In the pursuit of personal and professional development, fostering a growth mindset is essential. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a mindset is “a person’s way of thinking and their opinions.” A growth mindset is one that allows for embracing challenges, learning from failures, and pursuing improvement. In this blog post, we’ll explore a growth mindset and its benefits, especially for parents and working professionals. We’ll also outline five ways in which yoga can play a transformative role in cultivating it, both on and off the mat.
5 Ways Yoga Can Help Cultivate a Growth Mindset
Understanding a Growth Mindset
Carol Dweck, a Stanford University professor of psychology and leading growth mindset researcher, distinguishes between a fixed and a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the belief that abilities can be developed through dedication, hard work, and learning. In contrast, a fixed mindset revolves around the idea that abilities are innate and unchangeable. Individuals with a growth mindset see setbacks as temporary and view effort as a path to mastery. On the other hand, those with a fixed mindset may avoid challenges and fear failure. They perceive effort as fruitless if success does not come easily.
In a fixed mindset, students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset, students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching, and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.
Benefits of a Growth Mindset
Let’s now delve deeper into the benefits of a growth mindset and explore how yoga can contribute to cultivating it.
Enhanced Learning and Skill Development
A growth mindset is based on the idea that you can develop any skill and gain any knowledge you want. This makes learning a driving force for personal development.
A growth mindset considers personal weaknesses as chances for improvement and not as something to be ashamed of. Such an outlook is very beneficial for increasing self-esteem and self-worth.
Openness to Feedback
People with a growth mindset are open to constructive feedback. They are not afraid of being criticized. They value criticism as a tool for personal and professional growth and as a chance for improvement.
The ability to accept feedback and learn from it improves interpersonal communication. In turn, it strengthens relationships and fosters collaboration, both at home and in the workplace.
Individuals with a growth mindset perceive effort as a crucial part of the learning process. They believe that hard work and dedication will eventually pay off and help them achieve their goals. This fuels their motivation to keep going and not give up.
Resilience and Adaptability
A growth mindset encourages individuals to view challenges as opportunities for learning and growth. Rather than seeing setbacks as permanent failures, those with a growth mindset bounce back and adapt. This helps to build stress resilience, a crucial skill for parents facing the chaos of raising children and professionals navigating career challenges.
How Yoga Cultivates a Growth Mindset
Mindfulness and Self-awareness
Yoga emphasizes mindfulness. It encourages us to be present in the moment and observe our thoughts without judgment. In this way, we can recognize fixed thought patterns and create space for a more open and growth-oriented mindset.
Rephrasing often breaks down entrenched thought patterns, opening doors to fresh solutions. So, instead of repeating, ‘I don’t have time for yoga; work and parenting are too demanding’, try saying, ‘I prioritize self-care through yoga, finding space in my busy schedule.’
Aparigraha, one of the Yamas (ethical guidelines) in yoga philosophy, is often translated as ‘non-attachment’ or ‘non-grasping’. It can be understood as letting go of attachment to material possessions, desires, and ego-driven ambitions. By practicing aparigraha, we can shift our focus from fixed expectations to the journey of self-discovery and growth.
Consider this shift: Instead of thinking, ‘Yoga won’t be useful for managing work stress and parenting challenges,’ try reframing it to, ‘Yoga provides me with effective tools for handling stress, nurturing a positive mindset for both work and parenting.’
Here’s another example. You might say, ‘My body has changed since having kids; I can’t regain my pre-parenting fitness level.’ Alternatively, you can reframe it as, ‘I embrace the changes in my body and strive to become a healthier, stronger version of myself.’ Notice the contrast?
Breath Awareness and Stress Reduction
The practice of yoga involves breath awareness and controlled breathing techniques (pranayama). This helps to enhance emotional regulation. As a result, we are more open to new perspectives and more prepared to face challenges.
Yoga poses often push us out of our comfort zones. Being ready to face physical challenges teaches us to approach difficulties on and off the mat with curiosity rather than fear. Thus, yoga is a great tool for developing mental resilience.
Many of us practice yoga in a community setting, either online or in a studio. This sense of community provides support and encouragement. Moreover, it creates an environment where individuals feel safe to take risks, make mistakes, and learn. These are all essential elements of a growth mindset.
Yoga serves as a great tool for cultivating a growth mindset. It teaches us resilience, adaptability, and a continuous commitment to learning and growth. Through mindfulness, asana practice, breath awareness, and yoga philosophy, we can develop the mindset needed to navigate the complexities of parenting and professional development.
Are you interested in yoga, fitness, and personal development? So am I! Are you trying to juggle parenthood and work? Me too! In my blog, I write about all these topics (and more!) as I want to help working parents find energy, strength, and balance in life.