Whenever a yoga client asks me for tips on how to lose weight, have more energy, look younger and so on, my first question to them is why? Why do you think you want what you are asking for? More often than not their answer is “to be happy”. Is looking good being happy? Or will getting rich guarantee happiness? What is happiness? And more importantly, what is a yogi’s way to happiness?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been asking my gurus/teachers only one question: “What is happiness?” After what seemed like an awfully long search for an answer, I derived my understanding of happiness: For me happiness revolves around four aspects of life.
Imagine a day when everything is going right for you but you are experiencing a splitting headache, would you feel happy? The answer is a definite NO. Our body is an extremely intelligent machine. It keeps giving us signals when something needs to be addressed. If the body is not healthy, we cannot function optimally. Life could become a burden for someone who constantly falls sick. Just like a machine that works all day, so does our body; so it is important to make sure that this machine gets high quality fuel, enough downtime and regular repair and maintenance i.e. good food, enough sleep and regular exercise.
I firmly believe that “Yoga is the only form of exercise that leaves you energised yet calm”. Even after doing 50 suryanamaskars [if done correctly], there is a sense of balance and calmness in the body and mind. So to me, physical wellbeing and freedom from illness is the foundation of happiness.
Sharing great relationships with your loved ones is a beautiful space to be in. As humans we need to have connection in our lives, people we love and people who love us back. We are after all social animals. Have you noticed how an argument with someone can be so draining for us? It can change our mental state immediately and make us uncomfortable. On the other hand, healthy and peaceful relationships are so comforting. If the relationships that matter most are healthy, we experience happiness within.
Sense of purpose
We all need a sense of purpose to drive us. Having something to look forward to every morning is a great motivation. It should just be something that you love doing and wish to do more of. This need not be categorised as right or wrong or something lofty that will change the world; as long as it makes you feel good, it fits the bill.
Don’t you feel drained when you do things just because you have to do them? Take a moment and think of your favorite activity, and remember that day when you didn’t have to push yourself even to wake up at 4am to do what you love doing.
If the journey is not interesting, it doesn’t matter how good the destination is. Life becomes boring unknowingly. Let’s assume you are on a long plane journey to an exotic destination with your loved one, and you get into an argument on the flight. What a bummer! It can ruin the whole vacation no matter how exciting the destination may seem. Similarly in life, if we focus on enjoying our present moment, life can be a lot simpler and enjoyable. If you enjoy every moment of your journey, life is rocking.
In my opinion, striking a balance between these four pillars is what brings happiness. When all of these are in place, we don’t need to chase happiness. We just have to live our life and these work as magnets that will attract happiness to you.
Would love to hear from you. Do write to me your thoughts on what brings you happiness.
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