Have you ever heard the words 'change your thoughts, change your life'? Studies have shown that having a positive mindset can impact you in even more ways than you might think. A positive inner dialogue or positive reinforcement from another can effect how your body performs physically as well as improve your mental health.
It may not come as a surprise that muscle memory is developed in the brain. However we are even more likely to develop successfully if the learning experience is backed up by some good old positive reinforcement. Imagine a baby learning to walk, everyone is stood around clapping and cheering to let them know they are doing an awesome job, where as if you were to completely ignore the event the baby's brain wouldn't register it in the same way. This tells us that our emotions influence our learning and memory.
We can use this to our advantage in our yoga or movement practice by eliminating the negative self talk such as "I have bad balance" as no one is naturally born with more/less balance than someone else it could be as simple as that person with great balance has trained there muscles to believe they are well balanced and in result they are!
With muscle memory we have a general understanding that it is developed through the repetition of movements until they require no conscious input on your part, such as walking or driving a car. We also know our minds can learn negative movement patterns, such as poor posture or a bad habit in sports - with some structure and help from a professional these patterns can be re programmed. So perhaps we can treat our thoughts in the same way.
We all have an inner dialogue and it likely changes pretty regularly as we react to the world around us. Some of our thought patterns will be very deeply ingrained and you may not even realise the reason behind why you are responding to things in a particular way. The first step towards developing a more positive inner voice is to recognise your automatic narratives and try not to entertain the negative ones so often. Instead start repeating some positive dialogue regularly and watch how it will become new mental muscle memory.
In my own day to day life I experience huge fluctuations in mood some days I wake up feeling super confident and ready to take on anything and then by the afternoon want to curl up on the couch with some crisps and have a good cry. I think it's important to make steps towards having a more positive dialogue towards ourselves, without feeling pressured to feel a certain way as all emotions serve a purpose.
Before becoming a yoga teacher I feared I wasn't able to do it as I wasn't 'happy' enough to fit the super smiley stereotype. However my experience has been different, simply telling people to be happy or to think positively won't work, in fact we need to be guided into our own experience of moving, breathing and thinking in a way that makes us feel wonderful and in result both our body and mind will start to make positive changes.