Pratipaksha Bhavana

This week we’ve been talking about Pratipaksha Bhavana. It is the practice of replacing a negative thought with a positive one – and you don’t have to be able to pronounce it to do it! As I’ve mentioned often in class, your thoughts affect your body. Negative thoughts trigger stress hormones, which then take energy away from the optimal functioning of systems such as digestion, reproduction, and your immune system.

When you find yourself caught in a negative thought pattern – perhaps it’s a repeating loop that gets you wound up – look for an opposite phrase that resonates positively in your body. Stay tuned in to this feeling-tone. Repeat this phrase as often as you can.

In the article Training Your Mind to Reduce Stress by Alice Park, published in Time magazine’s issue on Alternative Medicine, Amit Sood of the Mayo Clinic’s Stress Management and Resiliency Training (SMART) informs us that thoughts are neural pathways or grooves in the brain. Thought habits are deeply worn grooves! New neural pathways can be created when you redirect your thoughts toward a desired intent. So get groovy and think positive!


Published by Michelle

Michelle Stortz, C-IAYT, ERYT500, MFA, is a certified yoga therapist specializing in yoga for cancer and chronic illness. She teaches in numerous medical settings throughout the Philadelphia area. Michelle also teaches mindful meditation. She has been studying in the Theravadan Buddhist tradition for the past 15 years and has also trained in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction curriculum. She leads retreats and group classes and works with individuals in private sessions.

%d bloggers like this: