Practice Happiness

Have you ever considered practicing happiness? Not just waiting to be happy from some outside source, but actually cultivating happiness from within as a yoga practice in the same way asana is a yoga practice? The practice of happiness is called Manahprasad, and it can be a powerful mechanism to bring more positivity into your life.

When I was in India at the ashram last October, Swamiji had declared October to be "Happy Month." Instructions were given to smile and greet each other with happiness - "Happy Morning", "Happy Tuesday", etc. It may sound a little silly, but try it and see what reaction you get not only from others but how it makes you feel.

The actual practice of Manahprasad, cultivating happiness, is done by sitting quietly and settling into stillness. Then recall a time that you were happy. Remember that time clearly and become aware of the feelings associated with happiness. See if you can bring up those feelings, recreating them in the present moment. Allow yourself to feel happiness. And if you can't bring up the feeling of happiness and recreate that feeling, then look at the unhappiness and from where is it coming? What is the source of the unhappiness? Then accept the source of unhappiness, accept it and let it go, realizing there's nothing wrong with you.

Spend a short time observing how you feel from the practice whether or not you were able to recreate the feeling of happiness. Practice again tomorrow. Over time, as you recreate happiness in the present moment, spend a little longer each day doing so.

When you practice an asana over and over again, you get further into the pose, becoming stronger and more flexible. In the same way, as you practice happiness, you will become mentally stronger, more balanced, and more flexible in life.

So, declare January your month of happiness. Slow down a bit. Look for the beauty that is everywhere. Practice Manahprasad. Smile more. Be happy.

Beverly Singh