How yoga trains us to feel unconditional happiness

    It is a nice idea to be happy all of the time, isn’t it? We think we may obtain it through certain experiences or when we get nice things. I know for myself that if something isn’t right, no amount of ‘stuff’ will ease that discomfort. Emotions come from a much deeper place than surface level. Happiness essentially comes from our heart. Within the yoga practice, we are able to learn the skills that can allow us to maintain happiness even when things are tough.

    I have been in so much pain that I have shut my heart down. In fact, before I started writing this article, I was experiencing pain in my heart. I was exhausted all day and it was hard to find joy or energy to even help myself. As I thought about what I wanted to share, I realized how important this message is. I felt it immediately as I began to type out these words. I know better. I know how to keep my heart open despite whatever troubles are occurring in life.

    I realized a while ago, through yoga, that there has never been a reason to close my heart down. It doesn’t matter what is happening in life. If you can keep your heart open, you can always have a glimpse of that happiness.

    It takes commitment

    Just as the practice of yoga takes commitment so does maintain unconditional happiness. The beautiful thing is when you begin to keep your heart open even in adversity; you begin to experience uplifting energy all the time. You won’t want to give up the feeling, ever. It takes staying conscious all the time. This is where both meditation and yoga give you an advantage. Learning to be mindful will allow you to feel what’s going on in your mind before it hits your heart and causes it to close.

    There has never been a rule that says we have to close our hearts when life gets tough. We try to protect our hearts from pain but really, you can let the pain pass through your heart. It’s strong enough to handle it and let it go. All the events and emotions that occur in our life are just objects. Some we see and let go of while some we choose to hold onto and let them leave their print on us. When you allow your heart to shut down and hold onto the objects, they become painful triggers. Instead, just say ‘yes’ to the pain as it arises with your heart open wide. You may cry, you may laugh. Either are both fine.

    Staying conscious

    The big secret to helping your heart out is to learn to keep the mind in check. It (the ego) may like to trick you into thinking it’s a good time to shut your heart down. If this happens, pick yourself back up. A slip can physically manifest as defending yourself, saying something negative, or feeling yourself shutting down. Other people around you shouldn’t be able to define your happiness. You have to manage your own ego trying to bring you down. Don’t allow other people to close your heart off.

    When happiness or unhappiness is dependent on someone else, that’s when you get into serious trouble. I have tried to please others in order to gain their adoration and love. When they gave me the love I wanted, I felt happy. When they didn’t, I closed my heart off to them. This feels awful and I always know it’s the wrong way. Things are going to happen and we will want to close our hearts but we hurt only ourselves.

    Meditating will remind you to keep your heart open

    When I have a hard time remembering that time is limited on this planet so I should enjoy my life, I meditate. This makes our center of consciousness stronger. We can protect our hearts in this way, by staying aware and letting go of whatever has the potential to shut us down. It’s all about letting go of the disturbance and not allowing the heart to close.

    You may notice when your heart gets tight. Breathe into that space and let it relax. Life outside of you is unfolding in its natural way. You can’t control it so you may as well roll with it in a joyful way.

    As you practice the art of keeping your heart wide open no matter what, your spiritual self will grow very quickly. That spiritual self will help you along your way so each aspect supports the other. This is what great sages and saints do. You can walk through your life without worrying about being disturbed regardless of what happens. When they say that it’s all an inside job, being happy, this is what ‘they’ mean.

    Yoga is the practice that helps the body, mind, and soul prepare for meditation. It will ease your heart and help you to become more mindful. Being centered and aware is how you will keep your heart from closing down. The heart is directly connected to your source of inner love, joy, and bliss. Let it shine so you can experience a beautiful feeling of energy and happiness no matter what happens.

    Meera Watts
    Meera Watts
    Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur, and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes, and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga.

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