Having thoughts during yoga is very normal. They are there to tell you something. You can have different types of thoughts. In this blog we dive a bit deeper into the common four ánd how you can learn from them!
1. Thoughts relating to negative self-talk
You might not be fully aware of it, but during our days we -in our mind- talk a lot to ourselves. What we say to ourselves is not always that kind. Thoughts like:
- “How in the world is (s)he doing that, I will never be able to do that.”
- “I am not flexible enough.”
- “Why can’t I even do a simple thing as that, I am such a failure.”
Or any of such forms and with varying degrees -depending on the person-, are all negative self-talk. All these kind of thoughts are talking yourself down: you say to yourself that you are less then you should be. If you notice these kind of thoughts, it means that you (still) have high expectations for yourself. You don’t yet fully accept the way you are.
Especially within the types of yoga where the focus lies on asanas (body postures), you will learn to see how you think and act on the limits that your very own body has. Observe these thoughts, become aware of how you talk to yourself and when you notice any slight negativity, be more loving and kind to yourself and body.
2. Thoughts that will push yourself over the limits of your body
With thinking we are not good enough, also come thoughts that make you push yourself over your limits. These kind of thoughts, like: “This is hurting me, but she can do it, too, so I need to do it just like that.” Are even sometimes followed by some more negative self-talk: “If I can’t do this, I am such a failure.”
While there is in essence nothing wrong with pushing ourselves a little bit -when you step out of one of your comfort zones, there has been some slight pushing- pushing ourselves, out of fear for failure and rejection, because we will otherwise hate ourselves, is not the right kind of pushing!
What you need to do is listen to your body, listen to your limits. Respect it and accept it. Self-acceptance is key. Notice any slight form of pain? Don’t push yourself further. Pain in your body, during yoga or on any moment for that matter, is saying that you are crossing -or have crossed- the line.
3. Thoughts that are self-conscious
All our thoughts are connected in one way or another. Thinking negative thoughts about ourselves and pushing past our limits, mean that we focus a lot on our outside world. Growing up we may have looked at persons we found inspiring, that were our role models. What they said, we believed. What they were able to do, we wanted, too. Or surroundings have set a standard. When you, for example, have been bullied or have seen people been bullying, you have “learned” that you should live up to that standard – or else… It is self-preservation.
But with that, we have learned to not accept ourselves as who we are. We have grown self-conscious, because when we are not… Well, we might be that person to get bullied. To have no friends. To have a horrible live.
Because we have grown so self-conscious, we are constantly analyzing ourselves and others during our yoga and in our daily lives. Some possible self-conscious thoughts:
- “Is my belly not hanging out?”
- “Is anyone looking at me?”
- “Do I look good in this position?”
In other words, we are busy what other people think of us. This is something you need to become aware of. You need to learn to set up your own standards that work for you!
4. Thoughts about other things than this moment
When you’re doing your yoga practice, there is only that. There is only this moment. This moment, where you are being with yourself, with your body, it’s movements, with all of you. Well, sometimes the mind has it’s own say and you will find yourself thinking about all the other things that are not in this moment. Thoughts like:
- What you’re going tot do afterwards;
- How you should react to that WhatsApp message you received;
- Things you shouldn’t forget to do (tip: take a pen and paper when you’re doing yoga, so to be able to write them down);
- That will repeat “things of the past”, like that one conversation you had, where you probably should have said somethings differently.
Like all the thoughts we have, these also have things to say to us. Already busy with the rest of your day? That could be a sign that you’re overplanning yourself. Repeating past conversations in your head? That could be a sign that you need to take some space to really let it be, you probably haven’t fully gone through the emotions of that moment. When you recognize you are thinking about things other than in that moment, observe the thoughts and try to see what you can learn from them.
I hope to have given you an insight in the different types of thoughts you can have during your yoga practice – or in your daily for that matter. Like said before, having thoughts during yoga is a very normal thing. Don’t try to push them away, because these thoughts can tell us a great deal about ourselves: about how kind we are to ourselves and to others, about how we (re)act and in what we need. But remember, not all our thoughts are true! Some thoughts we have come to believe as true due to our past – those are thoughts (unconsciously) holding us back.
Want to dive deeper into the thoughts you have during yoga, or any other movement practice? Our Movement Practitioner Program will help you become more aware of your thoughts, it’s effect on you and will help you learn how to break loose from the ones holding you back.