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Yoga for Happiness

Posted Aug 25 2008 4:11pm
Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.

-Denis Waitley 391680775_5cc01c5822
Happiness was the subject of my Saturday yoga class. While we Americans have the right to pursue it, happiness is not mandatory in the land of the free (unless you were in class on Saturday). Most folks find it easy to conjure up visions and memories of the people, things or activities that make them happy only when they are physically comfortable. We might even shy away from certain activities because we think we'll be uncomfortable and thus, unhappy.

Yoga is a perfect illustration. The true genius of the Mother Sequence of yoga poses that I'm practicing , is it's emotional focus: joy and happiness upon inhaling, peace and calm while exhaling. When I was first learning the sequence, I was too concerned about the order of the postures and whether I was to inhale or exhale with a certain movement. Breathe in joy? When do I breathe in? I was focused on getting it right , rather than just getting it . I'm sure the instructions warned me, I just didn't hear it.

The more I practiced, I began to get it right, and then I got it: joy on the inhalation, peace on the exhalation. I began to see the possibilities in life off my yoga mat as well. In traffic, in pain, in the dark hours of the complete breath can bring me a balance of happiness and calm. I am certain that it will soon (with practice) become my default setting, a reflex emotion.

Don't think I'm at the top of my game though, there are some powerful variations to the Mother Sequence that I still want to learn and the process will start all over. The next time however, I intend to remain happy even when my body might be out of balance in a new pose and my nerves are struggling to decipher and carry the messages to and from my brain. Whatever I'm doing, I want my cells to interpret joy and learning, much like a child does; and not fear and doubt, like someone resigned to the process of aging.

Fake It Till You Make It: "Acting Chirpy Makes You Happy, Researchers Say"

Don't like "chirpy"?: 21 Ways of Becoming Happier

There's more: Practicing Gratitude Can Increase Happiness by 25%


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