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How I Use Yoga to Combat Negative Thoughts

It’s no secret that I love yoga. I love the movement, the strength, the flexibility, the relaxation, the calorie burn… And I love how it helps me combat negative thoughts.

I've been doing yoga off and on for years, but in 2018 I fully embraced the practice during I time I needed something uplifting and positive in my life. Little did I know what kind of impact yoga would have on my mental health and confidence.

The Need to Combat Negative Thoughts

Oh those nasty, ugly negative thoughts. They arise when I least expect them, causing me to lose confidence and decreasing my productivity and progress toward my goals. They can be simple or complex, but their goal is the same: To make me feel bad about myself and lose sight of my potential, divine worth, talent, and self love.

When do they show up? When you least expect it. They can show up when you’re on the top of the world, reeling from a great win or accomplishment or when you’re just beginning an endeavor and need all the confidence in the world to keep going.

I don’t know if the negative thoughts ever really stop coming, but I do believe we can combat them, and put them back in their place–the nasty corner of the universe where they belong.

The Power of Yoga to Combat Negative Thoughts

Yoga is more than just moving in and out of poses and breathing. It is a moving meditation, a way of life, and a teaching tool that can help us improve in many parts of our lives, including quieting negative thoughts. Here are the aspects of yoga that I use to help combat negative thoughts:


The movement in yoga can feel much like a dance as I move in and out of poses. As I focus on each pose, the negative thoughts have no room to take root. Sometimes they may arise when I’m practicing, but because I’m so focused on the asanas and moving my body, the negative thoughts quickly quiet and melt away.

Moving Meditation

Meditation is all about quieting the monkey mind, or the thoughts that are all over the place. It’s about letting go of thought and becoming present, with your mind centered on the here and now and what you’re currently doing. As I practice yoga, because my mind is focused on the poses, I find myself in a meditation, releasing the tasks and worries of the day and giving room in my mind only for the present. When I do this, negative thoughts, just as mentioned above in Movement, have nowhere to stay and they quickly dissipate.

Stillness or Still Meditation

Most yoga practices begin and/or end with stillness. Stillness can be found in savasana or corpse pose, or it can be found in a comfortable seated position. It can even be found when holding any asana.

Before a yoga practice, stillness invites me to come to the present and let go of the day’s worries and lists. After a practice, stillness allows me to find peace and connection to my present self. Practicing stillness in yoga is great training for finding stillness outside of yoga. When the negative thoughts arise, I can come back to the stillness I’ve been practicing, and use the meditation to quiet the negative thoughts.


Perhaps the biggest thing that attracted me to yoga was the visibility of progression. Each practice I could see myself getting better as I became stronger and more flexible. That progression became addicting and I haven’t been able to get enough. Many times the negative thoughts are all about tearing down our self esteem, telling us we can’t accomplish that thing. When those thoughts arise, I try to remember the progression I have made in other areas of my life. And since my progression in yoga is easily accessible, my mind goes to poses I’ve improved on and my progressing flexibility. Negative thoughts can’t compete with truth.


Yoga is all about the breath. The breath moves us in and out of poses. It helps keep us focused on the present. It calms the heart and encourages endurance. Outside of asana or pose practice, we practice different forms of breathing in yoga to purify and cleanse the mind. The breathing techniques I’ve learned have helped me in times of anxiety, when the negative thoughts are heightened. As I use what I’ve learned, I have been able to calm my thoughts and find peace.

Disclaimer: This is my experience only. If you experience severe or extreme anxiety, you should contact a doctor or therapist who has experience and training in helping individuals cope with anxiety.


As I work to come to the present in my yoga practice, I connect more with my body and mind. This has helped me learn to listen to my body and its needs–maybe not going so far in a pose to prevent injury, especially while pregnant, or understanding how a pose is affecting my body and mind. Sometimes when negative thoughts arise, listening can help us better understand what is really bothering us. The negative thoughts may be a bi-product of something deeper that we need to deal with or better understand.

Letting Go, Especially of the Ego

Have you ever been in a yoga class or a fitness class and you look around and see how well everyone else is doing, and your competitive nature gets the better of you, and you want to do just as well or better? Me too. Those are negative thoughts telling you you’re not good enough or need to show off or others are watching you. But as I’ve continued to practice yoga, I’ve learned the practice of letting go, especially of the ego. I’m not always great at it. I have a lot to learn in this area. But when I let go of the ego and focus on what I’m doing and forget what everyone else is doing, my practice is better, and the negative thoughts have nowhere to hide.

Try Yoga and See How It Works for You

Can you see why I love yoga so much? It’s multifaceted, teaching me so many things. Maybe it can work for you too. Try one of my free online classes, or check out one of these other awesome YouTube channels from amazing yogis.

And remember, you are beautiful, you are strong, and you can be and do anything.


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