WISDOM WITHIN - September 2018 - Kansas City
The True Promise of Yoga—to Become Happy
By Suzette Scholtes
The eights steps of yoga teach us to become more awake, aware, aligned, and filled with intention.
The eight steps of yoga, in a nutshell, are 1. Yama or moral principles such as non-violence, 2. Niyama or self-purification by discipline, 3. Asana or the poses of yoga, 4. Pranayama or breath control, 5. Pratyahara or sense withdrawal to pacify the mind, 6. Dharana or focused concentration, 7. Dhyana or meditation, and 8. Samadhi or state of happiness felt in the heart.
I feel there are many reasons some choose to come to us, but probably the most common is “stress reduction.” Not all students want more than yoga poses, but if the student remains consistent, often they do wish to learn to breathe with more awareness and maybe learn to meditate.
Ask these questions of yourself to foster new enthusiasm and trust in the process of learning and growing with yoga or related modalities:
* Do you leave your class or mat ready for a nap or ready for new plans, new ideas, and new dreams?
* Are you refreshed?
* Do you get in your car after yoga and crank out at the traffic or are you serene and composed?
* Do you look forward to seeing your family and friends or colleagues or are you irritated by duties and obligations?
If the answers are negative, I suggest your yoga is not working. One of the key messages from the great sage Patanjali, the father of yoga over five millenniums ago, said that yoga fosters harmony, peace, and happiness. In Verse 42 it reads in simple translation: “As the result of contentment, one gains supreme happiness. It is worth analyzing those occasions when we feel truly happy. The days that make us happy make us wise.”
This verse goes on to say that our happiness from yoga comes when, “For this or that reason, we temporarily cease to feel anxious;
My yoga is what I call “organic.” There are so many issues among so many body types. The skilled teacher has an “eye” to see the issues in his/her student’s body. I may plan a vigorous or challenging class, then throw it out on the spot when I see someone with tense neck/shoulders or complaining of an achy back. The greatest challenge for any teacher is to create a class that works for so many body types present.
Patanjali speaks a lot about our ego. “The ego alone creates many minds.” Others say that negative ego goes on autopilot to judge yourself or others as bad or wrong. Our thoughts are constantly affecting our moment-to-moment energy.
Patanjali talks a lot about attachments such as lust, ignorance, lethargy, laziness, or dullness. I prefer the psychological approach to understand our negative ego: Are we struggling? Are we in pity? Are we comparing ourselves always to others without a sense of ourselves? Do we always doubt? Are we stuck so deep in our martyrdom and blame we cannot find optimism and hope? Do we feel better than another? Do we feel less than another? Do we fear more than trust?
Yes. We are all so tenderly human. Yet until we recognize what is in our own thoughts/feelings, we are stuck. The worst? You don’t even see it for yourself while the ego stuff at some level punishes self and others around you.
Hatha yoga is a tool to create health and happiness. My yoga feeds me, lifts me, and breaks me free of physical or mental pain. To be free of pain is an indicator of enlightenment, says the friend.
May together we make a world of contentment and peace with our happiness ever growing.
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Suzette Scholtes’ non-fiction writing won the prestigious “Writers Digest” award. Her passions are writing and yoga and she feels one needs a sense of humor for both. She founded The Yoga School of Therapeutics where she manages one of the regions prestige teacher training programs. 10400 W. 103rd Street,