What is an affirmation ?
Affirmations are positive statements about how we would like to be in our lives. They are keys to transforming the way we feel by altering the way we think. In your Dru Yoga class, you will often hear the teacher using affirmations during an EBR sequence, during or at the end of a posture. Along with visualisations, affirmations help us take our yoga beyond the physical body, to a deeper level of awareness in our mental and emotional body, anchoring our experience and making the effect of our practice stronger and longer-lasting. For example, in the Dru Sun Sequence, we may affirm “I am filled with the energising light of the Sun”.
A word about koshas
In the yogic tradition, different layers of our being are referred to as the koshas. There are 5 koshas, often drawn as circles, as in the diagram below.
Anamaya kosha = the food layer, our physical body
Pranamaya kosha = the energy body, often referred to as light/breath/prana/chi
Manomaya kosha = mental/emotional body, where we experience joy/peace or calmness
Vijnanamaya kosha = the wisdom layer, where feelings and thoughts are expressed as affirmations to manifest our dreams
Anandamaya kosha = the bliss layer, our inner being, can be experienced in relaxation or meditation
Through yoga, we move through the 5 layers, to reach our ultimate goal – bliss!
What makes a Dru yoga class different from an exercise class?
In Dru yoga, as well as guiding you through postures and movements (the physical body, or annamaya kosha), a Dru teacher will direct your focus to your breath or feelings of warmth or light (pranamaya kosha), affirmations (vijnanamaya kosha) and visualisations (vijnanamaya kosha) to allow you to move into the other energetic layers. By repeating a positive statement (either silently or aloud), we move our awareness to the level of the vijnanamaya kosha. In the Archer pose, we often visualise pulling our arrow across our heart, then letting our arrow release towards our target (goal, or heart’s desire) whilst affirming our goal.
Effective affirmations are:
- In the present tense – affirmations worded in the future will always remain in the future so will not manifest in our life now. “I observe my breath” rather than “I will try to watch my breathing”.
- Positive statements – “I am full of courage” rather than “I’m not afraid anymore”. The brain picks out the main word and focuses on it, so in the second example, it will hear ‘afraid’ more than it will hear ‘not’.
- Clear precise statements of our aims – Keep it simple. A vague affirmation will only produce a vague result. You may want to focus on one action such as “I move with compassion”, “I lighten up and have fun”. A one word affirmation may be “joy”, “gratitude” (for all the good things in my life), “peace” (for myself and others”, “self-love” (nurturing myself as I practise).
Our True Nature
In yoga, the Sanskrit word for affirmation is Sankalpa. Kalpa means ‘vow’ and San refers to connection with a higher truth. It is a resolution, or resolve, a statement you can call upon to guide your choices.
Affirmations have the power to convince us of our talents and potential (our true nature).
You already have the positive qualities you seek. Affirmations help you manifest those qualities.
How to work with Affirmations
- As well as incorporating the affirmations into the movement or meditation practice, it is good to keep them running through your mind as often as possible throughout the day. Repeat your Sankalpa when waiting for the kettle to boil, or when the adverts are on! Also spend a few minutes sitting quietly and repeating them in a focussed way. The more often they are used, the faster they work!
- The stronger the emotion, feeling and visualisation you put into your affirmation, the more successful it will be. As you affirm, simultaneously feel and see yourself standing in your power!