This week, I attended my first yoga class. (My therapist’s office is part therapy, part yoga studio, and all clients get free yoga classes. Talk about convenient!) I’ve done yoga a few times before: gym class in high school, shaky attempts with apps at home, but never in public with other people. Needless to say I was a bit apprehensive about it all. The class was called “Yoga for Empowerment and Self-Confidence” so I figured that would be a perfect fit for a neophyte like me.

As we flowed through some easy poses and got to the famous Down Dog pose, the instructor started asking us to reflect on why we were there and to repeat some of the following affirmations to ourselves silently as we went through the easy flow. I began to blush, feeling almost embarrassed, as she went through the affirmations. “I am important. I am strong. I am going to give myself a second chance. I forgive those who have harmed me in the past. I posess the qualities needed to be extremely successful.” We flowed through the poses, the sound of breathing constant, with the instructor calmly working through different affirming phrases throughout the class.

Inwardly, I rolled my eyes…and then I thought, why do I feel that way? Why is affirmation almost embarrassing feeling for me? What’s so wrong with being gentle and loving with yourself and telling yourself you’re doing a great job? Part of what I’ve been working through in therapy is talking to myself in a more positive voice, so why reject affirmations during physical activity in a class such as this? After thinking a little bit, I found myself beginning to soften, beginning to relax. I realized I had nothing to prove to this instructor or these classmates – this class is for all levels and nobody cared if I’m wobbling during Warrior II.

I enjoyed the rest of the class and left feeling relaxed, renewed, and also curious about the power of affirmation in my daily life. Especially resonant with me was when she said, “I am going to give myself a second chance.” All too often when I fail at something it completely derails me. I’m a perfectionist by nature and when things don’t go perfectly, I find myself flailing, grasping for stability and telling myself what a failure I am and how much I suck.

And that, my friends, ain’t right. Shit happens. I can’t be perfect all the time–nobody can–and realistically, I can’t live a failure-free life. So perhaps affirmations are something I need to start focusing a little more on. Today, I abandon my old habits and take up new, more positive ones. Starting now, I will work little affirmations into my daily life. Here’s some of what I’ll start telling myself:

I am blessed with an incredible family and wonderful friends.

Though these times are difficult, they are only a short phase of life.

My efforts are being supported by the universe; my dreams manifest into reality before my eyes.

I radiate beauty, charm, and grace.

My obstacles are moving out of my way; my path is carved toward greatness.

I wake up today with strength in my heart and clarity in my mind.

I am at peace with all that has happened, is happening, and will happen.

My life is just beginning.

And I signed up for the empowerment & self-confidence yoga class again this week. 🙂

Do you use affirmation in your everyday life? What are some positive things you tell yourself to combat negative thinking and attitude?

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