I often say in class that the hardest pose we practice is being ourselves. Another truth I share is that the body doesn’t lie. When we’re in a pose on our mats, it’s just us standing or sitting there on the mat; there are no excuses to be made or fingers to be pointed. However, we have to acknowledge our true feelings on the mat as there’s no denying who we are and where we are in our individual lives at any given moment. Through the practice of yoga we learn to be self-cognizant and responsible for our feelings and happiness.
Swami Vivekandanda says, “We are responsible for what we are and whatever we wish ourselves to be. We have the power to make ourselves.“ In the Yoga Sutras the very first one is translated as, “Now begins the study of yoga.” Chapter 1 Verse 1 defines the concept of facing who we are and being ready to accept the responsibility that comes with learning and exploring who we really are. Plainly stated, we are the only ones with control over our actions and who we become. Yoga teaches us to be accountable, which is the key to accessing the true power of yoga and transforming our lives.
When we’re on the yoga mat we’re accountable to be present to every sensation taking place each moment. This accountability–and the state of being present–directly correlate to the appreciation for our life’s blessings.
Be vigilant of the following three habits that jeopardize our acceptance of responsibility:
- The tendency to make comparisons
- Living in your future’s wish list and not appreciating your present life
- Complaining about your present–whether it be your career, relationship, or any other factor
We must remember that we always have a choice. The choices we made yesterday need not hold us back from choosing a better today. Instead, practice hoping for and assuming the best possible outcome and it will follow. Barbara Frederickson, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, explains that positive emotions allow us to see more, whereas negative emotions tend to narrow our thinking. Physically speaking, our bodies are programmed to allocate energy into two buckets–fight or flight. Both are emotionally translated into fear or love. The bucket we make the most deposits of energy into will grow. To share an investment term, think of it as our Happiness Return on Investment, or HROI.
Only you hold the key and responsibility for your individual HROI. No matter what challenges we face we can always choose to invest in our own happiness. Try it for a week and feel the abundance of joy that your HROI generates.
Love yourself, love your day, love your life!
[Editor's note: This is a guest post by Daily Cup of Yoga contributor Silvia Mordini, E-RYT, retreat leader, happiness coach, and yogipreneur. Enthusiasm to love your life is contagious around Silvia. Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential. Silvia lives her happiness in such a big way that you can’t help but leave her classes, workshops, trainings and retreats spiritually uplifted! Born in Ecuador, raised traveling around the globe, she is an enthusiastic citizen of the world and spiritual adventurer. She has over 10,000 hours and 15 years of teaching experience, owned a yoga studio for 9 years and after being run over by a car used yoga to recover physically and emotionally. Silvia leads Alchemy Tours Yoga Retreats and Alchemy of Yoga RYT200 Yoga Teacher Training.
Silvia can be reached on the Web at www.alchemytours.com or www.silviamordini.com, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @alchemytours, @inspiredyogagal; Facebook: Silvia Mordini; YouTube: lovingyourday; Pinterest: Silvia Mordini; Intagram: alchemytours.]
Photo credit: Teeny Tiny Om. I love these awesome illustrations by Virginie!