By Bhavan Kumar and Faye Martins
Are happiness and the art of yoga connected? In 1998, I bought a book called The Art of Happiness, A Handbook for Living. The book begins with these words from the Dalai Lama: “I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.” In 2005, I attended a 4-day workshop entitled “The Art of Living.” This workshop focused on Pranayama breathing, meditation, and some simple yoga postures.
Yoga is the Way
The word art took on a different meaning when referred to as a way of life. I realized there is an artful way to approach life and yoga to achieve happiness. It suddenly made sense that finding the way to live with happiness, mindfulness, and health is an art form we can strive to develop.
Yoga can become a valuable tool on our journey to happiness. The Sanskrit word Sukha, mentioned several times in the Yoga Sutras, is often defined as bliss, happiness, or joy. Yoga can bring us to Sukha through breathing, meditation, and asanas. Happiness and the art of yoga have been connected in writing for centuries. People often equate happiness with pleasurable experiences, but this is only a tiny part of happiness.
Sukha is related to the serenity that comes from a balanced life, where we’re not constantly chasing after pleasurable experiences or trying to avoid pain. This doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy pleasurable experiences, but rather that our happiness isn’t dependent on them. We can find contentment and joy in the simple things in life, even when things are tough.
Breathing is an effective way to release toxins from our bodies. The breathing techniques in the art of yoga also help to restore our body and mind to the natural rhythms that create a sense of wholeness. By releasing toxins and reducing stress, conscious breathing is one clear path to pursuing happiness. When we are unhappy, our breathing is usually shallow and quick. This can lead to feeling more anxious and stressed. The good news is that we can use our breath to help us feel happier. All we have to do is practice any time during the day.
Deep and Slow Breath
Taking deep, slow breaths has a calming effect on the nervous system. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety. Deep breathing also helps to oxygenate the blood and improve circulation. This can lead to feeling more energetic and alert. Yoga is a great way to improve your breathing. Many different yoga poses can help to open up the chest and lungs. This can help you to breathe more deeply and easily. Yoga also helps to calm the mind and body, which can lead to feeling more relaxed and happy.
The practice of sitting with a quiet mind is very effective in the quest for contentment. Most of our unhappiness stems from the constant thoughts in our minds telling us that we are inadequate or causing us to fear the unknown. Just a few minutes a day of relief from this clatter is enough to create joy. Meditation is a powerful tool that can help you find happiness. It can be used to connect with your higher power, to find peace in the present moment, and to access your own inner wisdom.
When you meditate, you let go of all your thoughts and worries, and simply focus on your breath. This allows you to be in the present moment, which is where true happiness lies. There are many different ways to meditate, but one of the simplest and most effective is to focus on your breath. Let go of baggage, controlling, and judging as you practice meditation.
Sit or lie in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus on your breath going in and out. Don’t control your breath; just let it flow naturally and relax. If your mind starts to wander, bring it back to focus on your breath. You may also want to recite a mantra or positive affirmation during your meditation. The benefits of meditation are countless, but some of the most common ones include reduced stress and anxiety, improved sleep, increased concentration and productivity, and improved mental and physical health.
Yoga Poses (Asanas)
By mindfully joining our physical bodies with our minds, we create a sense of unity that will equate to a happier state of being. The art of Yoga also aids in resetting our parasympathetic nervous system, which results in the blissful feelings we often have after a session. Yoga is effective in promoting happiness and well-being. Many different yoga poses can help you to feel happier. Here are some of the best yoga poses for happiness:
1. Child’s Pose: This pose is calming and grounding. It helps to release tension and stress from the body and mind.
2. Cat/Cow Pose: This pose helps to increase flexibility in the spine and opens up the chest and lungs. It is also a great Stress Reliever Pose.
3. Downward Facing Dog Pose: This pose helps to stretch the entire body, including the back, hamstrings, calves, and feet. It also calms the mind and relieves stress and anxiety.
4. Extended Triangle Pose: This pose helps to improve balance and coordination while lengthening the spine, legs, and arms. It also promotes calming of the mind and emotions.
5. Warrior I Pose: This pose helps to build strength in the legs, arms, and shoulders while lengthening the muscles in the front of the body. It can also help increase energy levels and promote confidence and courage.
Does it work? I recently suffered a shoulder injury and took a four-month hiatus from my practice. I noticed a shift in my mood. Still not ready to return to the studio, I began practicing just 15 minutes a day at home. On the third day, while engaged in tree pose, I suddenly felt overwhelmed with a joy that I had not felt in a few months. Yes, I think it works. Happiness and the art of yoga are a beautiful partnership. Scientific verification is always good news for Yoga. A recent study has shown that practicing yoga can lead to happiness.
The study, conducted by the University of Waterloo, found that people who practice yoga report feeling happier and more content with their lives than those who don’t. The study surveyed 1,000 adults from across Canada, asking them about their physical health, mental health, and overall satisfaction with life. The findings showed that those who practiced yoga reported higher satisfaction with their lives and were more likely to say they were happy. The art of Yoga has long been associated with promoting mental and physical well-being, but this is the first study to look at yoga’s impact on happiness.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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