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Yoga and Positive Psychology, Part 2: What is Happiness?

by Sandy The Happy Family by Pablo PicassoAs I are addressed in my upright Yoga and Positive Psychology, Part 1, for me, yoga has been a happiness practice. Even on daytimes when I have to drag myself to my rug, I ever leave it feeling better, both physically and mentally. The finding that , no matter how my daytime is going, I have some sovereignty over both my responses to whatever comes along and my attitude overall has been very empowering for me. It’s also clear to me that the greater ease of living in my mas that has come from having a steady, longtime practise goes far beyond physical health; it elevates my climate and increases the quality of my life on a daily basis. This is a gift my yoga practice has given me, and at the same time, my rule feels like a talent I render myself every time I land on my mat. So, as I continue to explore the connections between yoga and positive psychology, it’s worth delving into what it means to be happy. Though happiness is a very subjective state and not an easy thing to define, one of the objectives of positive psychology is to do really that: define and quantify what constitutes prosperity. So I’d like to take a moment to talk about the positive psychology view. There was a thoughtful comment on my previous affix from a psychologist who stroked on the threats brought forward by some of the more superficial gives on positive psychology, namely that there can be a kind of “pushing of the positive.” I agree that focusing deeply on happiness may create a sense of pressure to always be happy or only look at the positive side of things, which is hardly reasonable for human being. There can also be shallow and/ or greedy aspects of emphasizing personal happy, specially when that comes at the expense of others.( These unquestionably are potential dangers of the delight action, especially–and this is yet another commonality between positive psychology and modern yoga–some of the more superficial approachings that have arisen with the attempts to commercialize it .) Positive psychology addresses these concerns pate on by distinguishing between hedonic and eudaemonic joy. Both calls originate from Ancient Greek philosophy, a major influence on how positive psychology views what it means to live well. Hedonic happiness is defined as existing in the pleasant state of is in conformity with a good mood and enjoying life( the well-known term hedonist generally refers to someone whose life revolves around their own amusements ). Eudaemonic happiness, in differ, describes a deeper suffer of gaiety, one that is derived from living a life centered on fulfillment, representing, determination, and striving to become one’s best self and to contribute to the well-being of others. As someone who attains a great deal of indulgence in ordinary amusements of daily life–a good book and a good banquet and I’m moderately happy–I can attest to the fact that hedonic happy, while pleasant, is not necessarily fulfilling in the long run. The focus of positive psychology is on cultivating eudaemonia, the more complex and profound view of happy. In addition to providing my study of positive psychology, my yoga practice has also influenced my thoughts about what gaiety is, which have changed and evolved over the years. Eastern and Western concepts of happiness differ quite a bit. Eastern doctrines tend to emphasize calmer territories, such as contentment and equanimity. Western culture on the other hand more often spurs us seeking to obtain higher high-flowns, territory of bliss and delight, more lively passions that yoga examines as unsustainable and fleeting, and thus a likely movement of future woe. This is a contrast between what psychologists would call lower and higher alter positive ardours. And it is true that those high-pitched change positive passions are often based on external cases, while the more serene countries of contentment and equanimity is even more internally based and somewhat more within our own mastery. This distinction became more important when, a number of years ago, I had a serious health scare, one that fetch me face to face with my own mortality and the uncertainty of life. While I am a naturally high-spirited, even exuberant, party and my rule has often been a joyful experience for me, during that time it became more of a comforting recourse and source of spiritual nourishment. This are once again been true during the course of its world state crisis and quarantine. While I’ve continued to practice through this time, I’ve gravitated toward a soothing, alleviating coming incorporating more pranayama and meditation rather than an stimulating rehearse focused on challenging asanas. So, I’ve knew for myself, within the context of my yoga practice, the difference between discovering a regime of bliss and a sense of cultivating acceptance and nonchalance. I think this will likewise serve me well as I continue to adapt my practice to the natural reforms that come with aging. I have been previously ascertained the yamas and niyamas in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras especially handy navigates for growing equanimity. One( somewhat embarrassing) instance of this is in the moment where I am persuasion to fiat a brand-new dress online( or anything else I might miss but definitely don’t need ). Well, the truth is I might very well succumb, but evenly I might recall the yama aparigraha, which urges non-hoarding and non-greed, or that niyama santosha, gratification, and make a different pick. I too might remind myself that there is more contentment to be found on my yoga matting or more fulfillment to be found in making a donation or curing someone else than in buying something I don’t need. In point, I have found that rehearsing abbreviates itches in general; I regularly find myself in a state of greater calm, equanimity and following following the completion of a practice session. While which action I go depends on the day, yoga has given me awareness of a fuller compas of selects, and, at least sometimes, the infinite to choose consciously rather than reflexively. Although it may be a bit trite, I think it is the precept that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. I have always gravitated more toward the Tantric Yoga approach than classical yoga ideology or Buddhism, for that matter, which is favourite with many modern yoga practitioners. Tantra Yoga, which is about realizing our sanctity and our connection to all animate thing, has always reverberated strongly for me. I think of it as adopting the sacredness of utterly everything, including the entire physical world and our own physical quintessence. While the ultimate objective of classical yoga is to move beyond the individual self altogether, I was not willing to dismiss the value of this life. Like most Westerners, practicing as a “householder” for the tremendous health benefits–both physical and mental–is sufficient for me. In information, I have a number of concerns around the suggestion that wanting or purity are to be found elsewhere, in some other realm beyond our physical cosmo, a predict that has been a pitfall of many ideologies and belief, a the reasons for horrific problems and medication of others in this one. And although growing serenity improves me on a personal level, I don’t believe we should extend that to accepting injustice and suffering in the world with a philosophical shrug. Whether we’re alone on a boulder scooting through a gigantic, empty-bellied universe or our proximity now on earth is part of a much larger schema that is invisible to our human gazes, our very existence, both individually and collectively, is a marvelous knack. Personally, I can’t ascertain the part in being here if not to make the most of that ordeal, to be fully human in and of the world. This necessitates working to realize our full potential, to be our best selves, to care for each other and work for a better world–one that decreases the digest of our fellow humans. So, the Karma Yoga path, which is about serving others and working to create a better world, constitutes more feel to me than striving for detachment from earthly concerns. Positive psychology research has found that giving to others, whether that’s volunteer work or random acts of kindness, benefits the giver just as much or more than the recipient, and that the improved feelings well-being this type of pas can give us even has a positive effect on our physical health, protecting us from the untoward physiological effects of stress and boosting our immune methods. This finding of interconnected well-being feels very much in keeping with the spirit yoga to me. While the ultimate goal of yoga is enlightenment, it is also intended to decrease suffering, and to support both physical and spiritual well-being as a foot for realizing this higher goal. We have more to contribute when we ourselves are flourishing, and the tools of both yoga and positive psychology can help with this. Few will achieve enlightenment, but an earthly knowledge of improved well-being and genuine pleasure may be available to many.For information about Sandy’s castes, writing, and positive psychology tour at to Yoga for Healthy Aging by Email deg Follow Yoga for Healthy Aging on Facebook deg To seek Yoga for Healthy Aging: A Guide to Lifelong Well-Being, go to Amazon, Shambhala, Indie Bound or your regional bookstore.

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