Turn Your Viewpoint Upside Down: A Yoga Practice for Fresh Perspective

There was a farmer whose horse ran away. That evening the neighbors gathered to commiserate with him since this was such bad luck. He said, “May be.”

The next day the horse returned, but brought with it six wild horses, and the neighbors came exclaiming at his good fortune. He said, “May be.”

And then, the following day, his son tried to saddle and ride one of the wild horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. Again the neighbors came to offer their sympathy for the misfortune. He said, “May be.”

The day after that, conscription officers came to the village to seize young men for the army, but because of the broken leg, the farmer’s son was rejected. When the neighbors came in to say how fortunately everything had turned out, he said, “May be.”

(Source: Tao: The Watercourse Way, by Alan Watts)

I love this Taoist story because I think that it illustrates the concept of cognitive reappraisal (pratipaksha bhavana) beautifully. The way we feel and how we react truly is a matter of perspective.

In this yoga practice, you literally turn your point of view upside down and then reframe it in a different way. This practice uses movement, breath awareness, chanting and meditation to release body tension and clear your head. It gives you a chance to view your current issue from several other perspectives in hopes of assigning a different meaning to your current challenge.

This practice is pretty strong and might not be appropriate for you if you have shoulder and wrist issues. Please use suggested pose modifications or just skip the poses that call for bearing weight on your hands.

Fresh Perspectives Yoga Practice

Pratipaksha Bhavava Practice

Another yoga practice to inspire cognitive reappraisal with Olga Kabel – Let it Go: The Gateway to Serenity in Yoga Practice

Study with Leslie Howard and YogaUOnline: Surprising Truth About Pelvic Floor Disorders – And How Yoga Can Help.

Reprinted with permission from Sequence Wiz.

Olga KabelEducated as a school teacher, Olga Kabel has been teaching yoga for over 14 years. She completed multiple Yoga Teacher Training Programs but discovered the strongest connection to the Krishnamacharya/ T.K.V. Desikachar lineage. She had studied with Gary Kraftsow and American Viniyoga Institute (2004-2006) and received her Viniyoga Teacher diploma in July 2006 becoming an AVI-certified Yoga Therapist in April 2011. Olga is a founder and managing director of Sequence Wiz- a web-based yoga sequence builder that assists yoga teachers and yoga therapists in creating and organizing yoga practices. It also features simple, informational articles on how to sequence yoga practices for maximum effectiveness. Olga strongly believes in the healing power of this ancient discipline on every level: physical, psychological, and spiritual. She strives to make yoga practices accessible to students of any age, physical ability and medical history specializing in helping her students relieve muscle aches and pains, manage stress and anxiety, and develop mental focus.


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