Thinking Violent Thoughts? Find Peace Through Yoga

I started practicing yoga about ten years ago and it’s now a permanent part of my life. No matter how tired, cranky, or stressed I am, if I go to my yoga mat, I feel better, 100% of the time. And you don’t have to contort yourself into a pretzel or fall into a deep transcendental meditation that only the Dalai Lama could match…all you have to do is breath.

And if you want to, you can stretch. And if that feels good, breath and stretch at the same time, easy or more rigorous. If you listen to your body, it will tell you exactly what it needs in any given moment.

This is the story of yoga and how it can help us be kinder to ourselves and add more peace to our lives. 

To help tell this story, I spoke to Pauline Kaplan, who is a gifted Ashtanga yoga instructor in Minneapolis, MN. Beyond yoga, Pauline is a wealth of talents to include everything from transformational psychotherapy to a master Reiki practice. Click on the video below to watch part one of our two-part interview.

In part two, I continue my discussion with Pauline  regarding how we can take our yoga practice to the next level – using the yoga definition and some go-to yoga poses for quieting thoughts and relaxation. Click on the video below to watch:

To learn more about Pauline and her practice, yoga classes, workshops, and retreats, visit her website at

Post a thought: Do you practice yoga and if so how have you benefited from it? Are there any go-to poses that you rely on to relieve stress and restore inner peace? Would you like to try yoga, but feel held back?

Your challenge: Your challenge is, first, to monitor your thoughts! Is your inner dialogue ever unkind to you? Can you try to catch that inner dialogue and instead focus on your breath or a kind thought? And second, if you’ve never tried yoga, would you consider giving it a shot? I’m a huge fan of It’s only $18/month and they have classes for all levels, all durations (from 5 to 90 minutes), and styles. If you need more convincing on the health benefits of yoga, then check out this fabulous article from Jen Reviews:

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Remember, it’s the little changes we make in our daily life that brings greater peace to the whole.

6 replies
  1. Jenni
    Jenni says:

    I just began practicing yoga on a semi-consistent basis (2-3 times per week) and the impact on my mood, my thoughts, and my overall sense of well-being is remarkable. I want to take what I’m learning about the breath and start applying it in other difficult situations instead of going into the negative thinking cycle…

    • Allyson
      Allyson says:

      Jenni! So happy to hear!! I remember when we attended yoga together many moons ago. And you’re absolutely right, there is something magical about how yoga incorporates the breath into physical movement and guides us away negative thinking.

  2. Stella
    Stella says:

    I have been practicing yoga for many years now, but really, every practice is different and it always surprisese how my body and mind react to it. Sometimes I am so exhausted or frustrated, that I have to force myself to yoga practice, but I never regret it. You don’t have to force you to an advanced class if you feel more like meditation or a slow flow class. It only matters that you go there and remain open for the experience. In comparison to other “sports”, yoga is no sport or competition, although it always also challenges (and shapes, girls!!!;-)) your body. The most important part to me about yoga is that it changes your perspective. It lets your mind leave your body – you relax and realize that all the real world problems are really only tiny pieces in a huge universe – to finally bring it back and in a much more balanced manner they are reunited. Just give it a try and it will change your life!!

  3. Allyson
    Allyson says:

    Stella – this is beautiful and I couldn’t agree more. I am a competitive person by nature and yoga has really helped me to keep my ego out of it (and I still work on this). Thank you for your encouraging words.

  4. Guthrie
    Guthrie says:

    The mindfulness of yoga and meditation seem key to addressing many of the hurtful things we do to ourselves, others, the planet, etc. Most people are not setting out to be cruel, selfish, or harmful, they just aren’t thinking about the consequences of their actions and words. They simply are acting and it is only after they see the results that the consequences are brought home to them. And much of this thoughtlessness comes from doing too much, too quickly, all at the same time. We’ve lost the talent of taking a breath and focusing on a single thing – for making space between thoughts. We need more reminders to experience life.

    • Allyson
      Allyson says:

      Beautifully said! Peace and kindness towards oneself is a fundamental aspect of yoga, which is one of the many reasons why it is such a powerful practice. And those of you who don’t already practice yoga must know that it’s not about complicated poses — it’s about what you’re describing: breathing and making space between thoughts. It’s a powerful thing!


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