If you’ve ever shown even the least bit of interest in the people who practise Yoga regularly, you may have noticed how calm, serene and happy they all seem. Well that’s because Yoga can make us happy.
A lot of our unhappiness comes from external influences; living in this busy, materialistic and social media driven world we always feel we don’t have enough or worse still we don’t feel we are enough so end up working more, spending more, searching more for what will make us happy. We then find ourselves in the predicament of reaching what it is that was going to make us happy, finding that once we have “that” thing we then start looking for the next thing that is going to make us even happier and on it goes. The bigger house, the bigger boat, the flasher car, the next must have Gucci bag, the dream holiday. We all need to have a bit of this in our lives as they bring us pleasure and pleasure and desire are 2 basic needs of human beings, but we also need to appreciate what we have and hold onto them for a little longer, before they get upgraded.
Yoga teaches that what makes us truly happy is already within us, we just need to take the time to check in and reconnect with what makes us us. We move, react and think too quickly, never giving ourselves time to settle and work out what it is that would truly bring us joy from an internal rather than external perspective. What is it that makes our heart sing and makes our lives worthwhile. We won’t know all of this until we learn to sit quietly with ourselves and listen. Yoga gives us the tools of movement (asana), breath (pranayama) and meditation to help us tap into our physical self (what makes the body happy), Emotional self (what makes our mind happy) and energetic self (what balances out our energy) and once we have a handle on these deeper expressions of our being we can start to feel happier with our external self. Yoga gives us the ability to “Calm our Farm!”
That may all sound a little too esoteric to some reading this article, but Yoga also has scientific and chemical reactions on the body and mind too. Studies have shown that the Brains gamma aminobutyric (GABA) levels spike after just 1 hour of Yoga. Higher levels of GABA are associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety. So even going to one Yoga class can help improve your mood by changing the brains chemistry. Yoga also stimulates the Vagus Nerve, stimulating our Parasympathetic Nervous System leaving us feeling more relaxed, calm and together. Making us a nicer and happier person to be around. There are so many scientific facts backing the positive effects of Yoga, Google can help you if you need more.
In Yoga there is often reference paid to Patanjali’s Sutras which is essential a roadmap on how to guide yourself through life with wisdom and grace. There have been many interpretations of the Sutras and their meaning but one that bodes well with this article is:
Sutra 1.2 Yogas Citta Vritti Nirodah – Yoga is the mastery of the minds fluctuations
“The greatest adventure of our lives is discovering our true nature, who we really are. And our true nature is expressed by our core beliefs, values and passions not what our friends, family or society expect of us. When we know and accept our true self, we experience peace and clarity. We stay grounded and connected to the moral compass that defines us. And we can make the most of our unique qualities and skills; we make the most of our potential. The trick is that we like to play games with the mind. So when we put the games back in the box, we begin the discovery process of who we truly are. This is Yoga” Living the Sutras by Kelly Dinardo and Amy Pearce – Hayden
This sutra defines Yoga as mastery over the fluctuations (games) of the mind and when the mind becomes steady and calm, we will discover our true nature, and this is where we will start to find what fulfills and makes us happy.