All of us want to be happier. This is a universal truth. Thus many of us have turned to yoga. But in turning to yoga and meditation, we have fallen short of attaining that final rung on the ladder to happiness.
When confronted by any of the obstacles along the path, we tend to forget our lofty goals of achieving the final goal of life – happiness and inner peace – and sacrifice them to choose an easier path. Only when our life begins to fall apart again do we turn back to yoga/meditation to reclaim a semblance of the happiness we experienced for a brief moment.
Here are the 9 Obstacles That Get In The Way Of Our Happiness
Knowing what these obstacles are won’t necessarily make your yoga practice easier. But knowing them will hopefully help you to recognize them earlier on, giving you a stronger resolve to not fall short of achieving your spiritual goals the next time.
Do you try to get through things as quickly as possible? This is a big NO when it comes to yoga.
Taking your time is so important. It’s important because you treat things with the respect they deserve. Of course, there is a fine line between taking your time and prolonging a duty. Often times, when we fly through an activity, we disregard mindfulness. Can you imagine cutting your nails with impatience. OW! Why do we take our time and act with mindfulness with external things like nails and hair but we don’t spend the same attention to activities that improve our internal functions?
– Giving up
We all go through feelings of giving up throughout different stages of our lives. Even as children, we give up on board games when we aren’t getting our way. We give up on taking care of ourselves. We give up on things that nurture us. We give up on relationships, dreams and ideas.
Giving up is as natural as breathing for many of us.
But take a look at everyone we look up to – these great people of Earth. They all have one common attribute!
Yoga is a practice that challenges our nature of giving up. It places the responsibility on us to stick with it, even when it’s challenging. My recommendation if you’re feeling like giving up on anything that serves you, is to take a small break away from it. Reassess why you started doing it, like practicing yoga, and when you get back to it come back rejuvenated with a purpose connected.
The modern world is ripe with ignorance. In Indian philosophy, our current age is called Kali Yuga. This is loosely translated as the Age of Ignorance. When I think of the ignorance in our world, I think of Charlie Chaplin’s speech in the Great Dictator. In it, he explains that we have developed technology and communication yet we are more closed off from each other and less understanding than ever.
In yoga practice, we often think we know more than we do. We start forcing asanas and posing for Instagram pictures. Yoga is not designed for these purposes. It is a practice to connect with breath and to strengthen the spine. But if we act ignorantly, we can severely hurt ourselves and then persuade others from their own yogic practices. I have often heard people tell other people “Don’t do yoga because I did a headstand and hurt my back.” This is the epitome of ignorance. It’s important to practice yoga with the utmost respect. The respect will turn to fruit with due diligence.
We are born with some very powerful senses. Our senses of smell, taste, sight, hearing, and touch control our lives. At least this is what it seems like until you dive deep into yoga practice.
In yoga, we learn to move past the clutches of our senses. We learn to enhance our senses and to use them as tools to realize existence on a higher dimension. This is nearly impossible to explain without experiential evidence. With a deep yoga practice, distractions seem to fade away.
In my Yoga Immersions , I always have my students practice morning meditations that help them move past the distractions of sound. This is one step. The world around us is constantly distracting us. Our desires distract us. Our fear of losing our distractions distracts us. Do you see how convoluted that is? Distractions limit us. Yet, take a moment and observe successful yogis, businesspeople, scientists and more. They are all incredibly focused and have conquered distraction.
How can you resolve this? A practice of focus can become intimate. Maybe staring at a flame, or into the eyes of your beloved, or sitting still in the morning as the sun rises. All of these enhance your ability to focus past distraction.
Have you ever doubted yourself? Has it ever served you? Have you ever done better with doubt? Sure, sometimes when others doubt us, it may or may not motivate us. But that’s a lofty risk.
What about doubting ourselves? Doubting ourselves is NEVER helpful. It often turns us off of our journeys. Think about why we doubt ourselves. It can be a lack of self-confidence, but where does that come from? Maybe it was an adult being hard on us when we were young. Maybe it was someone we love being mean to us and hurting us where it means the most.
Some people say lethargy, I call it laziness. We all suffer from this time to time. Relaxing can easily turn into laziness. This is where we need to ask ourselves, are we realizing our purpose. A life of laziness manifests in many ways. Some people begin avoiding yoga by making themselves “busy” but it’s actually a manifestation of laziness. They are too lazy to show up on the mat so they create reasons why they shouldn’t. The best way to conquer this kind of obstacle is to design a regular plan that simply does not allow for laziness to sneak into your life. This works for anything you want to do, not just yoga.
– Loss of Confidence
Loss of confidence and doubt are different in the sense of yoga. There comes a time in yoga practice where we begin to stay at the same level for awhile. It feels we are just repeating ourselves over and over again. There doesn’t seem to be any more progress in our strength, abilities, or thought patterns. We may even think that we are regressing because we want to stop our regular practice or resort to bad habits again.
This is where community comes in. It’s important to surround yourself with yoga practitioners who remind you that yoga is a lifelong journey. It’s important to travel and bring your yoga and service to people around the world who needlessly suffer.
Karma Yoga is powerful. It’s about sharing yoga as much as practicing it. There are many people who suffer from trauma, poverty and other ailments that would greatly benefit from your practice of yoga.
Arrogance is an interesting idea. Confidence, almost the opposite of arrogance, is definitely needed and is great!
The ego can quickly turn that into a very negative thought pattern.
Arrogance can make you push yourself into a bad yoga practice that is not stable for your body or mind. It can make you think that you can do things without a Guru that actually needs proper guidance. Arrogance can make you ignore the warnings of friends and colleagues. How do you avoid it? Surround yourself with people who hold you accountable to a higher version of yourself.
Yes, people are not helpful on this path. It’s much better to have people who will remind you to continue growing into a better human being. That’s how I’ve gotten to where I am. I hope to meet you there.
These obstacles that get in the way of our happiness + spiritual practice can be detrimental. Taking the time to understand each obstacle will reduce their power over us. Find a teacher to help you overcome these obstacles.
Cultivate a community of people who will hold you accountable to your word and want to see you thrive in your happiness.
I truly hold the desire to see you happy and on the path of your spiritual practice. I am here if you need me.