The holidays are upon us. It is a time when we all NEED the gifts that yoga provides – calmer mindset, clear thinking, relaxed and tension free body, and maybe even improved muscle tone….Studies have shown that people who spend money on experiences rather than things tend to feel happier. This includes travel, leisure activities, education and yoga!
Our brains naturally look for rewards and things that make it feel good. There is a neurotransmitter called dopamine, that is released by the brain when it recognizes the potential for reward. We release dopamine on the anticipation of something that will make us feel better – the sight of tempting food, the smell of coffee brewing, a 50% off sign in our favorite shop, or a smile from a good-looking stranger. Our brains become fixated on that object. This is a result of our biological evolution. In the past we needed to keep our attention on food for our survival. And this also explains why it is so hard to resist high fat and high sugar foods. Have you ever become fixated on a chocolate chip cookie?
Our culture tries to maximize our dopamine responses by selling us food, sex, promise of material happiness – all rewards which never actually satisfy our cravings. Have you noticed that you sometimes pursue things that don’t make you happy, yet you continue to pursue them? Some examples are checking email, looking at Facebook, eating chocolate, drinking wine…..None of these things are inherently bad, but do they make us happy?
Happiness comes from inside. Happiness comes when we can stop looking for it from money, status, power or material gain. And no, losing 15 pounds is not the cure for the blues. It might make you feel good in a new dress, however, the feeling will be fleeting.
I love the metaphor from Patanjali (the grand-daddy of yoga and author of the yoga sutras) we all have sparkling jewels at our core. The work for us is uncovering the dust that covers the sparkling inner diamond. When we pursue the study of yoga we learn gradually to get rid of the dust, in our thoughts, constructed patterns of what we should or shouldn’t be. We lose the ability to find our own deepest intuitions.
The practice of yoga may begin on a physical level. Our body is a physical vessel we can use to access and influence our internal world. There is not doubt that the mind and body are one and the same and influence each other.
At Balance Yoga & Wellness we have offerings that address our physical, emotional and spiritual layers.
We are in the process of putting together gift baskets which include little perks like lavender eye pillows, and other goodies.