so. Many blessings on your journey, below are some recommended practices as always:

Inner Dimension TV Gentle Yoga Class

By Mychal