Achieve Your Goals With Visualizations

Tree in fieldNo Yoga practice is complete without relaxation at the end. Guided visualizations can help you relax, but they can also help you achieve your goals. For example, in one of my next workshops, the image of Planting a Seed is used to help set an intention for the new year and develop plans to make that intention a reality.

Guided visualizations can be looked up in books or listened to on CDs and Apps – but have you ever considered creating your own? It is not difficult. In fact, it is enjoyable and rewarding. By following these few simple guidelines, you can tailor-make a visualization for yourself.

  1. Think about what your visualization is all about

    Would you like to relax, reduce stress, improve your health, build confidence, overcome a fear, achieve a goal, shine during a performance, lose weight, manage pain, make up with a friend, prepare for an interview, pass an exam? Visualizations can be a powerful tool to help you achieve these goals (a picture says more than a thousand words!). When I was still working as a stress counsellor, I taught the art of visualizing regularly to my clients so they could find solutions to their problems, or simply release tensions and worries.

  2. Chose an image, which resonates with you and which links to your goal.

    For example, if you want to use a visualization to relax, what relaxing image could you use? It could be a calming, beautiful place. For some, this might be a beach. For others, a beach is the last thing they find enjoyable and they would prefer imagining a park or garden or a particular room at home.

    Alternatively, you can use a visualization to prepare for a particular situation, like sitting an exam or going to an interview. Simply imagine that situation with detail, imagine doing well, handling difficulties with confidence, and enjoying the wonderful feeling of achievement afterwards.

  3. Include all senses.

    There is more to visualizations than pictures in your mind. Other senses can be involved, too, like smell, touch, taste, hearing and movement. You can practice this by recalling sensory situations. For example, the sound of a car passing by, the sensation of rain falling on your hand, the smell of coffee, the laughter of children, the movements while running, the sight of a rainbow.

  4. Keep it simple and positive.

    Stick with one image (even if there are lots of different places you may find relaxing). Find positive, supportive, helpful key words that underline your theme and include them into your visualization. For relaxation this could be calm, comfortable, at ease, happy.

  5. Set aside time.

    10 – 15 minutes is a good timeframe at the beginning. Make sure, you will be undisturbed. Chose a comfortable place and sit or lie down. Stretch out a bit and then commit to stillness. Close your eyes if that feels all right. Focus fully on creating your visualization. If you are worried about losing track of time, you could set an alarm.

All you need now is confidence in your own creativity.

Example visualization

Have a look at this visualization, which is inspired by Tree Pose Vrksasana:

Imagine that you are going for a walk in a wonderful park, the kind of park you like. Even the weather is the kind of whether you like, not too hot and not too cold. Imaging a gentle breeze brushing your face. Notice the colours around you, the different shades of green, specks of red or yellow or purple flowers. Feel the firm ground beneath your feet. Imagine the soft twittering of birds. Take a deep breath. Relax. Allow yourself to breathe freely and enjoy this visualization. This is your time.

Now notice to your right a tall strong tree. Imagine that you walk over to that tree to observe it more carefully. As you are coming closer you can notice the roots spreading deep into the ground to firmly anchor the tree. Standing in front of the tree you can touch the trunk and feel how strong and firm it is. When you look up, you can see the branches, reaching up into the sky. Aren’t the leaves beautiful as they move in the wind and reflect the sunlight?

Visualize the whole tree: beautiful, strong, full of energy, health and strength. Imagine yourself like that tree – beautiful and strong, full of energy and health. Imagine yourself firmly rooted and grounded. With a trunk that gives you strength and support. With branches to reach up to your dreams. With branches to reach out to other people. Imagine the energy of the sun penetrating through your skin, gently warming every single muscle in your body. Feel every single cell in your body absorbing warmth and energy. Any tensions are dissolving, releasing. Feel your body softening. Feel the movement of your breath, allow it to soothe your whole body.

The soul never thinks without a picture.
(Aristotle)