Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500 (Director of Yoga Teacher Training at Aura Wellness Center, guides you through a Mudra for Happiness. Demonstration given by Yong Yang.

Yoga Techniques to Enhance States of Happiness 
There are myriad yoga techniques to enhance states of happiness. Some of these techniques range from the physical postures to breathing exercises, mudras, relaxation techniques, and self-inquiry practices. The repetition of a word or mantra, known as japa, as well as singing are also reliable ways of cultivating and expanding states of happiness. Before embarking on a general overview of yogic techniques that enhance states of happiness, it is important to clarify what exactly happiness is and what happiness feels like internally.

Classically speaking, the practice of a wide array of yoga practices is intended to bring a diligent practitioner to a state of divine union within his or her own heart. This experience is not limited to one particular religious or spiritual tradition; it is universally experienced in a predictable manner by many dedicated seekers from all of the world’s major religious traditions. In fact, the term “yoga” itself means to yoke oneself to the divine energy within the heart. When we feel happy, most of us also feel at ease and in an expansive state of joy and enthusiasm.

The term “enthusiasm” can be defined as “being filled with the breath of God.” The internal experience of love, joy, peace, well-being and enthusiasm are all emotionally tactile experiences of states of happiness. The various techniques of yoga encompass many different practices that have the capacity to firmly root us in a state of joy. The most well-known techniques for enhancing states of happiness in modern society are the physical postures of yoga. Most certified instructors focus on teaching students the correct way of practicing the asanas, or physical postures, safely and in optimal alignment.

Regularly practicing the physical postures of yoga is a very effective way of strengthening the body, increasing flexibility, balance and enhancing the ability to focus on the task-at-hand. Many of us live relatively sedentary lives because we work at our desks most of the time and spend a preponderance of our leisure hours in front of the computer or television. Practicing the physical postures of yoga, in addition to moderate aerobic exercise several times a week helps to maintain good physical health and enhances a sense of well-being and happiness.

Some of the most effective physical postures of yoga for enhancing states of happiness increase the flow of life force energy throughout the body by releasing deeply-held muscular tension. The Sun Salutations are a series of yoga postures that are linked together in a flowing fashion with the breath. This series of postures strengthens and elongates all of the major muscle groups in the body. The Sun Salutations also increase the circulation of prana throughout the body and thereby increase the overall feeling of vitality and well-being. Of course, this increase of energy and vitality flowing through the body feels wonderful, joyful and happy!

Other physical yoga postures that predictably enhance states of happiness are back bending postures. Backbends, such as Extended Child’s Pose, Exalted Warrior and Upward Facing Bow, all profoundly open up the heart and throat areas, which leaves a yogi or yogini feeling expanded, peaceful and light-hearted. These subjective states of being translate into a feeling of happiness and peace when the postures are practiced regularly. By incorporating other yoga techniques into a class, which nurture feelings of well-being such as chanting the divine names and meditating for a dedicated period of time at the beginning or ending of a class, you will further enhance states of happiness, both in your own heart and in the hearts of your students.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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