(voyez l’article anterieur pour la version française)
This week-end I was at the Sivananda Yoga Camp in Val Morin, Quebec. The weather was wonderful, the lilacs in bloom and the gardens superb under the dedicated care of many karma yogis. There were many guests who had come to do yoga and relax for the week-end. We talked about mindfulness in everyday life and how to maintain an alert and relaxed state during the entire day and not just during our yoga or meditation practice. How not to forget our practice, our mantra repetition, the awareness of our breath, of our thoughts and of our actions. It is easy to lose our focus and get carried away by thousands of distractions when we move about during the day.
In the process of doing asanas, pranayama and meditation we learn to concentrate, to be present and aware, and this results in feeling balanced and relaxed. This body and mind relaxation is not only felt during our practice but it is carried outside of the yoga class. When we learn to be mindful of every stretch, every movement and every breath, this practice is generalised to all our other activities and this way, eventually, we become more conscious, alert, efficient, relaxed and… joyful in our everyday life. In fact, relaxation is a pre-requisite for happiness and as long as we are stressed, worried, angry or depressed happiness escapes us even when we look for it everywhere. In a state of relaxation there is little space left for the regrets of the past or the insecurities of the future, the confusion clears up and the present moment becomes alive and vibrant. Everything becomes significant, even tasks that seemed menial or boring are interesting, worthy of our attention, and little by little, every moment is worth living with intensity and gusto.
The fact that these “happy relaxed” moments perhaps do not last long is not due to the inefficacy of the practices, but rather to our forgetfulness and half-way commitment. However, the important thing is that once we have felt the benefits of yoga we know how to re-create those happy moments when serotonin, the addictive “hormone of happiness” is triggered. We always want more happiness! So, why not become addicted to it by being mindful, aware and relaxed at all times. Then the way to the heart and happiness will remain open.