Where the new science of positive psychology meets the ancient practice of yoga.
This is an early sneak-peek of the upcoming Yogaspire course. The 7-day overview program outlines Yogaspire principles via daily emails for one week, provides a video describing three simple postures and the science behind each, and a worksheet to help you build awareness of the physical and psychological links.
The objective of the program is to introduce you to Yogaspire so you can:
- 1. Define positive psychology and yoga
2. Understand a conceptual model that combines both
3. Practice three simple postures
4. Learn the science behind each
5. Apply the practice using a worksheet that helps build awareness of the physical and the psychological.
Faculty – Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar and Megan McDonough
Based on science, the foundational principle of Yogaspire is that every psychological state has a physical corollary – and vice-versa. Because of this body-mind unity, we can create, enhance, and fortify psychological states through physical poses.
Yogaspire taps into the science from the emerging field of positive psychology (as well as other relevant advances in neurobiology, social sciences, and philosophy) and applies this knowledge in the context of yoga postures.
Yogaspire is not so much about therapy or healing as it is about fortifying and strengthening. Like the difference between conventional psychology (focuses on alleviating pain or depression) and positive psychology (focuses on enhancing well-being and prevention), Yogaspire consciously focuses on the natural wonder of the physical to affect the emotional.
If you are interested in a longer course, check out the Certificate in Positive Psychology.
Rest comfortably, take a few deep breaths, and let your mind wander to a particularly carefree or successful moment in your life. It could be finishing or winning an athletic event, closing a big deal or giving a great presentation, playing with your child, reading a book, walking in nature, or any other positive moment that stands out for you. As you replay it, consider and journal the following:
- What was the position of your body?
- How were you breathing?
- Where were your limbs in relation to your torso?
- What expression did you wear?
- How would you describe your emotions, attitude, outlook, and your psychological state?
- What, if any, connection was there between your physical and psychological state?
- Are there any lessons, insights, or curiosities as you consider the relationship between the physical and psychological?
Stand up and take a few deep breaths, in and out. Consider the psychological state of letting go, of surrendering and releasing. As you think about that state, what body movement or position epitomizes that for you? What does “letting go” look like from the body’s point of view? Move into that posture and explore it. Breathe into the pose, paying attention to the sense of feeling: muscles lengthening or contracting, and any wiggling or stillness that occurs. Notice. Stay in the pose as long as you like. After you come back to standing, journal about your experience.
Consider using this worksheet to practice Yogaspire daily, linking your physical posture to your desired psychological state.
- Carney, D.R., Cuddy, A.J.C. & Yap, A.J. "Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance." Psychological Science 21.10 (2010): 1363-368.
- Cacioppo, John T., Priester, Joseph R., & Berntson, Gary G. "Rudimentary Determinants of Attitudes: II. Arm Flexion and Extension Have Differential Effects on Attitudes." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 65.1 (1993): 5-17.
- Tracy, J. L., and Matsumoto, D. "The Spontaneous Expression of Pride and Shame: Evidence for Biologically Innate Nonverbal Displays." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105.33 (2008): 11655-1660.