By Kimaya Singh
Stress is sapping the happiness out of people. Chronic stress in linked to heart disease, assorted pains, cancer and premature death. If the ever was a time for people to find happiness and ditch stress, it's right now.
You find yourself, or a student of yours, unhappy, stressed, discontented, and even depressed. Like many in our culture, you may seek fulfillment through material things, status or money. In fact, contentment or happiness is better found from within. Yoga offers a route to joy through regular practice of asanas (postures) and pranayama (the breath). Yogis have been teaching these methods for centuries and the time-honored practices offer not just a path to happiness but also to peace and contentment.
A Sure Path to Happiness
It can be difficult for others to see the cultivation of prana as a path to happiness until they first try it intentionally. Pranayama is the Sanskrit word which means, simply, the breath of life. There are many exercises you can practice to improve the way this breath of life travels in and out of and enhances you body, but let's use one simple cleansing yogic breath here. Breathe in for eight counts, hold for four, breathe out for eight counts, hold for four, and breathe in again for eight counts. What are you noticing? This breath of life can cleanse your body and release tension, abolish negative thoughts and wash away the stress of the day to return you to a state of contentment.
This is the beginning. Think of pranayama as carrying spirit or life energy and reaching to all areas of your body. As you practice yogic breathing you have the capability to reach and carry that energy through your system, relieving distress, healing and energizing. Following the yogic tradition, you will continue to learn how to unleash the potential of mind, body and spirit through the breath. Adding yogic techniques like alternate nostril breathing will further enhance your state of being.